Columbia University

Vodafone Americas Foundation Announces Wireless Innovation Project Winners

From Business Wire:

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–()–The Vodafone Americas Foundation today announced the winners of its Wireless Innovation Project, a new initiative that identifies and funds unique innovations using wireless related technology offering the best potential to address critical social issues around the world. The three winning innovations will share in prizes totaling up to $700,000 USD to support their next phase of advancement and implementation.

The Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project winners are:

  • Active Networked Tags for Disaster Recovery Applications – A system that uses wireless devices to track and locate survivors trapped by fires and structural collapse. The system is based on energy harvesting tags using ultra low power communications. Developed by Professors Gil Zussman, Peter Kinget, Ioannis (John) Kymissis, Dan Rubenstein, and Xiaodong Wang of Columbia University.
  • CelloPhone – A lensfree imaging platform on a cellphone for disease detection and diagnostics using digital holograms of the cells or bacteria, that is capable of monitoring HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and various other diseases. Developed by Dr. Aydogan Ozcan, Dr. Neven Karlovac and Dr. Yvonne Bryson of the University of California at Los Angeles.
  • CellScope: Mobile Microscopy for Disease Diagnosis – A conventional cell phone is transformed into a compact, high-resolution, handheld microscope with the capability of on-site disease diagnosis and wireless transmission of patient data to clinical centers for remote diagnosis & treatment. Developed by Dr. Daniel Fletcher, Dr. Erik Douglas and Dr. Wilbur Lam of the University of California at Berkeley.

More information – including project summaries, photos and video of the Wireless Innovation Project winners is online at

The three winners were selected from nearly 100 applicants from U.S. universities and nonprofit organizations for their multi-disciplinary approach using an innovation in wireless related technology to address a critical global issue in the areas of education, health, economic development, the environment or access to communication.

Nine finalists were chosen to give in-person presentations to an expert panel of judges that included Andrew Dunnett, Director of Vodafone Group Foundation; Melanie Edwards, Founder and CEO of Mobile Metrix; William (Bill) L. Keever, Vodafone Americas Foundation director and retired President Vodafone Asia Pacific; Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Global Philanthropy Forum; and Professor Michael Walker, Director of Vodafone Group Research and Development.

“This year’s Wireless Innovation Project winners hold tremendous promise for leveraging innovation to make a dramatic social difference at a global scale,” said Peters Suh, Chairman Vodafone Americas Foundation and President Vodafone Ventures Ltd. “The mobile microscope projects will make a substantial contribution to the rapidly-growing mobile health arena and the disaster recovery applications project has incredible potential to save lives in the case of natural disasters and in a myriad of other scenarios. We are extremely inspired by these innovations and excited to provide funding to help bring them closer to implementation.”

The Wireless Innovation Project winners will also be showcased on April 23rd at the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington, D.C. – a premiere gathering of 500 of the world’s top social investors, philanthropists, experts and activists working on matters of global concern.

The Wireless Innovation Project builds on the success of Vodafone Americas Foundation’s local grantmaking strategies and aligns with other Vodafone global philanthropic initiatives, such as Vodafone’s partnership with the U.N. Foundation to use technology for humanitarian projects, disaster relief and local social investments through 24 foundations worldwide.

About the Vodafone Americas Foundation

Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone’s global family of foundations. We are affiliated with Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company, with equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of 31 December 2008, Vodafone had approximately 289 million proportionate customers worldwide. In the U.S., our foundation directs its philanthropic activities towards the San Francisco Bay and the Metro Denver Areas where most of our employees live and work, and where we strive to make a positive and enduring impact on our communities. The Foundation is driven by a Passion for the World Around Us. We make grants that help people in our communities and around the world lead fuller lives.


For Vodafone Americas Foundation
Deborah Schneider, 415-277-6973
Brenda Dos Santos, 415-277-6974