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Designer runner-up: Indrani Medhi
Associate Researcher, Technology For Emerging Markets Group, Microsoft Research India

While more than 1.8 billion people use PCs, at least 2 billion more can't because of illiteracy. Indrani Medhi has made this underrated global crisis her life's work. Medhi's text-free user interfaces are the result of spending more than 450 hours studying 400 low-income subjects in Indian slums, South African farms, and Filipino fishing villages. The UIs employ hand-drawn graphics with voiced annotations in the local language as well as looped explanatory videos. "Most people were so thrilled that they would ask us when these applications would be available for them to use," she says. --J.P.M.

NEXT: Designer runner-up: Shigeru Miyamoto
Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET