Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vodafone Seeks Innovative Ideas

The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance have announced a call for submissions for their annual “Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project” and the “mHealth Alliance Award”. The goal is to identify and support wireless-related technologies with high potential to solve critical global issues.

Applicants compete for first, second, and third-place prizes worth $300,000, $200,000, and $100,000. Additionally, the mHealth Alliance award winner will receive a prize package worth $50,000 which will include strategic and networking support from the mHealth Alliance.

A panel of judges from the fields of wireless engineering, international development, social entrepreneurship, and business will evaluate the applications for their potential to solve issues in the fields of health, education, access to communication, economic development, and the environment.

Project proposals must demonstrate significant advancement in the field of wireless-related technology to be applied to social benefit use. The competition is open to projects from universities and nonprofit organizations based in the U.S but projects may operate and help people outside of the U.S. Many of the past award winners are now running field tests in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Central America.

The project must be at a stage of research where an advanced prototype or field market test can occur during the award period, have the potential for replication and large scale impact, and teams need to submit a business plan or develop a basic framework for financial sustainability and rollout.

The previous 2011 winners included:

• First prize—NETRA originating in the MIT Media Lab is a clip-on eyepiece for mobile phones that can instantly screen for eye conditions and transmit data to an optometrist allowing for early treatment of common refractive eye disorders and cataracts

• Second prize—Smart Diaphragm from UC San Francisco is a wireless monitoring and early warning system for high-risk pregnancies that can be easily administered by a patient at a low cost. The technology can detect decreasing levels of collagen in the cervix—an indicator of impending preterm labor and then transmit results to a cloud database monitored by physicians

• Third price—CoolComply a collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital, Innovations in International Health at MIT, and the Global Health Committee produced a solar-powered wireless detection system to monitor the dose and temperature for medications for patients undergoing treatment for Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. The technology relays readings via wireless technology to local healthcare workers to enable them to track the treatment and intervene when necessary

To submit a proposal, applicants must first successfully complete an Eligibility Questionnaire. Proposals were accepted starting October 10, 2011 but will be received through December 31, 2011, with winners to be announced April 2012.

For more information, go to http://project.vodafone-us.com.