July 02, 2015 09:49 UTC

Science & Technology

Social Innovation Summit 2012 Comes to an End

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Social Innovation Summit
Social Innovation Summit

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.

More than 700 business leaders, government officials, investors and other people gathered last week in Mountain View, California. They went there to attend the Social Innovation Summit. Landmark Ventures, a financial advisory company, organized the event. It is an invitation-only conference aimed at finding new ways to deal with old problems.

Problems like traffic jams. That is an issue that student entrepreneur Christian Bruggemann hopes to solve.

“Traffic is actually really bad in most countries and we thought there must be some way of doing something about it.”

Last week, his Team Graphmasters received a Microsoft Imagine Cup Grant of $100,000. The German team won the prize for its “nunav” traffic management system. Here is how it works.

“Everyone that’s using our system sends his current position as well as the destination to our servers every 30 seconds. And with that information our central system can reroute all of the cars in a way that everyone gets his individual best possible route.”

Christian Bruggemann says early research with the system has been promising.

“We found out through our simulations that it could be possible to save up to 20 percent of the fuel consumption. What’s even more interesting is that it can save up to 50 percent of the time you spend in traffic so you could get to your destination twice as fast.”

A team from Uganda also was invited to the Social Innovation Summit. Team Cypher256 has developed a mobile app aimed at improving health care for pregnant women in Africa. Aaron Tushabe is a member of the team.

“Maternal and infant mortality rates are extremely high in the community. On average, in sub Saharan Africa, we have mothers dying almost every minute from pregnancy related complications.”

The app is called WinSenga. It measures fetal heart sounds to help establish the heart rate, age and position of the fetus in the mother. That information is recorded and stored for future use. Aaron Tushabe says the device is similar in operation to an ultrasound test, but is far less costly.

“With an ultrasound scan, mothers have to pay about five dollars each to access antenatal care, which is very expensive in a community where people still live on less than a $1 a day.”

And he says not having to depend on ultrasound equipment adds an even greater benefit. 

“Even better we see the medical personnel being able to move into the communities then offer the antenatal diagnosis right there.”

Team Cypher256 received a Microsoft Imagine Cup Grant of $75,000 to help continue the project.

This is the third year for the Social Innovation Summit. The event is held two times a year, once in New York and once in California. The first one in 2012 was held in May. The United Nations’ Office for Partnerships helped to organize the event.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Marvie from: The Philippines
12/13/2012 11:29 PM
Good work, guys !!!

What is the procedure of acquiring the system?


by: Shige from: Japan
12/13/2012 2:41 AM
I heard about Social innovation summit for the first time. And in this conference, new ways has been found to deal with old problems like traffic jams. The conference may be useful for human beings because the team which joins in the conference shows new solution like Graphmasters and Cyoher256 did.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
12/10/2012 11:34 AM
Yes, it's great that young students pay attention to current social problembs and think about innovation to solve them. Traffic jams should be eased. Peripregnancyl health of mothers and babies should be cared for. And what is the biggest social problem nowadays? There would be no one who doubts it is regional conflicts and international wars. If someone succeed in developing a system which prevent conflicts and wars between people and nations, it's sure the inventors would get not only Microsoft imagine cup grant but a Novel prize award for peace.

Learn with The News

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, July 1, 2015.

    Audio U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies

    Sec. of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the U.S. flag over the first American embassy there in 50 years. Also in the news, Islamic State group claims attacks in Egypt’s Sinai; Liberian president calls new Ebola case “disturbing”; U.S. advances to Women's World Cup final. More

  • Audio Clash Reported at Border of Vietnam, Cambodia

    Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured. More

  • A doctor points to an x-ray showing a pair of lungs infected with TB (tuberculosis) in Ladbroke Grove in London, England, Jan. 27, 2014.

    Audio Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Less Likely to Spread

    The number of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis cases is rising. Multi-drug-resistant TB results from a bacterium – a group of small living things that can cause disease. The bacterium is hard to kill because it has become resistant to two or more common antibiotics. More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry - flanked by National Security Council Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States Robert Malley, U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, and Eu

    Audio Iran Nuclear Talks Deadline Extended

    Also Tuesday, leaders of the US and Brazil promised to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy use; China made a simiilar announcement; and another politician entered the US presidential race. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he will seek the Republican Party nomination. More

  • Audio Is There a ‘Skills Gap’ in US Job Market?

    8.7 million Americans are unemployed and 6.7 million are doing part-time work. But, many jobs remain vacant. Employers say many of those jobs are vacant because they cannot find people with the right skills to do the work. Some experts look at why that is the case and what to do about it. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

  • Video Everyday Grammar: Words Come and Go in English

    Part of the reason that English has grown as a world language is that it adjusts easily to change. Why do some words and phrases stay the same while others change? VOA guest editor David Sullivan shares his ideas on the changes he has seen in today's English. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs