The Tech Museum of Innovation Announces 2008 Tech Awards Laurates

Twenty-five innovators from around the world recognized for developing and applying technology to benefit humanity
(SAN JOSE, Calif.) Sept. 9, 2008 – The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), and a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, today announced the 2008 Tech Awards Laureates, 25 global innovators who are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. This esteemed group of Laureates was selected from hundreds of nominations representing 68 countries.
In addition to the 25 Laureates being honored, Professor Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of microcredit and founder of Grameen Bank, will receive the 2008 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award, honoring individuals whose broad vision and leadership are helping to address humanity’s greatest challenges. Yunus will accept this honor during the annual Tech Awards Gala on November 12, in San Jose, Calif. This award, also sponsored by Applied Materials, was inspired by the company’s Chairman, Jim Morgan, who has demonstrated in his own work and philanthropy that technology can unleash the potential in all of us and turn our ideas into concrete solutions for a better world.
Established in 2001, The Tech Awards recognize 25 Laureates in five universal categories: education, equality, environment, economic development 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 during the annual Awards Gala on November 12.
This year, the 2008 Laureates represent the truly global vision of the program, spanning countries such as Senegal, Peru, Hungary, Canada, Namibia, Germany, Egypt, India, United Kingdom, Laos and the United States. Their work impacts people in many more countries worldwide.
“This year’s international roster of Laureates demonstrates the exceptional and creative applications of both high and low-tech solutions to change the world,” said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. “By celebrating the accomplishments of these 25 Laureates, we are encouraging future innovators to harness the incredible power and promise of technology to solve the challenges that confront us and make the world healthier, safer and more sustainable.”
The Tech Awards collaborate with humanitarian, educational, and business partners through global outreach efforts, giving people around the world the opportunity to benefit from the successful technologies recognized through the Awards. The selected Laureates’ projects address multiple humanitarian efforts including narrowing the digital divide, expanding renewable energy, improving multilingual education and empowering women in developing countries.
"The Tech Awards are a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved by just a few people willing to look at the world's problems in a new way,” said Mike Splinter, president and CEO of Applied Materials. “These innovators are using technology to improve people’s lives all over the planet and that’s something that inspires us in Silicon Valley. Sometimes it’s the simplest solution that has the most positive impact.” 
Sponsors for The Tech Awards categories include: Intel for the Environment Award; Accenture for the Economic Development Award; Microsoft for the Education Award; and The Swanson Foundation for the Equality Award.
Below are the 2008 Laureates and a brief description of the winning projects.
2008 Intel Environment Award
·         Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) Biotechnology, Arcadia Biosciences, Inc.: Using genetic engineering, NUE technology reduces nitrogen fertilizer requirements that are among the highest-polluting components of farming, while maintaining crop yield.
·         Biomass Energy Project, Cheetah Conservation Fund: Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Bush Project is a biomass processing plant that uses a high-pressure extrusion process to convert invasive bush into a clean and economically viable alternative to existing products such as firewood, coal, lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes used for cooking fuel and barbecues.
·         Renewable Energies Promotion Fund, Practical Action: Using locally manufactured and assembled equipment, The Renewable Energies Promotion Fund of the Latin American Regional Office of Practical Action in Lima, Peru, has developed a system for the construction, finance and management of decentralized micro-hydropower in remote mountain villages that would otherwise not have electricity.
·         Sunlabob Renewable Energy Ltd: Laos-based Sunlabob rents large central solar charging stations to village entrepreneurs, who in turn rent out rechargeable exchangeable solar lamps to local villagers. These solar lamps provide not only light, but also a source of power for mobile devices such as telephones.
·         VWP C02-recycling Concept for Food and Fuel, Vereinigte Werkstatten fuer Ptlanzenoeltechnologie (VWP): Vereinigte Werkstatten fuer Pflanzenoeltechnologie CO2-recycling Concept for Food and Fuel project promotes sustainable cultivation of oil seed plants for use in VWP's specially adapted pure plant oil diesel engines in remote areas of Africa and South America.
2008 Accenture Economic Development Award
·         DESI Power: Decentralised Energy Systems IndiaDESI Power uses nineteenth century technology, biomass gasification through agricultural waste, to expand the supply of electric power in more than 100 villages in Bihar, India.
·         The Portable Light Project: The Portable Light Project, based in Boston, creates new ways to provide clean energy. Portable Light textiles with embedded flexible solar materials and solid state lighting enable people in the developing world to create, own and benefit from energy-harvesting blankets, bags and clothing in an open source integration model.
·         NComputing, Inc.: NComputing, based in Redwood City, Calif., taps the unused power of a standard PC and redistributes it to multiple users, helping organizations in developing countries save on deployment, maintenance, energy and replacement costs and thereby narrowing the digital divide.
·         Solar Electric Light FundWashington D.C.-based Solar Electric Light Fund developed a solar power drip irrigation system to help farmers in rural Benin, West Africa, cultivate their crops. The technology eliminates the need for fossil fuels and battery use currently used in irrigation methods in developing
·         The Full Belly Project: The Full Belly project, based in North Carolina, offers a universal nut sheller that reduces the labor required to dehusk peanuts, coffee, shea, Neem and Jatropha.
2008 Microsoft Education Award
·         Digital StudyHall:Digital StudyHall, based in Lucknow, India, records classroom lessons given by high-quality teachers and distributes the videos to teachers in disadvantaged schools in rural areas and urban slums where the lessons are implemented.
·         Aaron Doering, Go North!  Adventure Learning Series, University of Minnesota: Go North! brings together polar scientists and polar communities to share their research and lives with students around the world by chronicling online their annual Arctic expeditions and giving students the chance to see and interact with research team members on a "live" basis.
·         Center for Puppetry Arts: The Center for Puppetry Arts, Distance Learning Program, based in Atlanta, improves education quality for rural and low-income communities, as well as those with special needs, by delivering arts lessons through interactive video-conferencing.
·         Curriki: Curriki, based in Washington, D.C., gives teachers, students and parents in the developed and developing world universal access to free and open peer-reviewed K-12 curricula and powerful online collaboration tools.
·         Leonar3Do, Daniel Ratai, 3D for All Ltd.: Dániel Rátai's invention, Leonar3Do, developed by 3D for All Ltd. is the first tool that can transform an ordinary personal computer into a three-dimensional configuration. The use of Leonar3Do in the classroom as a 3D blackboard, 3D schoolbook and a 3D sketch-book represents entirely new dimensions in education.
2008 The Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award
·         The Earth, Man, and Appropriate Technology, Hany El Miniawy, Appropriate Development, Architecture and Planning Technologies (ADAPT): Hany El Miniawy cuts down construction costs in rapidly urbanizing areas of Egypt and Algeria by more than 30 percent by using sustainable bricks made of earth and locally produced waste products such as rice straw and cement dust.

·         Build Change: Build Change designs and trains builders and homeowners to build earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries using locally available skills and materials. The designs are affordable, sustainable, easy to build and culturally appropriate, and ensure that each homeowner has access to affordable technology to build a house that will not collapse and injure or kill their families in an earthquake, regardless of their income level.
·         Adaptive Multimedia Information System (AMIS), DAISY Consortium: DAISY Consortium provides open source software to read text to impaired people in 20 languages using AMIS software, which implements synthetic speech to make text and multi-media information available to people who have visual impairments, cognitive or learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and people who are unable to hold a keyboard or printed publication.  
·         Lifelines, OneWorld South Asia: Lifelines is a telephone-based information service for rural farmers in India that uses a Cisco Unified Messaging platform incorporating Interactive Voice Response functionality, integrated with a Customer Relationship Management application and information database.
·         Women Empowerment through Sustainable Energy, SKG Sangha: SKG Sangha provides integrated biogas and vermicompost technologies to assist women in rural India. The biogas and vermicompost technologies unit addresses a range of issues including energy, sanitation, poverty, health, and education by providing the means to improve the cooking and composting process, resulting in less time spent gathering wood for conventional cook stoves, more efficient, safer cooking and essential compost that results in a source of income when women can sell the excess compost.
2008 Health Award
·         EpiSurveyor, is a free and open-source software that enables public health and development professionals to very easily create, share, and deploy surveys and other forms on mobile devices including PDAs and cell phones. The result is a more effective, responsive public health infrastructure in developing communities.
·         Fonio De-Husker, Sanoussi Diakite: Sanoussi Diakite invented the first machine for mechanical removal of husks from fonio grain – a staple grain in West Africa, but one that is difficult to process. The result is more healthy food, in less time, and with less physical labor.
·         K1 'Auto Disable' Syringe, Marc Koska, Star Syringe, Ltd.: United Kingdom’s K1 "auto-disable" syringe etches a locking ring in the syringe barrel so that once the plunger is fully depressed, it locks in place and can't be used again. The simple, single-use syringes reduce millions of cases of Hepatitis B and C and HIV.
·         Multiplo HIV/HBV/HBC Diagnostic Test, MedMira Inc.: Using its patented rapid flow-through technology platform, Canadian MedMira has created a line of multiple rapid tests known as Multiplo. This test is the only rapid test available with the ability to simultaneously detect multiple diseases in three minutes from a single specimen on a single cartridge.
·         The Drift Catcher - Empowering Communities for Health and Sustainability, Pesticide Action Network North America: The Drift Catcher is a user-friendly and affordable air monitoring system developed by the Pesticide Action Network in San Francisco and used by rural and farm communities around the U.S. to measure the concentrations of hazardous pesticides in the air.
Key sponsors supporting The Tech Awards include Applied Materials, Inc., Intel Corporation, Accenture, Microsoft, The Swanson Foundation, BD Biosciences, Polycom, Genentech, Wells Fargo, SAP, eBay, KPMG, Cadence, The Quattrone Foundation, Omidyar Network, NASDAQ OMX, HP, Google, Cisco, Scott Cook and Signe Ostby, NBC11, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, The Fairmont San Jose, Montgomery Hotel, Marriott San Jose, American Airlines and Siltronic. Key partners include Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, World Federation of United Nations Associations, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank Institute, Catholic Relief Services, The CORE Group, National Center for Technology Innovation and Opportunity International.  
About The Tech Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity
The Tech Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., is one of the premier annual humanitarian awards programs in the world, recognizing technical solutions that benefit humanity and address the most critical issues facing our planet and its people. The awards program honors 25 scientists and innovators annually alongside the recipient of the Global Humanitarian Award. Laureates are selected by a prestigious panel of international judges organized by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University, and made up of Santa Clara University faculty as well as leaders from educational and research institutions, industry and the public sector around the world.
For more information about The Tech Awards, visit
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California – the Capital of Silicon Valley – its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit

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