THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S INNOVATION AWARDS... "A BETTER IDEA"
Excerpt from today's article:
The genome-sequencing technique from 454 Life Sciences was selected as the Gold winner in The Wall Street Journal's 2005 Technology Innovation Awards competition. Innovative technologies from around the world were eligible for awards in categories including biotechnology, software, security, energy and the environment, among others.
Judges selected Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, as well as giving out an Honorable Mention award. They also named winners in each of 12 categories and a total of 20 runners-up.
Around 750 applications were screened by a Wall Street Journal editor, who narrowed the field to 104 semifinalists. Then a panel of expert judges from industry, research organizations and academia scored each entry and picked the winners.
Entries were judged on two main criteria: Does the innovation represent a breakthrough from conventional ideas or methods in its field, and does it go beyond incremental improvements on technologies that already exist? Some judges also considered the utility of the innovation. "I looked at how much of an impact it's going to have -- really how useful it is," says one judge, Diane Greene, president of VMware Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., company that sells software that enables different operating systems to run on a single computer.
The Silver award was given to Ecology Coatings, of Akron, Ohio, for developing protective coatings that don't require polluting solvents and can be used without expensive, energy-intensive curing.
The Bronze winner was Alien Technology Corp., a Morgan Hill, Calif., semiconductor company that has developed a manufacturing process that dramatically reduces the cost of radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags.
Tiny RFID tags promise to revolutionize inventory management for retailers, libraries and military quartermasters by the wireless tracking of products from the factory floor to the loading dock to the display shelf. For the tags to become widely used, costs have to plunge to only pennies a tag, compared with about 50 cents with traditional manufacturing methods. These traditional techniques rely on mechanically assembling tiny integrated circuits into RFID tags using a robotic arm. (full article)