The winners of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced today, honoring the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.
A finalist in the Best World Changing Idea North American Category with an Honorable Mention in the Software Category, Freetouch™ turns any smartphone into a remote control for kiosks and connected displays. End users snap a digital QR code to instantly connect to a display, with no app download, registration or learning curve required. A highly responsive and intuitive interface lets users click, drag, scroll, type and perform multi-touch gestures safely on their own device to interact with public-facing applications. All interactions are secure and anonymous.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the world became acutely aware of the potential for the transmission of pathogens from shared surfaces. These included millions of touchscreens installed worldwide,” said Darren David
, Freetouch Founder and CEO. “Freetouch was created to eliminate the need for physical contact with touchscreens, letting anyone touchlessly interact with public-facing displays from the safety of their own personal smartphone. Freetouch provides a verifiably safe means of interaction for the newly touch-averse world.
Now in its fifth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 33 winners, more than 400 finalists, and more than 800 honorable mentions—with Health and Wellness, AI & Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 4,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. Plus, several new categories were added, including Pandemic Response, Urban Design, and Architecture. The 2021 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Brazil to Denmark to Vietnam.
Showcasing some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling exigent global challenges, Fast Company’s Summer 2021 issue (on newsstands May 10) highlights, among others, a lifesaving bassinet; the world’s largest carbon sink, thanks to carbon-eating concrete; 3D-printed schools; an at-home COVID-19 testing kit; a mobile voting app; and the world’s cleanest milk.
“There is no question our society and planet are facing deeply troubling times. So, it’s important to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, impact, design, scalability, and passion to solve these problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have discovered some of the most groundbreaking projects that have launched since the start of 2020.”About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.About Freetouch™
Freetouch enables touchless interaction with shared touchscreens and connected displays from any smartphone. Simply install the controller software on any PC with internet connectivity — no additional hardware required. End users scan an onscreen QR code with their smartphone to connect to and interact with the display in front of them. The solution is designed for immediate use by retail, digital out-of-home media (DOOH), banking, hospitality, travel, museum, food service, and entertainment industries — anywhere connected displays are part of the customer or operational experience.
Freetouch was conceived and developed by San Francisco-based Stimulant
, an award-winning experience design agency that has been developing touch-driven applications for nearly 15 years. Freetouch is committed to making interactive installations safer to use through advanced touchless technologies.