The Tech Museum of Innovation President Tim Ritchie encouraged the night's attendees to be inspired about the future, our capacity to solve problems and to make a difference. "Is there some need that speaks to your heart? Some work, some community, some problem that needs your mind, your time, your sympathy, your best work? Step up to the place where your joy and the world's needs meet," he urged.
With PBS Newshour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan as master of ceremonies, the gala unfolded against the backdrop of an exhibition specially curated for The Tech Awards that included some of the world's most iconic photos projected on five towering screens. Contributed free of charge by National Geographic photojournalists, the compelling images were shown for the evening only, as a tribute to The Tech Awards laureates. Another gala highlight included live appearances by two former laureates who were brought together by Polycom RealPresence Platform to share their experiences and progress since winning the award.
THE TECH AWARDS LAUREATES 2012
Intel Environment Award
LEHR, Inc. Propane Outboard Motors
Region of Impact: North America
Problem: Small gasoline engines cause excessive pollution, yet electric/battery solutions do not provide the performance required to be a universally viable alternative.
Solution: Patented gaseous-fueled engines that significantly reduce/eliminate pollution while improving performance and reducing cost of ownership.
Impact: To date, about 100,000 lawn and garden engines have been sold that eliminate evaporative emissions while reducing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. 1,000s of marine outboard engines sold eliminate fuel spills into water while reducing methyl-mercury-causing particulate emissions by up to 96 percent.
Arup K. SenGupta
Region of Impact: Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam
Problem: According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 200 million resource-poor people are threatened with arsenic poisoning by drinking contaminated groundwater in Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Solution: Use of appropriate simple-to-operate technology in rural setting to transform arsenic crisis into an economic enterprise while protecting human health.
Impact: Over 200,000 people including school children are benefiting in arsenic-affected countries.
Microsoft Education Award
Region of Impact: Africa
Problem: Basic health and agriculture knowledge isn't reaching the world's poorest billion people due to illiteracy and lack of electricity.
Solution: A simple and durable, battery-operated, audio computer playing locally produced lessons that address the practical needs of people in oral cultures.
Impact: 250,000 lessons delivered to 20,000 farmers in the poorest regions of Ghana. Farmers harvested 48 percent more crops for a 3x ROI, and 90 percent of maternal health lessons led to healthier behaviors.
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