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THE TECH MUSEUM OF INNOVATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE UCanTu VIRTUAL EXHIBIT CREATION CONTEST

Press Release Date 
Thursday, 23 October, 2008
The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech), one of the nation's premiere science and technology museums, announced the winners of its UCanTu virtual exhibit design competition in The Tech in Second Life®, also known as The Tech Virtual. The competition was focused around The Tech's international humanitarian awards program, The Tech Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. The Tech Awards program recognizes and supports solutions that benefit humanity and address some of the most critical issues facing the planet and its people. Also announced were the UCanTu "Best in Show" and "Most Inspirational" awards. The UCanTu project is the second phase of the first-of-a-kind open source virtual exhibit creation initiative, The Tech Virtual, which revolutionized the way exhibits are conceptualized and developed. Announced in May, the UCanTu challenge invited participants to showcase one of the Tech Awards technologies, and convey the message that the tools to build a better world are readily at hand ("You Can, Too"). The Tech invited Tech Virtual participants to choose one of the existing award-winning projects from past Tech Awards Laureates and to develop a virtual exhibit showcasing these technologies in an educational and interactive form in the museum in Second Life. Competition entries were required to fall into one of the five categories of The Tech Awards program: health, education, environment, economic development and equality. Judging was held in August, and the projects were a combination of contributions from both teen and main grid Second Life participants. "As a psychologist and human rights advocate, the opportunity to design a virtual exhibit at The Tech in Second Life was a new adventure," said Kara Bennett, creator of Create a Universal Language, winner of Most Inspiring Exhibit. "This was an extraordinary experience to meet individuals from different parts of the world, discover ways to share our unique talents to create a place for others to visit, and become part of an exciting global interaction that exhibits the ways technology can benefit humanity." A total of seven prizes were awarded. In lieu of monetary awards, The Tech Museum awarded Linden dollars, the currency in Second Life. Two of the concepts will be incorporated into the physical museum's Tech Awards gallery opening in spring 2009. An additional five projects will be archived in the Second Life Tech Virtual Museum. The two winning concepts, listed below, received 250,000 Linden dollars ($970 US) per team member and will be incorporated into The Tech Awards gallery at the physical museum:
  • Terran Solar Boat - created by Tristan Watts-Willis, Ben Newton, Andrew Brown, and Maxwell Strog. Terran Solar Boat is based on the Solar Sailor project, showcasing the multiple ways solar power and renewable energy sources can be used in marine transportation.
  • KickStart Our Economy - created by Marie Crandell and Mars Voyager. KickStart Our Economy explores human-powered irrigation and increased economic opportunities provided by the KickStart water pump.
The following five projects will be archived in The Tech Virtual and received prizes of 5,000 to 50,000 Linden dollars per team member:
  • Take a Bath in the Fog (Best in Show, Teen Grid)
  • Solar Sailing: The Future of Eco-Green (Runner-up, Best in Show, Teen Grid)
  • Barefoot Brilliance! (Best In Show, Main Grid)
  • Cool Vaccines (Runner-up, Best in Show, Main Grid)
  • Create a Universal Language (Winner, Most Inspiring Exhibit)
For project descriptions, please visit www.thetechvirtual.org/projects/ucantu-projects/. "Our revolutionary model at The Tech for using the open source concept has segued into allowing these individuals to express, through a virtual and open source format, what previous humanitarian innovations from Tech Award Laureates mean to them," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "We have supported collaborative creativity and exposed Tech Museum visitors, virtual and physical, to the power of The Tech Awards." The Tech Virtual encompasses a replica in Second Life of The Tech Museum building, which is actually located in Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif. The Tech Virtual includes Parkside Exhibit Workshop, a creative common area where people can work together on exhibit concepts; and a collaboration website called The Tech Virtual Museum Exhibit Workshop (www.thetechvirtual.org), designed to facilitate projects and community connections. The Tech's use of Second Life's platform to build, test and launch new exhibition content serves as a model and a hands-on opportunity for other museums interested in experimenting with new methods for creating content and is open to everyone. The panel of judges involved in the UCanTu competition was comprised of an impressive group of experts from The Tech Museum, including:
  • Tina Blaine, Curator, The Tech Awards Exhibit
  • Matteo Bittanti, Curator, Art Film & Music Exhibition
  • Bob Ketner, Virtual Community Manager
  • Rob Stephenson, Curator, The Tech Virtual
  • Amanda Riley, Senior Manager, The Tech Awards Program
  • Kyle Walker, intern and teen Grid Volunteer Coordinator
  • Amparo Leyman Pino, Education Consultant, Papalote Museo del Nino, Mexico
The Tech Virtual and UCanTu exhibit can be found at The Tech island in Second Life: slurl: http://tinyurl.com/3x7bf7. The Tech's virtual exhibition creation initiative in Second Life is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. About The Tech Museum of Innovation The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California - the Capital of Silicon Valley - its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org. CONTACTS: Roqua Montez The Tech Museum of Innovation (408) 795-6225 rmontez@thetech.org Analisa Schelle Ogilvy PR (415) 677-2721 analisa.schelle@ogilvypr.com