Inventors from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Named Regional Grand Prize Winners in Global Competition for Social Impact Hardware

Jun 21, 2019


Win $30,000 and Technical Support at 2019 ASME ISHOW

New York, June 21, 2019 – The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has named three socially-minded hardware inventors as regional grand prize winners of the prestigious 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), held June 13 in Washington, D.C.

The three teams of social entrepreneurs – including a second-time finalist – were selected among eight finalists from throughout the Americas who vied for a share of $30,000 (USD) in seed grants and technical support to help bring their design innovations to market. Each winner also will receive an opportunity to participate in the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York City in October 2019, where they’ll join six other regional winners of competitions held in Bengaluru, India (April 4), and Nairobi, Kenya (May 9). This year, ASME received 160 applications for ISHOW.

The finalists endured a full day of rigorous judging as they presented the engineering design attributes of their prototypes and outlined their plans for manufacturing, marketing, and financing.

Descriptions of all eight finalists’ designs are available on the ISHOW’s finalists page.

The 2019 regional grand prize-winning designs tackled the challenges of drinking water safety, chicken egg incubation, and fish farming for underserved populations. The designs incorporate clean energy and sustainable materials, while maintaining affordability for end-use customers. The winners are:

Not-for-profit Caminos de Agua of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, for “Aguadapt” – a low-cost, family-sized water filtration system that removes organic chemicals and 99.9999% of pathogens, and can be quickly installed in all common containers to provide safe drinking water for at least three years;

Kukua Labs of San Francisco, Calif., U.S., for “Kukua” – an affordable, at-home chicken egg incubator that reduces volatility for the roughly 70% of families in Tanzania who raise chickens for supplemental income and nutrition. The energy-efficient appliance uses low wattage, making it compatible with local residential solar power systems while helping to offset system cost;

Second time finalist WETech of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for “WERLWind” – a wind-powered pond aeration system to help the more than 20 million fish farmers in the Asia-Pacific region who rely on small-scale aquaculture for food security and income, but whose yields are less than industrial ponds due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Based on feedback from last year’s ISHOW USA judges, the team made improvements to its manufacturing and business plans to secure a comeback win.

Picture 1:, Ahmed Mahmoud, at left, and Kamran Mahmudov at right, (WETech) receive ASME ISHOW 3D-printed trophy from Bob Hauck, center (ASME Engineering for Global Development committee chair).
Picture 2: Ahmed Mahmoud and Kamran Mahmudov (WETech) discuss their innovation with ISHOW judges and facilitators. 

ASME’s panel of judges includes a group of successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, and founders of venture-funded startup companies including ATA Engineering, Catapult Design, Stanford University, and Very. The panel was most impressed by the winners’ design innovations and their abilities to scale their products to market.

“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.”

In addition to the three grand prize winners, Noble Thermodynamic Systems, Inc.’s “Argon Power Cycle” was declared “fan favorite” and awarded a $1,000 (USD) cash prize for receiving the most votes cast via social media. Their innovation is a zero emission, flexible, and efficient power generation system that retrofits onto currently operating internal combustion engines while increasing their efficiency up to 10% and capturing 100% of the generated carbon dioxide. The fan favorite prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., P.E., Professor Emeritus of Queensborough Community College of The City University of New York and Ruth L. Schieber. 

“ASME congratulates and thanks all ISHOW winners and finalists for serving as catalysts of progress and social good,” Costabile said. “Through their determination to innovate and disrupt the status quo, they are helping to improve the quality of life for people in need and inspiring others to think about what’s possible.”

ASME is grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW, as the Impact Inventing sponsor. 

For more information about the finalists and the ISHOW, please visit:
Follow the journeys of ISHOW alumni on Medium.

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