From Fog Harvesting to Drone Disaster Communications: Meet the Vodafone Foundation Wireless Innovation Finalists

April 24, 2014
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Every year The Vodafone Americas Foundation seeks out the startups and organizations who are innovating on wireless technologies and making true impact in the world. In the sixth year of this competition, Vodafone has provided over $6 million in grants for these organizations to take their impact to the next level. These projects are tackling massive global challenges like water scarcity, reliable disaster communications and remote health care access using mobile technology from SMS to never-before-seen mobile devices.

This month Vodafone announced the eight finalists of The Wireless Innovation Project Competition, the top three will take home a piece of the $500,000 grant. We were invited to join the panel of judges to review the final eight and the process was incredibly inspiring – challenging to pick only three final recipients. The winners will be announced during the Social Innovation Summit 2014 being held at the United Nations Plaza, May 28-29.

Meet the eight finalists below and find more info on each on Vodafone’s site:


  • Cellular System for Emergency and Disaster Relief [Washington University at St. Louis]. Uses unmanned aerial vehicles to patch together cellular access in the wake of tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes so victims can contact safety personnel.

  • eyeMITRA [MIT Media Lab] provides real-time health assessment using a mobile phone attachment that scans the nervous tissue in the back of the eye and provides remote imaging of the retina.

  • FogFinder  [Faculty of engineering researchers at MIT, Universidad de los Andes, and Universidad Católica de Chile] uses a probe powered by wireless communication tech, that provides a map of liquid water flux in arid regions of Chile. This will help Chileans find new, renewable sources of water.

  • MIMOSA Emergency Response establishes an integrated satellite, cellular, and web-based network for communicating and coordinating health and disaster response needs anywhere in the world.

  • Mobile Multimodal Colposcopy [Scripps Medical Clinic] enables any mobile phone with a digital camera to serve clinicians as a multimodal cervical cancer screening device.

  • Soko Enterprise Project  gives marginalized SMEs the platform they need to manage production, operations, selling to global customers and payment – all through mobile technology.

  • Speaklear, Automatic Evaluation and Treatment of Pathological Speech Disorders [Arizona State University] gives underserved communities access to a speech recognition mobile platform that can assess communication disorders and treatment remotely.

  • TaroWorks™, Accelerating Social Impact in the Last Mile TaroWorks lets organizations working in low connectivity areas have access to real-time work data and connect to the head office while in the field.


Learn more about how businesses and non-profits use Twilio for social good by visiting