MIT Startup Wins Tech Museum Award For Innovative Projector Designed With SolidWorks

CONCORD, Mass.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Sept. 26, 2005— A non-profit MIT startup organization that used SolidWorks(R) software to design a microfilm projector to combat global illiteracy has won the Tech Museum Award recognizing those who use technology to benefit humanity. Design that Matters (DtM) worked with Mali-based volunteer organization World Education to develop the Kinkajou projector, which helps adults and children in impoverished regions around the world have a chance at better lives by learning how to read everything from medicine labels to voting ballots.

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., launched the Tech Museum Awards in 2001 to recognize people, companies, or organizations that develop or use technology in creative ways to address global challenges. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) assists with the outreach of the awards, identifying nominees within its network of 166 countries. Presented by Applied Materials Inc., and judged by experts from around the world, the awards honor innovators in five categories, including education, equality, environment, economic development, and health. This year, the panel chose the Kinkajou as one of five Tech Laureates (award winners) in the education category to win the Microsoft Education Award. The panel chose DtM, which builds technologies for the rural poor in developing countries, for its work on the Kinkajou. The projector is transforming how illiterate adults in nighttime classes in rural Mali learn to read and write.

"SolidWorks software's intuitive interface and powerful design tools helped us quickly develop a projector that would be easy to manufacture and use, and a snap to fix locally, which is crucial in rural communities," said Design that Matters Co-Founder Neil Cantor. "We're mid-way through a two-year pilot test of the Kinkajou with our partner World Education in 45 very remote and poor communities in Sub-Saharan Mali, where the illiteracy rates are staggering."

Before the Kinkajou, the learning opportunities for an adult attending a two-hour nighttime class were limited to when the teacher illuminated their workbooks or invited them to the blackboard. Now, students learn throughout the class as Kinkajou projects images large enough for everyone to read using inexpensive light emitting diodes (LEDs) and an optics system inspired by ViewMaster toys.

Design that Matters is now working to better define the global market opportunity for mass producing and distributing the Kinkajou to impoverished regions where illiteracy is rampant. As one of 25 Tech Laureates chosen among the five categories this year, it is eligible for a grand prize of $50,000 to be awarded in November.

"We are proud of Design that Matters and its ambitious goals and achievements thus far," said SolidWorks Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Rainer Gawlick. "The Kinkajou is a striking example of how technology can help solve some of the most fundamental global problems. It is our responsibility as corporate citizens to help ensure projects like the Kinkajou become a real benefit to those in need, wherever they are."

About Design that Matters

Design that Matters is building a worldwide system that enables social enterprise, academia, and industry to jointly innovate for social change. Together, these groups create products and services to meet the needs of underserved communities, in such areas as clean water, renewable energy, and health care. Recent clients have included Malian educators seeking better teaching tools for rural classrooms and Bangladeshi doctors seeking improved medical devices for cholera treatment. Launched in 2000 at the MIT Media Lab, DtM incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in June 2003 with a mission to help innovative social enterprises scale their capacity to make a difference in the lives of millions. For more information, visit

About The Tech Museum of Innovation

Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, Calif., The Tech Museum of Innovation, a non-profit organization, engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the young to become innovators in the technologies of the future. For more information, visit or call (408) 294-TECH.

About SolidWorks Corporation

SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for mechanical design, analysis, and product data management. It is the #1 supplier of 3D mechanical design software for the mainstream market. SolidWorks leads the market in number of users in production, customer satisfaction, and revenue. For the latest news, information, or a live online demonstration, visit the company's Web site ( or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).

SolidWorks is a registered trademark of SolidWorks Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2005 SolidWorks Corporation.

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