Team BlisCare, from Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, India, has won the 2021 Ericsson Innovation Awards competition for creating a solution that enables equal educational opportunities for visually impaired people all over the world.
The solution uses a tablet to create digital braille in real time from any text or graphic. It is affordable and provides unlimited content, both online and offline.
While the digital revolution has already transformed countless lives, many people and places across the world have yet to benefit.
That was the motivation for this year’s Ericsson Innovation Awards’ (EIA) student challenge to identify a digital divide and create technological products and solutions to build a fairer and equitable world for all global citizens.
From Burkina Faso to Sweden, China, Singapore, USA, and beyond, more than 2,100 students submitted innovative ideas to answer Ericsson’s challenge.
Having launched in April, the first regional competitions took place in July, where 14 global semi-finalists where selected. Following a rigorous assessment process, the three finalist teams were announced in November. The December 15 virtual Grand Final was streamed live, hosted by Ericsson organizers in the Ericsson Imagine Studio, Stockholm, Sweden.
In an address to participating students, Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, said: “We believe thoughtful innovation can change the world, which is why we encourage everyone to Imagine Possible. So, for the sixth year in a row, we have asked bright students to use technology to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time. Being selected as a finalist out of over 2,100 students globally is a fantastic achievement.”
In addition to the top prize of EUR 25,000, Team BlisCare will also be invited to an exclusive virtual student roundtable with Arthur B. McDonald, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2015.
Team Plug & Plant, from the University of Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom, was awarded second place for creating a portable planting kit aimed at local farmers and gardening consumers. A multi-environmental rod sensor and AI-based system work with an app to enable users to create optimal planting conditions indoors or out.
Team Plug & Plant was awarded EUR 15,000 for its achievement.
Team Bsense from Stockholm University, Sweden, secured third place with its smart medical gadget designed with the elderly in mind. The gadget is a beanie hat containing embedded sensors that wirelessly monitor patients’ blood oxygen levels and heart rate, to detecting silent and potentially fatal anomalies in real time.
Team Bsense received EUR 5,000 for its achievement.