Tech Award proves how simple ideas can have a strong impact. San José, California is considered the most technological city in the world, and the Tech Museum has an important role in accelerating innovation. In 2001 the museum created the Tech Award, getting brilliant minds to compete, supporting the selected ones by funding them and assisting the execution and implementation of their projects.
Below you can read the transcript of the video:
CRISTINA: How long has the Tech Award been around and how is it structured?
TRAN: The Tech Awards is a signature program of the Tech Museum of Innovation since its inception in 2001. We have honored 267 laureates. The five categories of the Tech Awards are environment, the Intel Environment Award, the Microsoft Education Award, the Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award, the Nokia Health Award, and finally the Flextronics Economic Development Award. As part of the Tech Awards, every year we also honor the global humanitarian. This person is someone of an international stature. This year we are honoring Ted Turner, well known for his one billion dollar donation to the United Nations for the founding of the United Nations Foundation, as well as also for his work in environmentalism and philanthropy, and then of course his founding of CNN.
C: What does the award actually consist in?
T: The Tech Award Laureates are given cash prizes. Each category has two laureates. One recipient will receive $75,000, the other $25,000. And we do keep in touch with them to kind of see their progress over the years, the impact that they’ve had, and how they’ve made strides in the problem that they initially set out to change. This is an example of one of the Tech Awards Laureates. This is FogQuest and their innovation actually harvests fresh water from fog, and so a very important innovation because over a billion people all over the world don’t have access to clean water.
C: And is it in use now?
T: Since FogQuest has been honored certainly like all of our laureates they’ve been able to expand their impacts to different areas of the world. One of our Microsoft Educational Award Laureates is Khan Academy a 2009 laureate. Over billions of children, as you see 70 million children do not go to school worldwide and Khan Academy has enabled access to free online educational materials. A Nokia Health Laureate is our 2012 Embrace. And of course their solution impacts—50 million babies are born pre-term each year— and their innovation allows for infant warmers designed to address the needs of newborns suffering from hypothermia. So certainly life-saving from a very early age. One of our Economic Development Laureates is Kiva, and as you can see, 2.5 billion people don’t have access to bank accounts. Kiva allows micro lending, micro financing anywhere in the world, so you or I can make a small donation and potentially help millions of people or different businesses small or large. Here we have another example of laureate innovation, The Super Money Maker Pump and what it allows is in many parts of the world people have to carry water long distances. This makes it so that essentially by having a stair-stepping motion, you can connect it to something as simple as hose and create an irrigation system, which actually works for gymnastic too!