The Tech Museum of Innovation recently announced its 2016 Tech Awards Laureates, which include a firm co-founded by an Indian American and an organization placing their fingerprint on irrigation in India.
The 2016 Tech Awards will celebrate the program’s first 15 years.
San Francisco, Calif.-based D-Rev, co-founded by Vinesh Narayan, realized that jaundice is the No. 1 reason newborns are re-admitted to hospitals around the world. Without effective treatment, jaundice can lead to severe brain damage and even death.
An estimated 6 million babies in developing countries suffer each year because their families lack access to phototherapy devices.
That said, D-Rev created a solution. The company developed low-cost phototherapy lamps, called Brilliance, rugged enough for harsh environments. The Brilliance series of neonatal machines have provided potentially life-saving treatment to more than 166,000 infants.
“It’s really exciting when you go to a hospital and you see our units being used,” said D-Rev CEO Krista Donaldson in The Tech news release. “It’s incredible how thankful families are that their babies are getting good treatment. You also feel a lot of pride from the medical staff that they finally have the equipment to treat their patients.”
When The Tech Awards first recognized D-Rev for the device in 2013, 324 babies had been treated in four countries. Today, more than 175,000 infants have received phototherapy, averting an estimated 2,200 deaths and disabilities. Nearly 1,700 of the low-cost units have now been sold in 41 countries.
The 2016 Health Award winner D-Rev will receive a $50,000 prize.
International Development Enterprises -India, a Tech Awards Laureate winner in 2004 and 2010, recognized a problem with irrigation in India, which has limited smallholder farmers to grow crops only during the short monsoon without carrying water by hand or using expensive diesel irrigation pumps.
Their solution came in the form of developing low-cost drip irrigation and water-lifting pump technology for farmers so they can grow crops throughout the year, reducing poverty among some of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers.
IDEI’s low-cost treadle pumps and drip-irrigation technology has helped millions of smallholder farmers and also provides marginalized people with a sense of dignity and self-reliance, The Tech wrote.
“We can’t address all of the issues for these farmers, so we take what we call the logjam approach,” said IDEI vice president Shveta Bakshi in the report. “While they may have many things obstructing their flow, so to speak, we identify that one, critical obstruction to remove so that good things start happening.”
The products are now used by 1.3 million households, impacting more than 7 million people. IDEI will receive a $50,000 prize for winning its third Laureate.
In addition to D-Rev and IDEI, another five organizations won Laureates, including PATH, a Laureate winner in 2003, 2007 and 2009. PATH wanted to alleviate the meningitis problem in Africa and set out to create a vaccine.
The vaccine, thanks to the help of manufacturer Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., now has reached 235 million Africans, leading to the disappearance of the meningitis A strain wherever it has been introduced.
PATH in 2016 has received the Tech Award Laureate Impact Award.
The Tech Awards, which has honored 287 social entrepreneurs and nonprofits since launching in 2000, will hold its awards gala Nov. 17 in San Jose, Calif.