Winners of Three Innovation Showcases Selected
Nine hardware entrepreneurs were selected as the winners of the 2015 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), a global competition with events in India, Kenya and the United States. This year marked the first time that the program, which highlights hardware-led social innovations that improve the quality of life in communities around the world, was presented outside of the United States.
Ten finalists faced off at each of the competitions, where they pitched and demonstrated their products in front of a panel of experts. In addition to winning a share of $150,000 in cash prizes, each of the nine winners also received an extensive design and engineering review from a team of industry experts.
Akash Agarwal, Syauqy Aziz and Rajeev Kumar were selected as the winners of the inaugural ISHOW in India. The event, which was held in partnership with Villgro Innovations, took place April 20 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pune, in conjunction with the ASME Additive Manufacturing+3D Printing Conference.
Agarwal, founder of New Leaf Technologies, won for his company’s GreenCHILL off-grid refrigeration system, which uses renewable energy sources like biogas, waste heat, dry cow manure and other farm waste for cooling milk, fruit and vegetables before they are transported to market. Aziz’s winning entry, BlumbangReksa, enables farmers to monitor the water condition of shrimp embankments and ponds and to access data including dissolved oxygen, temperature, humidity, pH, salinity, total dissolved solid and other parameters, in real time via text and the Internet. Kumar, co-founder of Neurosynaptic, was recognized for his company’s ReMeDi (Remote Medical Diagnostics) solution, a robotic system that has been designed to conduct medical tele-examination of patients from remote locations. The product has made healthcare accessible to 45 million people in 30 of India’s poorest districts.
The three winning innovations at the U.S. ISHOW, held May 14 the District Architect Center in Washington, D.C., promised novel healthcare and energy breakthroughs. Lou Auguste was named as one of the winners for his product, Mobile Whole Slide Imaging (mWSI), a low-cost diagnostic system that uses two linear motors, a microscope and a smart phone to transmit digital images of slides to pathologists throughout the world. Kamila Demkova was recognized for Wave Carpet, a patented, flexible carpet that is capable of harvesting the power of ocean waves to generate electricity or produce fresh water. Malvi Hemani was selected as the event’s third winner for TocoTrack, a low-cost tocodynamometer, or external contraction monitor, which automates the monitoring of uterine contractions for midwives. In addition, this year’s “Dr. Abdi Zaltash Champion Award,” recognizing a new technology that shows great promise, was awarded to Jordan Garrity for the Practical Utility Platform (PUP). The award was established in memory of longtime ASME member Dr. Zaltash’s commitment to ASME and support of young engineering innovators.
Brian Bosire, Henri Nyakarundi and Emily Woods were the three winners of the inaugural ISHOW in Kenya, held in partnership with the Gearbox maker space on June 24 at the Best Western Hotel in Nairobi. Bosire was recognized for his entry, UjuziKilimo, an electronic device that works with mobile phones to help rural farmers measure soil characteristics and relay that information by text to an analysis center, which then responds with information regarding crop breed, fertilizer required, pest control, and other farm management tools. Nyakarundi’s innovation, the Mobile Solar Kiosk (MSK), is a durable, portable solar-powered kiosk that can be used to charge up to 30 mobile phones or small devices at a time in both rural and urban areas. Emily Woods was named the event’s third winner for her entry, Sanivation, a complete sanitation service that offers in-home toilets for families in poor urban areas and converts the waste collected from the units into charcoal briquettes that can be used for fuel.
In addition to increasing the number of competitions, the ISHOW program, which launched in 2007, also began focusing more exclusively on hardware-led innovations this year. “There are unique challenges facing social entrepreneurs with hardware-based ventures,” said Noha El-Ghobashy, ASME managing director, Global Development. “Investors tend to shy away from hardware because of the complexities associated with supply chains, with manufacturing, and with getting physical products to end users, especially in the developing world. This takes an ecosystems, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the ISHOW. We’re trying to raise awareness and build that ecosystem.”
Funding for the prizes awarded at the three ASME ISHOWs was provided by the ASME Foundation. In addition, The Lemelson Foundation, the ISHOW Impact Inventing Sponsor, provided funding to allow ISHOW organizers to host Demo Days and create video case studies of the competitors.
For more information on the ASME ISHOWs in India, Kenya and the United States, and to learn more about the nine winning innovations, visit www.thisishardware.org/.