SOURCE: The Tech Museum

The Tech Awards, The Tech Museum of Innovation,, Peter Friess

September 01, 2009 21:20 ET

The Tech Museum Announces The Tech Awards Laureates 2009

International Honorees to Be Feted at November 19th Gala

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - September 1, 2009) - The Tech Museum today revealed The Tech Awards Laureates 2009, 15 innovators from around the world who have committed their groundbreaking work to solving humanity's most pressing challenges.

The Laureates and former Vice President Al Gore, this year's James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award recipient, will be recognized at The Tech Awards Gala on November 19th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, is a signature program of The Tech Museum. Established in 2001, The Tech Awards recognizes Laureates in five categories: environment, economic development, education, equality, and health. These Laureates have developed new technological solutions or innovative ways to use existing technologies to significantly improve the lives of people around the world. One Laureate in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize.

The Global Humanitarian Award, sponsored by Applied Materials, honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership help to alleviate humanity's greatest challenges. Gore was selected for his worldwide work on environmental affairs -- in particular, raising global awareness of climate change.

"The global challenges of the day have become increasingly strident, more deeply rooted," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech Museum. "Still, there is hope. These incredibly impressive Laureates have all proven to be equal to, or better than, the challenge to make the world a better place."

The Tech Awards Laureates 2009 represent regions as diverse as Nigeria, Brazil, Great Britain, the United States and Bangladesh. And their work impacts people in many countries worldwide. This year's Laureates were selected from 650 nominations representing 66 countries.

"With all that is going on in the United States it is easy to forget that much of the world is still without power, lighting and access to quality, or sometimes to any, healthcare and education," said Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. "This year's laureates remind us that through creativity, entrepreneurship and determination, individuals and small groups can have a powerful impact and bring innovative solutions to the world's most immediate problems. We salute all of The Tech Awards Laureates for their amazing work to benefit humanity and thank Vice President Gore for his tireless work to inspire action to save the planet."

Below are The Tech Awards Laureates 2009 and a brief description of their projects.

The Tech Awards Laureates 2009:

Intel Environment Award

Dr. Joseph Adelegan, Cows to Kilowatts (Nigeria): Slaughterhouse waste is one of the most significant sources of water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in most developing economies. The anaerobic fixed film reactor used in the Cows to Kilowatts project decontaminates the waste stream from slaughterhouses and turns this organic waste into methane that can be used to generate electricity or as inexpensive cooking gas.

GRUPEDSAC (Grupo para Promover la Educación y el Desarrollo Sustentable), Eco-techniques Toolkits for Self-Sufficiency (Mexico): Poor quality of life in rural Mexico includes loss of soil fertility, lack of access to clean water, adequate shelter, nutrition, and health resources. Customizable Eco-techniques Toolkits for Self-Sufficiency combine old and new sustainable technologies -- from cisterns to solar ovens -- to fit the needs of each community.

Sean White, Electronic Field Guide (USA): Plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate; mobile identification and classification of plant species may aid in conservation and cataloguing. The Electronic Field Guide uses mobile-augmented photo identification of leaves based on virtual reality and situated visualization.

BD Biosciences Economic Development Award

Alternative Energy Development Corp. (AEDC), Alternative Energy for Empowerment (South Africa): Fuel cell use largely avoids the lead-acid waste of solar or wind installation batteries. Inexpensive, zinc-air fuel cells can be used in poor communities lacking access to grid power. Fuel cell anodes can be removed manually in about 15 minutes and zinc oxide waste recycled as fertilizer.

Solar Ear (Botswana and Brazil): Standard Western hearing aids cost an average of $750, with battery costs typically $1 per week. Solar Ear, an inexpensive hearing aid suited to local conditions and manufactured by deaf workers who train one-another, costs $100 and is paired with a solar recharging unit for the batteries.

Driptech (India): Hundreds of millions of people in the developing world face water shortages in crop production; drip irrigation delivers precisely the right amount of water and not more. Driptech's unique laser technology drills holes in one main line, thereby reducing the number of parts and the cost of a drip irrigation system.

Microsoft Education Award

Akshaya Patra Foundation, School Meals Program (India): High quality, nutrient rich meals are key to the education process in poverty stricken areas. The School Meals Program uses integrated and adapted high-performance kitchen technology and food delivery systems to serve millions of Indian children a nutritious daily meal.

GeoGebra (International): Dynamic Mathematics for Everyone is a free, open-source software to display and practice geometry and mathematics that will help achieve rapid diffusion of information and quicker comprehension. GeoGebra created web-based, open-source software to visualize and practice geometric-based mathematics.

The Khan Academy (International): High school students around the world need informal, clear explanations that can be reviewed at a leisurely pace to supplement their formal learning. The Khan Academy created hundreds of free educational videos in math, statistics, physics, and finance using drawing software. The "blackboard" style videos are accessible via the internet and hosted on YouTube.

Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award

World of Good Development Organization (International): Handicraft workers around the world are generally paid per piece, often at low hourly rates. World of Good Development Organization's Fair Wage Guide Software provides localized pricing evaluation of handmade goods to improve wages of informal workers. The free web-based platform encourages ethical trade by comparing wages worldwide. (International):'s FrontlineSMS allows for SMS technology to be used by hundreds of NGOs worldwide, for activities as diverse as election monitoring and dissemination of agricultural prices. This free software for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) deploys two-way SMS messaging and provides easy-to-use communications infrastructure for outreach in rural and urban areas.

Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha (Bangladesh): Providing mobile solar lighting can alleviate health problems due to smoke and CO2 emissions while establishing social enterprises. Retrofitting existing kerosene hurricane lanterns with CFL or LED lights can provide lighting for transient settlers in flood and hurricane-prone areas. SuryaHurricane also establishes women-oriented infrastructure for recharging lantern batteries using boats equipped with PV modules.

Nokia Health Award

mPedigree (Ghana): Counterfeit drugs are ubiquitous in the developing world; up to 80 percent of drugs in pharmacies are fakes with little or no active ingredients. Pharmaceutical manufacturers label packages with an alphanumeric code, which is later confirmed when consumers send free text queries in to the mPedigree database. This low-cost, instant method for reducing drug counterfeiting is expanding from Ghana to Nigeria, Rwanda, and India.

PATH, Ultra Rice (India, Brazil, Colombia): More than a billion people in developing nations suffer from dietary deficiencies in crucial micronutrients, including iron, zinc, folic acid, and vitamin A. Ultra Rice is an affordable, nutrient-fortified additive to standard rice, tailored to satisfy deficiencies common in the region where it is distributed.

Village Reach, Management Information System for Vaccine (Mozambique): Poor countries bear the greatest burden of infectious diseases, and have the least infrastructure for public health programs. Village Reach worked closely with the Mozambique Ministry of Health to implement supply chain logistics management systems, utilizing portable USB drives to automatically update and share information to improve the delivery of vaccines, drugs and critical medical supplies to rural clinics.

The Global Humanitarian Award is sponsored by Applied Materials. A major corporation or foundation also sponsors each of the five Tech Awards categories. They are: Environment (Intel), Economic Development (BD Biosciences), Education (Microsoft), Equality (Swanson Foundation), and Health (Nokia). Other major sponsors include Polycom, SAP, Genentech and KPMG.

For more information about The Tech Awards, visit:

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