IDEAS — which stands for Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Action and Service — recognizes student teams that have developed outstanding projects that apply invention as a public service. Each award enables a team to develop their prototype into a working solution in collaboration with community partners around the world.
The awards, presented by a selection of MIT staff and sponsors, went to the following teams:
- Konbit was awarded the $8,000 IDEAS Award sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education. Team members Greg Elliott and Aaron Zinman designed a service via phone, Short Message Service (SMS) and web that helps communities rebuild themselves after a crisis by indexing the skill sets of local residents, and allowing NGOs to find and employ them.
- PerfectSight was awarded the $5,000 Award sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program. Team members Chika Ekeji, Margaret McKenna, Ankit Mohan, and Vitor Pamplona designed an innovative, mobile system for diagnosing refractive eye conditions for under $1 using cell phones.
- Komera was awarded the $5,000 IDEAS Award sponsored by Eberhard and Shahla Wunderlich. Team members Abdulaziz Albahar, Laura Aust, Kamyin Cheng, Amrita Saigal, Ariadne Smith, Katherine Smyth, and Zachary Rose worked closely with Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), a 2008 IDEAS Competition award winning team. The team developed a method that uses locally available materials to make both the manufacturing process for sanitary pads as well as the pads themselves — made in part from banana tree pulp — in Rwanda. The Komera machine can be fabricated out of simple materials, and assembled at local workshops.