Each year, the Tech Awards honor innovators and entrepreneurs who make a difference around the world in education, medicine, struggling economies, and social services. Here are the laureates for 2012.
Lehr’s Propane-Fueled Outboard Engines
Lehr, a company focused on environmentally friendly technology, developed the first outboard boat engine powered by propane to replace more polluting gasoline engines. The engines are cheaper and safer and create fewer harmful emissions; plus, they won’t degrade over time or contaminate soil or water.
Transforming Arsenic Crisis
Transforming Arsenic Crisis provides a technology to provide arsenic-safe drinking water through installation of arsenic removal units in remote village locations using regenerable adsorbents.
“More than 200 million people in South and Southeast Asia are routinely exposed to arsenic poisoning by drinking naturally contaminated groundwater,” reads a synopsis of the project. “For over ten years, Lehigh University has led an international team in developing, installing, and monitoring community-based arsenic removal systems in several Southeast Asian countries. … This team has developed an equally efficient, reusable, arsenic-selective adsorbent that will cost 50 percent less than the current product and will be able to be made in India as opposed to the U.S., thus eliminating the importing issues.”
Literacy Bridge makes the Talking Book, a portable device designed for people in oral cultures to provide on-demand audio education, recorded by local experts. The device is having a huge impact in farming communities in Ghana.
TeachAIDS lets people make educational materials for HIV prevention that are platform independent, culturally aware, and available online or offline.
“We believe in harnessing medical and educational expertise and utilizing technology to freely disseminate HIV and AIDS materials around the world to those who need them most,” reads the organization’s website. “AIDS is a preventable and treatable illness, and with the proper education, it can be controlled effectively.”
Angaza Design brings rent-to-own solar power systems to customers in East Africa. The system can light a small home and charge cell phones, keeping families safe and connected to the broader world.
Safe Agua Team
Students at the Art Center College of Design create devices to help families in Latin America use water more safely and efficiently. The Balde a Balde (literally, “bucket to bucket”) is a portable faucet that delivers flowing water from a bucket, so human hands and unwashed kitchen implements don’t need to reach into the bucket and potentially contaminate water. The team’s second project, Gira Dora, is a highly efficient, human-powered clothes washer and dryer that can save time and effort as well as support a startup clothes-washing businesses.