Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Innovators honored for taking on `most pressing problems'


Technology "laureates" from points around the world have been awarded cash and praise in Silicon Valley for using innovation to combat "humanity's most pressing problems," according to officials.

Twenty-five "innovators" won the 2005 Tech Museum Awards in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose for using science to improve lives in countries such as China, Chile, Thailand, Africa and Brazil.

The annual awards were started in 2001 to inspire technological solutions to "the most urgent critical issues facing our planet," according to museum officials.

Five top finishers were selected in each of five contest categories: education, equality, environment, health and economic development. While each finalist will be honored at a gala event in the fall, one from each category will get US$50,000 in prize money, contest organizers said.

The Center for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment in Pakistan was lauded for developing an "adult-friendly" loom to reduce use of child labor in the making of carpets in Pakistan, Nepal and other countries.

The US organization Human Rights in China (HRIC) won for engineering ways to circumvent government filtering of Internet traffic in China, according to the museum. The group's "E-Activism Project" promotes "uncensored civil space for discussing issues," award officials concluded.

Enviro Options in South Africa made the winners list for creating an "Enviro Loo" system that provides a waterless, non-polluting, solar-powered method of dealing with sewage.

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