On April 8th, Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett announced the four winners of the INSPIRE•EMPOWER Challenge. The challenge, launched in San Francisco last summer, asked the developer community to submit innovative ideas for applying technology to address pressing problems related to education, health care, economic development and the environment. Over 200 proposals were submitted from companies, non-profit organizations, NGOs, universities and individuals from 44 countries. The entries were evaluated mainly for impact sustainability and innovativeness, and the $100,000 prize money will be used toward the implementation of the solutions. The winners:
· CellScope: Telemicroscopy for Disease Diagnosis: UC Berkeley professor Daniel Fletcher lead a research team that created the CellScope, a blend of “cell phone” and “microscope.” The approach turns camera-enabled cell phones, smartphones, handhelds and netbooks into high-resolution handheld microscopes that can capture and transmit images. It provides a portable and inexpensive way to diagnose and monitor infectious diseases.
· Great Lakes Cassava Initiative (GLCI): Catholic Relief Services’ director for GLCI Michael Potts is overseeing a pilot project using laptops to help cassava farmers increase food availability and incomes. Cassava is a primary food source in East and Central Africa, and two virulent diseases have been wiping out fields. GLCI will try to educate 1.15 million farmers in six countries about these diseases and provide them with disease-resistant cassava plants. The laptops will facilitate information exchange between farmers, field agents and project managers and improve disease monitoring through automatic data transfers.
· Mobile Solar Computer Classroom (MSCC): Eric Morrow, executive director of the Maendeleo Foundation in Uganda, helped create a “computer-lab-on-wheels” that helps teachers provide PC skills and training children in multiple schools each day. The MSCC is topped with solar panels to re-charge the computers and is equipped with a foldable tent, tables, chairs and 15 Intel-powered classmate PCs.
· Rural Livelihood Enhancement: Bibek Chapagain, Clean Energy Group director at Winrock International, proposed this project to deliver information and communication technology (ICT) services to rural communities in Nepal, in attempt to bring about economic development and improve access to energy, education, employment and information in these areas. The project will use renewable power from micro-hydro stations and solar photovoltaic panels to work around the lack of grid electricity.