Eight Teams of Social Impact Inventors Selected as Regional Finalists in Africa for Premier Global Competition

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has announced the regional finalists of the 2020 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), the premier international accelerator of hardware-led social innovation. Eight socially minded teams of inventors from Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt will present their design prototypes in a virtual event held May 19-21.

The ISHOW Kenya finalists, whose innovations address issues including clean cooking, feminine hygiene, food waste reduction, green building, medical diagnostics, and renewable energy, will pitch their prototypes at 6 p.m. East Africa Time/11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, May 19 via web conferenceDr. Victor Konde, scientific affairs officer with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Michael Johnson, chief strategy officer for ASME, will welcome participants to the virtual event. (Journalists who wish to participate can request login information by emailing media contacts below.)

The finalists will vie for a share of $30,000 in seed grants and technical support to help bring their design innovations to market. An esteemed panel of judges will privately interview each finalist as part of an extensive design and engineering review and then will choose three hardware innovations as grand prize winners. The regional finalists are:

  • BURN Manufacturing Co. (Ruiru, Kenya) for its “Kuniokoa TURBO Stove” — a forced draft biomass stove that is compatible with Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) solar systems and is more efficient and cleaner-burning than the company’s innovative Kuniokoa stove. The TURBO decreases time to boil by ~60% , decreases the tending interval by 30%, and can burn wood fuel with up to 27% moisture content (wet basis) as clean as liquified petroleum gas. Once launched, it will be the only production household cookstove in the world that achieves ISO/IWA “Tier 4” performance with agricultural waste briquettes.
  • Dunamis-Cognitio (Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria) for its “Ina Lite” — a sustainable, affordable, portable, light-weight, thermoelectric generator that harnesses heat energy to generate electricity accessible from a USB power port.
  • Ecobora Company (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Solar Cooking Boiler” – The company is  equipping rural marginalized schools with its patented solar-powered cook stove that permits around the clock cooking by tapping the sun’s energy and storing it in a repurposed oil tank with waste motor oil as an effective carbon sink tank, eliminating the need for firewood. The stove is affordable and provides heat energy even during rainy seasons. The money saved equips science and computer laboratories to offer quality education to students.
  • ECO Egypt (Cairo, Egypt) for its “ECO Food Dehydrators” — ECO is the only Arab food dehydrator provider and the second in Africa. It enables farmers to turn crop surpluses that usually go to waste into powdered food in just hours, allowing farmers a 30-fold increase in revenues that benefits rural women and enhances food security.
  • Green Pavers (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Styro-Plastic Densifier” — which turns tons of waste plastic littering the streets and landfills into durable and affordable building materials, making cities and communities more green-friendly and sustainable.
  • Inteco Kenya Ltd. (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Ari” sanitary pad dispenser system – Inteco works in the menstrual hygiene ecosystem and focuses on the distribution and supply chain management of donated sanitary pads to adolescent girls in schools. The company secures the value chain by ensuring that sanitary pads are being used by the intended user, and create cheaper systems for accountability and monitoring by installing sanitary pads dispensers in schools, where students can get pads using near field communication (NFC) cards.
  • MicroFuse Technologies (Lagos, Nigeria) for its “Cipher” technology — a tool that enables its user to diagnose and detect cerebral malarial retinopathy with a smartphone while also capturing other individual patient data. This tool would be of immense help in urban settings and remote areas where it can be a split-second decision to treat a child for malaria or consider other causes of illness that could be life-threatening as well.
  • Zuhura Solutions (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Halisi Trolley” — a transportable solar-powered street food vending trolley, fitted with a solar panel, lithium battery, tamper-proof AC and DC charging system, mobile phone charging component, and an interface that can monitor both the temperature of the trolley to the precise location of the Trolley itself.

“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”

ISHOW Kenya winners will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday,
May 27 at 6 p.m. East Africa Time/11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time and later shared via the ASME ISHOW website, social media, and news release. A virtual ISHOW was held last month for finalists from India and finalists from the Americas will participate in a virtual ISHOW USA event in July.

In addition, the product with the most votes in social media for each regional event will be named the “Fan Favorite’’ and will receive $1,000. Follow us on Twitter @ASMEishow for more details.  The fan favorite prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., PE, Professor Emeritus QCCNY, and Ruth L. Schieber.

ASME’s panel of judges includes successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, designers, investors, and industry representatives from leading organizations in India, Kenya, and the United States such as Villgro, Gearbox, Philips, Philips Foundation, Villgro Kenya, and many others.

ASME is grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW as the Impact Inventing sponsor and ISHOW implementation partners around the globe.