10 Canadian finalists named in Google's $5M innovation challenge
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Google is asking for Canadians' help to choose the best homegrown technology for solving problems around the world, as part of its $5-million Impact Challenge contest in Canada.

Canadians are encouraged to vote on the project most likely to affect major change at home and abroad, with 10 options on the table.

Google's charitable wing announced the finalists this week. The list includes a wide range of high-tech solutions, such as a tablet app for educating Indigenous high school students, a drone project for surveying disaster areas and a pneumonia diagnosis app.

Google.org has announced the 10 finalists for its first-ever Impact Challenge. (Google.org)

"These are bold ideas that highlight both Canada's talent for innovation and our culture of helping others," Google.org said in a news release.

Canadians can vote on their favourite project at the Innovation Challenge website, from now until March 28. The winning project will be awarded a $750,000 grant, with additional winners to be decided March 30 by a panel of judges in Toronto. Among the judges slated to preside over the contest are Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, NHL defenceman P.K. Subban and Google.org Director Jacquelline Fuller.

All 10 projects on the list are from Canadian non-profit organizations, such as the Canadian Red Cross, Food Banks Canada and the B.C. Children's Hospital.

Here are the 10 innovations vying for $5 million (and your vote):

PocketDoc, from the B.C. Children's Hospital

The PocketDoc is a smartphone app that helps doctors diagnose pneumonia in developing countries.

LearnCloud Portal from Rumie Initative

The LearnCloud Portal is an offline tablet app aimed at boosting education for students on Indigenous reserves, where 60 per cent of teens do not graduate high school. The app offers a curriculum "to help high school students learn about Indigenous culture, history and language while gaining employment skills and financial literacy."

RescUAV project from GlobalMedic

The RescUAV project proposes using Canadian-made unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance in hard-to-reach disaster zones.

FoodAccess App by Food Banks Canada

The FoodAccess App puts farmers, manufacturer and restaurants in touch with donation agencies, so unused food can be diverted to those who need it most, instead of sending it to landfills.

Teleaudiology Cloud by World Wide Hearing Foundation International

The Teleaudiology Cloud allows doctors and speech therapists to screen children for hearing and speech issues in remote communities, and to prescribe treatment, therapy or counselling.

SIKU by Arctic Eider Society

The SIKU platform offers open-source tools for Inuit communities to map the fast-shrinking sea ice coverage in the Canadian Arctic.

3D-printed prosthetic hands from Victoria Hand Project

The Victoria Hand Project is offering a literal helping hand for low-to-mid income countries, with 3D-printed prosthetics for individuals who have lost their limbs.

Service Advisor from PeaceGeeks Society

The Service Advisor app offers a friendly helping hand to new Canadians, by providing a host of immigration services and employment resources in the user's native language.

Growing North by Growing North

The Growing North project aims to address the major food scarcity issues in Canada's North, by establishing year-round greenhouses to grow food in the region.

REDS from the Canadian Red Cross

The Register Educate Deliver System (REDS) from the Red Cross aims to scale up a pilot project used during the Fort McMurray wildfire crisis last summer. The system registers affected individuals, shares critical information about how they should respond, and "quickly delivers financial assistance into the hands of Canadians when they need it most."

Google is looking to award the project that can be scaled up to do the most good for the world.

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Source: CTV News / Josh Elliot