Archive for the 'News' Category

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A Shoutout to BLISS from Hillary Clinton (Crossposted)

Exciting news from one of our 2009 IDEAS winners, Saba Gul of Business and Life Skills School (BLISS). Cross posted from her blog here.

Some 200 diplomats, entrepreneurs, imams, popular media figures, and comedians joined Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in breaking the fast on September 7th, 2010 at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.  What made this grand event different from last year’s was the inclusion of 70 young Muslims from across the country that the Department identified as “some of the best and innovative Muslim leaders under the age of 30″.

To be hand-picked as one of these 70 change-makers to represent my work with BLISS was a true honor. But to be mentioned in Hillary Clinton’s speech (full texthere and video here) as one of the young people “who had already accomplished extraordinary things” by starting “a program to keep Pakistani girls from dropping out of school” was exhilarating!

Read more…

Deadline Extended to 10/15! Enter the MIT Global Challenge Video Pitch Contest

Deadline extended! What’s are you doing to change the world? How can resources like the IDEAS Competition and MIT Global Challenge help?

Share your story in the Global Challenge Video Pitch Competition and be eligible to win $1500.

The contest is open to anyone, but teams must involve MIT students. The winning entry will receive $1500 and will be featured at the October 23 Alumni Leadership Conference launch of the MIT Global Challenge.

We’re launching the MIT Global Challenge to connect and reward teams of innovators and entrepreneurs that are tackling barriers to well-being through invention. We need the world-changing students who benefit from opportunities like IDEAS and the MIT Global Challenge to help us spread the word!

We want to tap student passion to make the world a better place by asking you to make a case for why the MIT community worldwide should care about the Global Challenge. To be successful we’ll need their support to fund awards, underwrite challenges, and support student projects as mentors, volunteers, and local promoters of the Global Challenge. Download contest details [word.doc].

Continue reading ‘Deadline Extended to 10/15! Enter the MIT Global Challenge Video Pitch Contest’

Meet IDEAS10 Winners!

Thanks to summer intern Stephen Kaliski for this brisk introduction to some of the people and ideas behind this year’s winning IDEAS teams. Kudos all!

MIT IDEAS Participants from MIT Global Challenge on Vimeo.

Maker Faire Africa 2010: Call for Makers

Maker Faire Africa is a celebration of ingenuity and entrepreneurship across the African continent. It is inspired by the successful spread of DIY festivals known as Maker Faires across the United States (check out the latest on the New York City World Maker Faire in September).

The Maker Faire Africa (MFA) co-founding team of organizers (Emeka Okafor/TED Africa, Erik Hersman/Ushahidi, Emer Beamer/Butteryfly Works, Henry Barnor/GhanaThink, and Mark Grimes/Ned/NedSpace/NedWater) seek African innovators, inventors, and makers to participate in the second Maker Faire Africa event to be held in Nairobi, Kenya August 27-28th on the University of Nairobi campus.

To encourage African innovators, inventors and makers from all African countries to try to make it to this unique and one-of-a-kind event, they have some limited funds for those makers outside Nairobi requiring travel and accommodation assistance.

In addition, MFA10 organizers are trying as much as they can to locate and invite women innovators and makers. They’ve found that during last year’s event in Accra, Ghana locating women makers was a challenge, especially those outside arts/crafts categories.

Maker Faire Africa is a free event for all invited makers, innovators and inventors. All the makers that “applied” last year participated in the event. To view some images of the event in Accra, please visit the MFA site.

View the complete call for makers.

Turn Your Smartphone Into an Optometrist

Remember sitting in front of that hulking, weird Hardware-like device as a kid, the nose of your optometrist inches away as you both peered through the phoropter? A group at MIT might be changing all that – at least for some folks in resource-strapped communities where a $2500 piece of diagnostic equipment and maintenance is beyond their capacity. With the introduction of a new device developed my researchers in MIT’s Camera Culture group in the Media Lab, the phoroptor may be headed the way of the oviraptor.

Dubbed PerfectSight, a 2010 IDEAS winner profiled today by MIT’s News Office (with a splashy home page spotlight!),  the Smartphone attachment is able to detect a range of refractive eye disorders within seconds. This turns the traditional model of optometry on its head: now eye specialists can get out of the costly eye care centers and into field, creating greater access to care, potentially revolutionizing the number of diagnoses carried out on any given day.

Learn more about the device and the Camera Culture group.

Jamie Yang, 2010 Echoing Green Fellow

In 2009 Jamie Yang and the EGG-energy team won a modest IDEAS Competition award to pilot a subscription energy service in Tanzania. Think NetFlix meets conventional pressurized gas bottle exchanges. Kind of. We’re thrilled that Jamie has won a 2010 Echoing Green fellowship and wish him and his fellow winners, including alum Jodie Wu of Global Cycle Solutions a terrific year ahead!

To accelerate social change, the Echoing Green Fellowship program provides seed capital and support to some of the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs.

eHealth, telemedicine, capacity building, and learning

Love this video of the incredibly articulate Chris Moses ’10, who was awarded a Davis Projects for Peace Fellowship and participated in the Public Service Fellowship and Grants program. Here, he discusses Sana (formerly MocaMobile). Sana earned a development grant from the MIT IDEAS Competition, and went on to win the mHealth Alliance Award and Vodafone Wireless Innovation Prize. The $150,000 in awards will enable the group, of which Chris is an integral part, to improve their telemedicine-based health care delivery system for rural underserved populations.


Chris Moses on MIT TechTV

MIT Global Challenge “Printable” Available

mitgc_printableSpecial thanks to Resource Development and Alumni Association staff, especially Lauren Clark, for such fine work developing a 2-page overview of the MIT Global Challenge. We’ll be using the piece over the next several months to encourage alumni enthusiasm and support for the Global Challenge.

The printable includes an introduction to the Global Challenge, describes its origins with the success of the Public Service Center’s IDEAS Competition, and ways alumni can support the Global Challenge and the students who make it the incredible “invention as public service” competition it is today.

Download the printable here.

MIT Inventors Win Top Two Spots at ASME iShow

Congratulations to the MIT students behind 6Dot Braille Labeler and Leveraged Freedom Chair for winning second and first place respectively at the 2010 ASME Innovation Showcase!

6Dot was awarded a $7500 IDEAS Health Innovation award in 2009 sponsored by Aleksander and Anna Anita Leyfell. In 2008 Leveraged Freedom Chair won a $7500 IDEAS Award for International Technology sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program.

Both teams have used their award to further test and refine their prototypes as well as seek out new funding sources and partnerships. Congratulations on all your hard work – its terrific to see you thrive!

See the ASME announcement here.

Why social entrepreneurs do what they do

A recent article in Stanford’s Business Magazine profiled the social enterprise D.light, which delivers affordable LED lighting to rural, off-grid communities. A powerful quote caught my eye, one that really threw into sharp relief the power of what students everywhere are doing to change the world:

“Chaudhary purchased a light for about $30 and soon noticed that his family’s eyes no longer burned and their chests no longer hurt. Even better, they could see at night. His sister, Rama, was able to stay up late knitting sweaters. His father, Gajinder, could read without straining his eyesight. His aunt, Suman, stopped charring the flat chapati bread she baked over the wood stove.”

All these benefits from a light? Its almost inconveivable in our comfortable lifestyles. To communities with less, simple, smart changes add up to significant quality of life improvements.

Read the complete Stanford article here.