Intel awarded four $100,000 prizes today at IDF as part of their INSPIRE/EMPOWER Challenge. Interestingly, three of the prize winners made use of the Intel Classmate PC. According to Intel's press release,
The challenge called on the developer community to bring forth the most innovative ideas for using technology to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems related to education, health care, economic development and the environment.
In the first case, researchers attached portable microscopes to small computing devices in developing countries, allowing for easier diagnosis tuberculosis and malaria:
The CellScope project, named by combining “cell phone” and “microscope,” extends the concept of telemedicine to diagnostic microscopy using camera-enabled cellular phones, smartphones, handhelds and netbooks, such as the Intel-powered classmate PC.
The researchers, based at the University of California, Berkeley, were able to use the devices for epidemiological studies, diagnosis, and to provide treatment advice to remote aid workers.
The second case involved researchers with the Great Lakes Cassava Initiative to use the netbooks to study diseases in the field ravaging Cassava plants (a primary source of food in east and central Africa).
While Americans are familiar with COWs, or computers on wheels, the third project loaded an SUV with Classmates, solar panels, a folding tent, and tables to create a moving classroom:
MSCC [Mobile Solar Computer Classroom] visits the same schools every week to provide computer training to more than 100 students a day. The goal of MSCC is to provide students new opportunities in IT and open doors to better paying jobs. This solar-powered computer-lab-on-wheels has been successfully operating in Uganda for the past year. The MSCC has taught about 1,300 students in the first year and close to a hundred teachers
Congratulations to the winners!