31-year-old Texas native develops solar-powered wireless router for ASSET India, a non-profit organization focused on educating marginalized children in India in technology
WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwire - September 25, 2008) - InnoCentive, Inc., the global innovation marketplace, today announced the winner of a Challenge posted in November by The ASSET India Foundation seeking the design of a solar-powered wireless router. Zacary Brown of Texas was awarded $20,000 for his design by the Rockefeller Foundation, which sponsored this Challenge.
ASSET (Achieving Sustainable Social Equality through Technology) India Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps train the children of sex workers and girls rescued from trafficking, in technology, so they can escape the sex slave industry in India. ASSET India has successfully established training centers within several major cities within India but sought the development of a solar-powered wireless router through InnoCentive’s network to enable them to reach small rural towns with limited electricity or available Internet access. GlobalGiving, a non-profit organization that connects donors with community based projects around the world, made the Rockefeller Foundation aware of ASSET India and worked with them to get the Challenge posted on InnoCentive.
-- The Challenge was posted to the InnoCentive’s website for two months beginning November 28 and closed at the end of January. Over 400 InnoCentive Solvers analyzed this Challenge, and 27 solutions were submitted.
-- The Challenge sought the design of a solar-powered wireless router composed of low-cost, readily available hardware and software components. The router is to become part of a reliable Internet communications network connecting metropolises and remote towns in developing countries. ASSET India will own the Intellectual Property rights to the design.
-- The Solver, Zacary Brown, is a software engineer who joined InnoCentive’s Solver community in 2006 and has solved two Challenges to date.
-- The solution runs on a Linux-based system and is powered totally by a battery that is charged through solar panels. It was built with hardware that is able to withstand daily outdoor use and can be controlled remotely, allowing network operators to activate the switches with pre-paid cell phones.
-- This solution will allow teenagers in small centers outside big cities to handle some of the work that is coming from technology companies in the cities and gain the skills to achieve greater career opportunities in the future.
-- ASSET India works with children in India, ages 16 to 20, and provides educational training in English as well as computer literacy.
-- The prototypes for the solar-powered wireless router will be built by engineering students at the University of Arizona this year as part of a year-long Senior Project for two undergraduate classes.
Zacary Brown, Solver
“I regularly check for interesting Challenges on InnoCentive’s website and found this one particularly interesting because it combined several of my hobbies. I analyzed the problem for several weeks, actively working on it in the evenings. I got discouraged at one point but kept going and finally found the solution. It is rewarding to develop something that will have such a profound impact on children in India and support a world cause.”
Ray Umashanker, Executive Director, ASSET India Foundation
“We have been receiving ten to twelve requests per month from rural towns in India to establish computer centers. Our concern was that there were no businesses and industry in these small towns to provide employment but InnoCentive came to our rescue, allowing us to come up with a solution that would involve outsourcing work from the big cities to the small towns. We looked at a number of solutions and selected this one because it was the most comprehensive. It called for hardware parts that were affordable and even suggested places where the parts could be purchased. We see on a daily basis the positive effects that our training centers have on children who live in the big cities. We are thrilled that we will now be able to extend our services to other parts of the country, educating children so they will be able to escape the sex trade industry in India.”
Dwayne Spradlin, CEO, InnoCentive, Inc.
“I am always awed and humbled when a Challenge like this gets solved through InnoCentive’s network. Our network encourages brilliant minds to apply their skills to world changing problems and make a difference. This solution will have a substantial influence on the future of these children in India and will support similar initiatives in developing countries throughout the world.”
Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
“The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to help spark and support innovative efforts to spread the benefits of 21st century technology in poor communities. As ASSET India enables the subcontinent’s children to tap into the Internet’s transformational power, it makes an enormous impact in these children’s lives and aspirations, while demonstrating the kind of solutions that can help expand substantial, uplifting opportunities to more people, more fully, around the world.”
Mari Kuraishi, President, GlobalGiving Foundation
“On a daily basis at GlobalGiving, we generate crowdsourcing solutions for community development. Being able to broaden that community to include the brilliant minds at InnoCentive is an amazing opportunity for us to expand our reach globally. From the design to the implementation, many people will be involved in this cause and bring change to a problem that has existed in India for many years.”
Founded in 2001, InnoCentive built the first global Web community for open innovation, enabling scientists, engineers, professionals and entrepreneurs to collaborate to deliver breakthrough solutions for R&D-driven organizations. InnoCentive Seekers, who collectively spend billions of dollars on R&D, submit complex problems to the InnoCentive Marketplace, where more than 160,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business people, and research organizations in more than 175 countries are invited to solve them. Solvers who deliver the most innovative solutions receive financial awards ranging up to US$1,000,000. InnoCentive’s Seekers include commercial, government and non-profit organizations such as Avery Dennison, Procter & Gamble, Pendulum, Eli Lilly and Company, Janssen, Solvay, GlobalGiving and the Rockefeller Foundation.
For more information on InnoCentive, go to: http://www.innocentive.com.
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