Social Innovations Recognized at 2016

July 8, 2016

At the 2016 ISHOW–USA: (Back row, left to right) Jessica Menold of Amparo; Keri Waters from Calliope Water Works; Kenneth W. Turner, program officer at the Lemelson Foundation; Michael Hahn from Paygo Energy; and Paige Rodgers, head of communications and partnerships at the Autodesk Foundation. (Front row, left to right) Paul Scott, director, Engineering for Global Development, ASME; Fausto Marcigot of Paygo Energy; ASME Past President Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb; and Nick Quintong of Paygo Energy.

The creators of three products focused on social impact — a pay-as-you-go system for purchasing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a system for monitoring household water usage, and a bioengineered prosthetic socket — were selected as the winners of the ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) in Washington, D.C. The event, which was held June 16 at District Architecture Center, was the last in a series of three ISHOWs the Society presented over the past two months.

Ten teams of socially conscious entrepreneurs took part in the competition, which offers creators of hardware-led social innovations for improving the quality of life with the opportunity to present their prototypes and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The three winning teams at the ISHOW–USA shared $50,000 in prizes and received an extensive design and engineering review of their products by a team of industry experts.

(Left to right) Kenneth W. Turner of the Lemelson Foundation with ISHOW–USA winners Fausto Marcigot, co-founder, Paygo Energy; Nick Quintong, CEO, Paygo Energy; Michael Hahn, CTO, Paygo Energy; and Paul Scott, director, ASME Engineering for Global Development.

One of the three winning entries, the PayGo Smart Meter, is a system that enables households to purchase small quantities of gas for cooking using mobile money. The team believes the meter will provide significant health benefits since it will help people with limited resources avoid kerosene and charcoal, which are significant sources of indoor pollution. PayGo was represented at ISHOW-USA by co-founder Fausto Marcigot, Nick Quintong, chief executive officer, and Michael Hahn, chief technical officer.

The second winning entry, Buoy, was developed by Calliope Water Works Inc., which is based in Santa Cruz, Calif. The system, which monitors household water usage and detects water leaks, employs sophisticated algorithms to monitor water use by specific household systems without relying on remote sensors. Keri Waters, chief executive officer and co-founder of Calliope Water Works, represented the company at the competition.

(Left to right) Paul Scott from ASME Engineering for Global Development with ISHOW–USA winner Keri Waters, chief engineer at Calliope Water Works, and Paige Rodgers of the Autodesk Foundation.

Amparo, the third winning product at ISHOW-USA, is a bioengineered prosthetic socket that can be fitted in two hours. The inexpensive socket, which was named after the Portuguese word for “support,” is constructed of an easily molded material that allows the socket to be reshaped when necessary. Amparo was represented at the competition by engineer and designer Jessica Menold, who is working toward a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.

Menold said her team would use its share of the cash prize to begin rigorous testing and validation of the socket, which she expects will begin clinical trials in Brazil within the next three months. As pleased as she was for the additional funding, Menold was also looking forward to the expert guidance she would receive as one of the ISHOW winners.

(Left to right) ASME Past President Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb with ISHOW–USA winner Jessica Menold, engineer and designer, Amparo, and Paul Scott from ASME Engineering for Global Development.

“For us, winning the ISHOW means that we are able to work with a whole variety of experts from ASME in terms of manufacturing and production to really get our product in a place that it’s ready to be mass manufactured,” Menold said. “So the money is great, but we’re really looking forward to the 20 hours of design time we get with Catapult and to all of the expert feedback we get in the design and engineering review sessions. I’m sure they’re going to rip us apart and they’re super critical, but we’re really looking forward to it. I think just getting the opportunity to work with experts in these fields is going to be so useful and invaluable for Amparo moving forward.”

Calliope Water Work’s Keri Waters was also grateful for the assistance ASME and the ISHOW would provide in her efforts to bring Buoy to market. “This is huge validation from a really serious engineering group, which is just a huge honor on its own,” Waters said. “It’s coming at a really timely point because we’re going from having a prototype to having to manufacture hundreds of units. And we’re really struggling with how difficult that is. So the design and engineering support — figuring out how to cost reduce our enclosure and deal with some very tactical concerns as we go to market — is really a big help.”

For information on the other ISHOW–USA finalists, or to learn more about the ISHOW program, visit