Saving lives appeared to be the theme of this year's choice of winners for the 9th Annual ITAC IT Hero Awards as judges picked developers of canine search and rescue pack that turns a dog into a mobile WiFi node and a Web-based CT (computed tomography) scanning system as the 2009 recipients of the awards.
Winner of the Community IT Hero Award is Professor Alexander Ferworn, director of graduate studies at the Department of Computer Science of the Ryerson University in Toronto.
Ferworn and his team developed the first WiFi-enabled low-light/infrared camera pack which can be carried by search and rescue dogs. Images captured by the camera can be transmitted back to handlers and rescue workers via ruggedized WiFi networks.
Ironically the canine-based rescue device is called CAT (canine Augmented Technology).
Winner of the Corporate IT Hero Award is GE Healthcare IT which together with eHealth Ontario and London Health Services Centre developed a Web-based transfer and storage system for neuro-treatment head scan images. With the help of the Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System (ENITS), health workers in remote areas can quickly transmit CT scan images to a data centre accessible via online connection to physicians and specialist anywhere in the province.
Being able to receive fast and accurate diagnosis can help health workers save patients' lives or eliminate unnecessary patient evacuation.
The awards, which were presented at the annual ITAC (Information technology Association of Canada) Chair's Dinner on Tuesday, celebrate and recognize the creative application of information technology that significantly improves the lives of Canadians and demonstrates social and economic benefits. Intel is a major sponsor of the event.
Learn more about other IT Hero Award nominees:
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Technology going to the dogs
Chances of surviving a structural collapse are actually very good if rescue occurs within 24 hours, according to Ferworn, of Ryerson University. Since most people trapped under debris are hidden from view, rescue units around the world use dogs to sniff out survivors.