Recently, the BBChighlighted 10 impressive creators from across Latin America. They may not compare themselves to Mark Zuckerberg, nor do they have the same name recognition as the Facebook creator (yet). But like him, they have previously been chosen by MIT Technology Review as Innovators Under 35 and they’re also entrepreneurs. However, it seems unfair to compare them to Zuckerberg since they don’t all work in technology, and some have undertaken much more ambitious projects. In due time, these innovators could dethrone the tech giant with their success.
Learn more about them below:
MGov Brasil is a way for citizens to connect with their government. This platform collects data through text messaging and phone calls, so that citizens can give the government feedback. “MGov is an intermediary: we collect information, for example, about whether or not citizens believe a health unit is working as it should be, or if the milk distribution program is being fulfilled at quality standards,” he said. “We also share rain forecasts with poor farmers in remote areas of the country.” With this information, the government should be better able to respond to citizens’ needs.
Argentinian Geraldine Gueron is building a Wikipedia for health, but comparing it to Wikipedia is a bit simplistic. Here, users can include their health history, lifestyle habits, and family history. The website explains that we already share so much of our life online, but that this website can help others. “What if we could save lives with that same sharing? By connecting any of these devices and apps and sharing your information, you can help us create an extensive database that can be used by researchers to improve health and eradicate illness,” the site reads.
Colombian Daniela Galindo realized that in Latin America, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities are not always given the attention they need. Galindo’s sister, who has mental disabilities, inspired her to start Talking to Julis, to help people communicate with others through the use of photos. The software is designed for people aged three to 85. “Each word is accompanied by written text, a voice that pronounces it, and a video with sign language.”
Tatiana Birgisson’s energy drink, Mati, won at Google Demo Day. The drink is available in the U.S., and Birgisson says it lasts much longer than other energy drinks. “The ingredients we use are healthy: tea and juices,” she said. “Our process is innovative because we’re able to extract 40 percent more caffeine from tea leaves in comparison to traditional methods.” This product is available in some parts of the United States.
Peruvian Martha Malapi-Wight’s research works to control plant pathogens to reduce malnutrition in the world. “The pathogen Fusarium verticillioides not only causes corn to rot, it also induces a toxin that can’t be seen with the naked eye, but if ingested in large amounts can cause cancer,” she said. She and scientists are able to detect the pathogens in real time.
Antonio Navas is helping the world learn languages through Duolingo. The Guatemalan developed the first version of Duolingo and currently serves as the software engineer for the company.
José Tomás Arenas
Chilean José Tomás Arenas developed DART, a software that uses automatic image processing and telecommunication to provide clinical health care to help prevent blindness caused by diabetes. The way it works is by having someone upload images of their eyes, which are then compared to the database of eye photos to help detect if there are any distinctive patterns.
Alejandro Cantú’s SkyAlert aims to save people’s lives during earthquakes. SkyAlert lets people in about 40 cities in Mexico know if an earthquake will strike 60 seconds before it happens. The service costs $4 a year, and people can personalize their alerts. “This is what makes the technology unique in the world: users can choose how early they want to be notified and the intensity of the tremor, for example…” he said.
Yeny Carias has made it easier to communicate with the deaf. She developed software that takes spoken word and translates it into Honduran sign language. A person speaks to a computer and an avatar on the computer will sign what the person is saying.
Cuban Yondainer Gutiérrez has made health information simpler to access for students, professors, and medical professionals. He worked on the graphical interface for Cuba’s health web, Infomed, which is a point of reference for doctors and scientists in Cuba. It’s also a site used by researchers from different countries.