The Latin American Research Awards (LARA), presented by Google, honors and grants funding to the most innovative and impactful research projects in Latin America – particularly those aimed at resolving diverse issues affecting underprivileged communities. Out of 670 applications, 25 projects were selected. Among them, a portable and affordable Peruvian project meant to identify autism at an early stage.
According to Andina, the other winners were made up of 15 projects from Brazil, two from Argentina, two from Chile, five from Colombia and one from Peru. More than half of the winners were health technology related projects. Winners were selected by a group of Google engineers based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The diagnosis process that researchers Mirko Zimic and Macarena Vittet, 27, envision bringing to life will reportedly take less than two minutes and will require no probing. Essentially, the entire evaluation will occur through artificial intelligence and machine learning via a video device that will capture the child’s pupil activity. Though the end goal is rather simple, it will take a bit more work to make it a reality.
The total amount of grant money awarded was $500,000, and it is meant to fund another two years of investigative research.
This is the seventh year of the award show ceremony. Since its inception, Google has been a part of funding more than 100 projects and invested more than 3 million dollars into LARA.
“Let’s hope that we can obtain a result that will fill a gap within a community that is not well-known in the country,” Vittet said.