Four UK charities have been awarded a total of £2 million to help fund projects that aim to leverage technology solve some of the world's toughest problems.

The winning projects included smart glasses to help the blind see, an app which will try and track mosquitos, a network to connect farmers around the world and a system to help keep young people off the street.

The three winners picked by the judges were:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - Crowdsourcing data to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Centrepoint - Data analytics to keep young people off the street.
  • WeFarm - Peer-to-peer communication service to help farmers improve their livelihoods.

While three of the four winners were chosen by the judging panel the fourth winner was chosen by the public who voted on their favourite project over the last two weeks.

That was a project proposed by RNIB to develop smart glasses to improve life for people with sight loss.

The winners of the Global Impact Challenge were revealed by Sir Richard Branson, a judge of the 2013 competition, who spoke live from his home on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Each of the winners will receive £500,000 in direct funding plus mentoring and support from Google and Nesta, the innovation charity which is a partner in the awards.

This year's competition saw hundreds of UK charities submit entries, with the 10 finalists chosen by staff from Google and Nesta, the innovation charity which is a partner in the awards.

The charities were charged with coming up with innovative ideas which leverage technology to help tackle "the world's toughest problems and transform lives."

Judging panel

First launched in the UK last year, Google has since held Impact Challenges in India, Brazil and the San Francisco Bay Area, investing more than £10m in the project.

At Google's UK headquarters on Thursday each of the 10 finalists pitched their ideas to the judging panel. The judging panel was made up of Peter Jones CBE, entrepreneur and Dragons' Den star; Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Emma Freud, director of Red Nose Day; Helen Goulden, executive director at Nesta.

The six finalists, who failed to make it into the top four but will still be awarded with £200,000 in funding:

  • Carr Gomm - App to empower people to manage their social care.
  • We Are What We Do - Digital games to help improve young people's mental health.
  • Relate - Online platform to enable separating parents t resolve disputes.
  • Virunga Foundation - Crowdsourcing platform to help protect wildlife and communities in the DRC.
  • Catch 22 - App to give young people the skills for work.
  • St Giles Trust - Online hub to support former offenders transitioning back to the community.