I always like to write about technology that wasn't designed to serve a market (meaning, consumers who will pay) per se, but which was designed with a humanitarian need in mind.
The world's largest technical professional society is granting prize money to students from around the world who develop "unique solutions to real-world problems using engineering, science, computing and leadership skills to benefit their community and/or humanity as a whole."
The IEEE Student Humanitarian Supreme Prize of $10,000 will be awarded to two Stanford students for developing what they called the NanoLab, "a hand-held diagnostic laboratory capable of quantitative multiplex protein detection in a very simple to use, wash-free assay," which would be particularly useful in developing countries.
A team of 19 students from B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology in India are receiving a $5,000 prize for developing electronic games, devices, and toys designed to stimulate physically and mentally handicapped children and encourage exercises.
A bicycle-powered grain crusher, targeting developing countries without easy access to electricity for motors, won five students from Rowan University in New Jersey a $2,500 prize.
Smaller prizes were awarded for other projects, including one involving robots in agriculture, several related to distributing electricity in rural and small communities, and electronic health care for the under-privileged.
Every fall the Tech Museum in San Jose, Calif., grants awards for technology innovation that benefits humanity.
Corrected at 8:50 a.m. PDT: The award ceremony is Thursday.