Varsity Student Nominated in Social Impact Innovation Competition
Nine Kenyans have been selected for an award to celebrate hardware based innovations designed to have social impact, in a bid to appreciate the place of innovation in transforming lives.
The global contest by the ASME Innovation showcase (ISHOW) recognises hardware led ventures and targets individuals and organisations taking physical products to market to realize social impact.
Anthony Muthungu, a Computer Science student at Zetech University is currently leading the pack of Kenyan finalists in the social voting segment that ends 9th May, with his Artificial Intelligent Blind stick innovation designed to assist the visually impaired in their day to day activities. The award session will take place on 10th May at the Royal Orchid Azure in Nairobi.
Commenting on the AI design, Muthungu shared that the Blind Stick is a smart electronic walking stick designed to assist the blind. He said, “It allows users to navigate paths without hindrance through communication via earphones and a vibrating grip on the cane, to alert them on obstacles ahead. The piece is crafted to significantly ease the users’ experience.”
Lauding his idea, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research and Extension Dr. Alice Njuguna highlighted the critical role of innovation in transforming lives in Kenya and beyond.
“We are proud of Muthungu for crafting a winning concept that we believe will better the lives of thousands of visually impaired persons in the country and beyond. We continue to challenge and create an environment for students to research and create innovations that solve problems in the world.” Dr. Njuguna noted.
She further noted that the varsity’s ICT department continues to invest in outings that ensure IT students take part in innovation events across the country. “Our trainees are coming up with great solutions; recently a team of students excelled in the Nairobi Innovation week and hackathons held in different parts of Nairobi.” She added.
The other eight Kenyan competitors have designed innovations in the areas of health, agriculture and energy in a bid to enhance lives by using hardware projects to achieve social impact.
The annual competition will see participants receive feedback on their ideas, take home a cash prize access to industry best practice and contact with a global community of experts.
The “hardware led social innovation” focuses specifically on the design and engineering journey of ventures and covers eight themes including: water & sanitation, energy, environment, food & agriculture, economic development & community empowerment, safety and education.
Visit https://thisishardware.org/competition/2018/social_voting/kenya for more details.