- A revolutionary sonar system that enables blind people to "see with sound" has won the $100,000 Saatchi & Saatchi Innovation in Communication Award at a ceremony at the State of the World Forum in San Francisco.
The award for the Kaspa SonicVision system went to a 75 year old New Zealander, Professor Leslie Kay.
Professor Kay, who holds an OBE, has spent the last forty years developing a variety of sonar devices to aid the blind and visually impaired. The award-winning innovation is based on underwater sonar technology which Professor Kay first developed as a scientist for the British Government during the Cold War to search for submarines and other submerged objects.
The $100,000 prize consists of $50,000 cash, and $50,000 in Saatchi & Saatchi services.
A second award, the de Bono Medal, was also awarded at the ceremony by awards judge, Dr. Edward de Bono, for the new idea which he considered to be the simplest, most practical and most effective among the finalists.
The inaugural prize went to the UK scientist Professor Joshua Silver for his self-adjustable spectacles. The inexpensive spectacles have fluid-filled lenses which can be easily adjusted to match any prescription.