A Colombian national was named Innovator of the Year at the world-renowned EmTech conference, sponsored by MIT Techonology Review Magazine.
Held in alternating regional locations across the world, the 2014 Latin American EmTech or “Emerging Technologies” Conference took place in Medellin, in the central state of Antioquia. Some 30 technology entrepreneurs from seven different countries — 18 from Colombia — presented their innovations to the conference’s panel of experts prior to the judging.
Colombian Daniel Cuartas ultimately won the award for his work on technology that allows those with severely limited body movements, such as quadriplegics, to control everyday objects and systems using only their eyes.
Cuartas’ invention — “the pupil tracker” — follows the movement of the subject’s eyes and responds accordingly, adjusting lights, for example. His invention was described as “more efficient” and as much as 90% cheaper than others on the market.
Fellow Colombian Adelaida Gomez was also recognized during the conference, winning the Social Innovator prize for her work developing formulas to predict the effectiveness of certain medicines.
Isabel Perez, spokeswoman for EmTech Colombia told Colombia.inn that “Colombia is very well developed around the theme of entrepreneurship, investment, and growing the ecosystem,” pointing out that Medellin, considered a regional innovation hub, hosted the conference for the second time, after hosting the first Latin American edition in 2012.
The spokeswoman insisted that Colombia is exemplary for its “support of innovation” and understands the need for collaboration between public and private institutions in order to promote the technology sector.