Vodafone Americas Foundation hosts a yearly contest to promote innovation in the mobile/wireless technology space. Learn about the 2016 winners and see what they brought to the table.
by Scott Matteson June 20, 2016
I wrote about Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project (WIP) last year, which is a contest designed to “promote innovation and increase implementation of wireless related technology for a better world.”
Since 2009, the Vodafone Americas Foundation WIP has awarded nearly $5 million to winners who developed unique solutions focused on the concept of “Connecting for Good” to help address critical problems such as the need for clean water, monitoring of vaccines, mobile health diagnostics, and other topics.
“The Wireless Innovation Project honors unique mobile innovations and disruptive ideas that have the potential to not only gain market traction, but also positively impact the global community,” said Chuck Pol, Board of Directors Chairman and President, Vodafone Americas Foundation.
Past WIP winners have gone on to future success through international publicity, various prizes and almost $10 million in additional funding. Last year’s winners involved a solution for wastewater management, technology to monitor water facility data, and a mobile stethoscope diagnostic app.
The project concept is simple: U.S.-based universities and nonprofit organizations are invited to compete. Generally the top three winners are awarded $300K, $200K and $100K, respectively. However, prizes for this year totaled $700,000: $300,000 for first place and $200,000 each for a second-place tie between two entrants.
Vodaphone Wireless Innovation Project winners: (l to r) Clinton Thodos and Navid Amini from EyeSee, UCLA; YiChen (Chris) Wu and Aydogan Ozcan from c-Air, UCLA; Teresa Cauvel and Sona Shah of Neopenda June Sugiyama, director Vodafone Americas Foundation
“The 2016 Wireless Innovation Project winners illustrate how innovative mobile solutions can address some of the world’s most critical issues such as newborn healthcare, air quality, and one’s vision,” said June Sugiyama, Director, Vodafone Americas Foundation. “These winning technologies exemplify the core mission of these annual awards, to ultimately change the world through wireless technology, and we’re proud to recognize their potential to drive social good.”
Neopenda won first place for a device which monitors newborn vital signs. And, for only the second time in the history of the competition, there was a tie for second place, which was awarded to EyeSee and c-Air for their solutions addressing vision loss and air quality.