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Meet the eight startups chosen for the Nairobi finals of the 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase

Featured image: ASME IShow via Twitter

Eight startups from across the continent will convene tomorrow (9 May) in Nairobi to compete in the regional finals of the 2019 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Innovation Showcase (ISHOW).

ASME ISHOW is a global competition for hardware-led social innovation.

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At the regional finals, three grand prize winners will be selected for a share of $30 000, in-kind technical support and a ticket to the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York.

ASME ISHOW is a global competition for hardware-led social innovation

The eight finalists hail from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. They are:

BreastIT (Kampala, Uganda) is a portable, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered diagnostic tool for breast anomalies such as cancer. The handheld, pocket-sized ultrasound imaging system helps radiologists to make focused assessments and accelerate treatment decisions at the point of care.

E Tuk Tuk Solar E Cycle (Nairobi, Kenya) designs and builds solar-powered electric vehicles including the Solar E Cycle, a solar powered tuk tuks (three-wheeled motorised vehicles) with a range of 50km and capable of reaching speed of up to 35km/h. The Solar E Cycle produces 3kWh per day which is enough to light a typical Kenyan home.

HearX Group’s hearScope (Pretoria, South Africa) is a first-of-its-kind smartphone video-otoscope with integrated, automated ear disease diagnostic capability. The high-quality variable magnification video-otoscope pen connects to a smartphone running the hearScope application. Users are able to easily take images or videos of a person’s eardrum. The recorded media is then uploaded into the mHealth Studio Cloud data management system for automated diagnosis.

Safi Organics (Naivasha, Kenya) develops cheaper locally produced higher-quality fertilisers which are custom-tailored to local soil and crop requirements. The company claims it helps farmers improve yields by about 30% and net income by about 50%.

Savanna Circuit Tech’s MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller (Kapenguria, Kenya) is a mobile solar-powered chilling in-transit system that can be mounted on motorbikes, offering quality control, traceability, and maximised profits for dairy producers and co-operatives. The solution was developed in response to milk post-harvest losses due to transportation over great distances in rural Kenya.

SayeTech Multi-crop Thresher (Kumasi, Ghana) produces multi-crop threshers that help reduce grain waste. The company claims its multi-crop thresher can reduce post-harvest losses by up to 30%,  while also increasing income of smallholder farmers by up to 50% every year.

Sesi Technologies’ GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter (Kumasi, Ghana) is a low-cost grain moisture tester that helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easier to accurately measure grain moisture content before storage. At $100, the GrainMate is more than four times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters and Sesi Technologies claims it offers superior accuracy.

Solar Freeze (Machakos, Kenya) provides access to portable solar-powered cold storage for farmers of perishable agricultural produce — like fish, fruits, and vegetables — to help them reduce the significant challenge of post-harvest food loss in Kenya.

Three winners to be selected

The eight will display and pitch their design prototypes to a panel of judges who will select three winners.

Judges include Gearbox executive director Kamau Gachigi, Villgro Kenya co-founder and CEO Robert Karanja, Toyota Kenya Hino Division product development engineer Tom Odoyo, as well as GlobalX Investments and Innovation Labs founder and CEO Slyvia Mukasa.

In a statement on Tuesday (7 May), ASME CEO and executive director Tom Costabile said the 2019 entrants are among the most promising that the organisation has seen since ISHOW went international in 2015.

“We are confident the finalists all have the potential to address some of the most vexing issues faced by communities in need,” he added.

Public voting for the eight finalists will close on Thursday (9 May) .The product with the most votes will be named the Fan Favourite, with the finalist receiving a $1000 prize.

Those looking to vote can do so here. At the time of publication, Sesi Techonologies’ Grainmate led with 890 votes, while SayeTech’s Multicrop Thresher was in second place with 549 votes.

Featured image: ASME IShow via Twitter

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