Samsung had announced last year, during the unveiling of its ARTIK chip, a $100,000 award for whoever creates the best idea to solve the California drought crisis. The challenge was instituted after the Korean tech giant witnessed the devastation caused by drought in California which started in 2011. The company promised to present the award at its next developer conference which took place in April 2016.
Although the winner wasn't announced during this year's Samsung developers conference, Samsung has now announced the winner of the Makers Against Drought (M.A.D) global challenge. A team of six New York-based developers, Jesse Lee, Geoff Woo, Helen Huang, Lara Mendelssohn, Shea Molloy, and Tony Li won the price for their groundbreaking ElectroDialysis Desalinator for Irrigation (EDDI) system. The invention enables farmers to separate normal saline (salt) from water before they irrigate thus giving them the leverage to use only the necessary amount of water they need to achieve maximum crop yield.
The Samsung Makers Against Drought (M.A.D) challenge is targeted at developers aimed at creating open innovation projects that solve challenges faced globally like water scarcity. Not only that, the company also targets turning the ideas to finished products for the market.
The EDDI system uses Samsung's ARTIK IoT platform to enable it control smart activation of the pumps and valves on the irrigation machine as well as to collect data related to water salinity and flow. Because water supply is controlled by Smart activation, water wastage is also reduced. The EDDI system developers will take home the prize of $100,000 attached to the winning and they hope to continue honing their innovation and one day offer it to farmers everywhere.
The M.A.D global challenge received over 500 entries drawn from 57 countries, showcasing several innovatine IoT gadgets. One of the systems developed and which place second is called Ness, which employs Samsung ARTIK platform to develop a system capable of saving water that people normally waste while waiting for their water taps and showers to get hot.
Another innovative idea which placed third is the Tadpole Automation and Monitoring System. The system also uses the Samsung ARTIK platform to reduce the amount of water needed to grow food by over 90 percent compared to traditional methods.
The winning entries were determined by a panel of judges made up of state government officials, venture capitalists, and green tech industry leaders. The criteria used to pick the winning entries were based on; creativity and originality of the idea; and technical implementation, including how well the idea was executed by developers, and how well they utilized the SAMSUNG ARTIK™ IoT platform in their project. The judges also put into consideration the benefits and impact on the California water crisis and on droughts in other parts of the world as well as the overall user experience. In all, a total of $210,500 was handed out as prizes.