In an effort to stimulate the spirit of invention, the 99% and Behance has decided to create the Alva Award. The Alva Award is taken from the name of Thomas Alva Edison, the legendary inventor.
With heavy support from GE and the knowledge of experts from different companies, they’ve screened numerous applicants in order to find the three most promising inventions from young innovators under 30 years old.
These talented people will be part of the Alva Emerging Fellowship Program, and will get an $8,500 seed grant to go towards executing their proposed project, a ticket to the 2012 99% Conference, a $1,500 travel stipend to be used to attend the Conference or visit GE’s campus, and access to GE’s manufacturing expertise and educational resources.
I’ve been following this on the 99percent since last April. Yesterday, May 4, the recipients of the fellowship program were announced.
Let me start with the one I’m most excited about.
Ever had difficulty assessing which book or text would be most appropriate for different reading levels? Many educators, and students as well, often spend a lot of time deciding on which material would fit their reading needs. There’s really no way around it other than to read the whole thing yourself before making a judgment; something that can take up a lot of time.
Well, Unbound Concepts hopes to make things easier for people. It’s now currently using the software program LECTIO to create its first product: Bookleveler, an iPhone application that can scan a book’s barcode and tell you what reading level that book is.
The second one is another invention related to education.
OneBeep is another software that can convert any digital file to audio, then transmit it through radio waves, and finally convert it back to its original form on a laptop.
Why do we need such an invention? Well consider the fact that most people around the world don’t really have access to new information. This isolation can be quite a deterrent to educators and students alike.
Other initiatives like One Laptop per Child (OLPC) have started by providing a laptop for each village in remote areas. However, this is useless because these villages don’t even have access to the internet or phone lines!
Although they don’t have internet, they do have AM/FM radios. Through these radios, they can receive information such as educational lessons from the outside world.
The third invention is all about improving the quality of living of disabled people.
The makers of OpenSocket point out a need to fulfill the prosthetic needs of people in developing countries.
If you think about it, prosthetics cost a lot of money. Why? Well, because they have to be custom-fitted for each person who’s going to use them. It takes a team of experts to make a prosthetic arm that fits comfortably for each individual. Ironically, most amputees come from the poorer countries (80%). Out of these amputees, 98% don’t have access to good prosthetics.
Well, IPT, the company making OpenSocket, has come up with a quality prosthetic arm that can easily be fitted to anyone, anywhere.
The team behind IPT believes in products that will be affordable to not only the rich people in rich countries, but to everyone around the world. From $5,000-$10,000, they’re aiming to bring the price tag down to only $500.
If they succeed, they will be providing 2 million people with quality prosthetics.
These new inventions sound really simple. But often, the simplest ideas are really what matters the most. I think I’ve written about this in an earlier post.
What about you? What invention are you most excited about?