Sensors may be small—but they have the power to dramatically alter seemingly intractable global development challenges. Monitoring and tracking environmental quality and air pollution, measuring how infrastructure like water pumps and power lines are working, monitoring water quality, and detecting pathogens are only a few of the breakthrough solutions that ‘maker ready’ sensor technologies can impact.
Intel is collaborating with USAID, the World Bank and the Fab Foundation on the launch of a Global Fab Award. This award encourages the invention of sensor technologies to improve the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people by providing better access to information on critical issues such as healthcare diagnostics, agricultural production, and the availability of clean drinking water. At the international Fab10 Conference, the partnership will crowd-source a catalog of Maker solutions that can drive economic development and address social challenges in countries around the world. The term ‘Maker’ is often used to describe people who make physical objects with electronic tools for their own purposes or with their own designs. As Maker spaces and Maker faires grow around the world, they are democratizing the means for anyone around the globe to create and invent. This growth of making skills also means more opportunities to create innovative solutions to address global development challenges.
I just spent a day with USAID’s Global Development Lab. Intel is a cornerstone partner to USAID’s Lab which is focused on applying science, technology, innovation and partnerships to solve global development challenges and improve global development impact. What’s exciting about being a cornerstone partner is the opportunity to engage with a diverse set of actors to discover, incubate and scale breakthrough development innovations to impact sectors like water, health, energy and climate change and reach hundreds of millions of people. I left the day feeling convinced that “Making” and innovation hold the power to become major disruptors in global development.
For more information on the finalists of the Global Fab Award, visit the USAID blog.