WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jun 8, 2016) -  The Vodafone Americas Foundation today, at the  Social Innovation Summit 2016 in Washington, D.C, announced the winners of its eighth annual Wireless Innovation Project (WIP), a competition for wireless-related technologies aimed at solving the critical issues facing the world today. Neopenda will be awarded the $300,000 first place prize for their newborn vital signs monitoring device. For the second time in the competition's history, judges determined a tie for the 2nd place prize which will be awarded to EyeSee and c-Air for the potential of their respective innovations. Each will receive the traditional second place prize of $200,000, making the total prize amount awarded in this year's WIP $700,000.

Since launching in 2009, the Vodafone Americas Foundation WIP has awarded $4.9 million to unique solutions focused on "Connecting for Good" that help address critical issues such as water sanitation, vaccine monitoring, mobile health diagnostics, and more. Past WIP winners have gone on to future success through international accolades, various industry prizes, and more than $9.5 million in additional funding.

"The Wireless Innovation Project honors unique mobile innovations and disruptive ideas that have the potential to not only gain market traction, but also positively impact the global community," said Chuck Pol, Board of Directors Chairman and President, Vodafone Americas Foundation. "The 2016 winners represent each of these qualities as well as the Foundation's motto 'Connecting for Good' and illustrate how wireless solutions can make an impact."

Neopenda, EyeSee, and c-Air were chosen with the highest potential to make a difference for people around the world and create lasting social change.

  • First Place (US $300,000)
    Neopenda - Every year, millions of newborns die from preventable causes, and 98 percent of the deaths occur in the developing world, where monitoring equipment is not available due to high cost and limited resources. Neopenda is an affordable wearable newborn vital signs monitor that transmits data to nurses to help provide early detection when a newborn is in distress. Neopenda plans to use the Vodafone Americas Foundation funding to continue prototyping and used for clinical trials through Colombia University.

  • Co-Second Place (US $200,000)
    EyeSee - EyeSee is an end-to-end vision enhancement and tele-rehabilitation solution combining a smartphone and a compact head-mounted display to maximize the residual vision and enable independent living for patients with limited vision related to health problems. For example, EyeSee can help the millions of stroke patients, each year, suffering from Hemianopia -- decreased vision or blindness in half the visual field -- following a stroke. EyeSee plans to continue to refine their product and expand clinical trials with the funding from the Wireless Innovation Project.

  • Co-Second Place (US $200,000)
    c-Air - There is an urgent need for detection and quantification of air pollution around the world as 7 million people die annually from "pre-mature death" due to health effects of air pollution. The c-Air team is working on a project that uses a computational sensor for rapid air quality quantification, enabling on the ground as well as drone-based 3D mapping of toxic emissions from pollution sources like highways, airports or factories. The team will leverage the awarded grant to create multiple prototypes and to help expand into new regions. 

"The 2016 Wireless Innovation Project winners illustrate how innovative mobile solutions can address some of the world's most critical issues such as newborn healthcare, air quality, and one's vision," said June Sugiyama, Director, Vodafone Americas Foundation. "These winning technologies exemplify the core mission of these annual awards, to ultimately change the world through wireless technology, and we're proud to recognize their potential to drive social good."

Each awarded grant will be issued over the course of three years. In addition to grant funds, WIP recipients receive support and guidance to advance their solutions to reach the global marketplace. Vodafone brings technical expertise, partnerships and global reach that accelerate mobile innovations to deliver wider social impact than they could achieve alone.

For further details on the Wireless Innovation Project, visit project.vodafone-us.com.
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About the Vodafone Americas Foundation
The Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone's global network of 27 foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group. In addition the Wireless Innovation Project, the Vodafone Americas Foundation supports programs in the United States to Improve People's Lives, Support the Development Sector, Spark Innovation, and Empower Women and Girls. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone-us.com.

About Vodafone Group
Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 57 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 March 2016, Vodafone had 462 million mobile customers and 13.4 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com.