The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the world’s largest organization for mechanical engineering, has announced eight regional finalists for the 2018 ASME Innovation Showcase, the first international competition to recognize and reward hardware-led social innovation.

The eight finalists include four from Kenya, three from Uganda and one from Zambia. They will present their innovative design prototypes in Nairobi on 10 May 2018. The will showcase prototypes for clean fuel, safe drinking water, infectious disease mitigation and neonatal meningitis diagnosis, among others.

Africa will be the second region where finalists selected from over 150 entries worldwide will compete. A panel of esteemed experts recently announced winners in South Asia and is currently evaluating design submissions from the United States.

Below are the eight finalists who will present their prototypes on May 10 at the Royal Orchid Azure Hotel Nairobi, Lantana Road, Westlands in Nairobi where three regional Grand Prize winners will also be announced. The eight winners are:

Ishmael Hezekiah, Nairobi, Kenya who has developed Bentos Fuels an innovative recycling process using harvested water hyacinth, an invasive plant species, and mixing it with paper sludge and charred waste biomass. This process results in a unique resin, which is used to produce smokeless charcoal briquettes that are efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly.

Samuel Castro, Kenya/Netherlands – Biogas Milk Chiller by SimGas enables off-grid dairy farmers to store, deliver, and sell the highest possible quantity of milk. Milk is kept cool overnight until it is delivered and sold the next day. This decreases milk spoilage and increases income potential for dairy farmers.

Anastasia Kaschenko, Kenya – Majik Water is creating a new source of affordable, safe, and accessible drinking water to people in arid parts of the world. It uses cutting-edge technology combined with locally-adapted design to harvest water from the atmosphere and deliver it to communities that need it most.

George Chege, Kenya) – Smart Brooder is an environmental controller that assists farmers by ensuring the conditions within the chicken brooding space are kept within optimal levels. It reduces reliance on charcoal as a source of heat by using infrared bulbs, which are highly efficient and have minimal impact on the environment.

Julius Mugaga, UgandaLumenda is an affordable and portable device for rapid and accurate diagnosis of neonatal bacterial meningitis in low-resource settings. It is designed to save the lives of thousands of neonates each year who are not treated properly due to the high cost of diagnosis.

Manon Lavaud, UgandaMusana Cart provides the tools and support to street vendors to achieve a clean, sustainable, and dependable work environment. A solar panel is incorporated in the canopy of the cart to provide vendors with light after sundown. It also replaces charcoal for cooking with a more efficient, eco-friendly alternative fuel.

Grace Nakibaala, Uganda – PedalTap is a no-touch, cost-effective, water-dispensing system actuated by a foot-pedal. It can be connected to any tap system and is designed to reduce the spread and frequency of infectious diseases in public spaces.

Austin Ng’andu, ZambiaVegetation Chopping Machine chops maize stalks, twigs and grass for longer-term storage of livestock feed. It helps provide feed during the dry season when there is little or no pasture and improves the living standards of small-scale farmers and the livestock on which they depend.

ASME received over 150 submissions vying for the $500,000 in cash and in-kind prizes that the organization is offering to help bring these socially innovative hardware-led solutions to market.

“ASME originally created ISHOW after our research showed an urgent need to support hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact,” said Charla K. Wise, president of ASME. “We believe this year’s entries all have the potential to address some of the most vexing issues faced by humankind.”

The 2018 ASME ISHOW will feature a range of devices that promise to make a transformational economic, environmental, and social impact in underserved communities around the world. During the competition, the finalists will pitch their product prototypes to a panel of judges that include successful entrepreneurs, academics, and founders of venture-funded startup companies.

The pitches will outline the engineering design attributes of the prototypel2s and also include a discussion of plans for manufacturing, implementation, marketing, and financing.

The winners selected in Nairobi and two other ISHOW events in Bengaluru, India (April 5), and Washington, D.C. (June 21), will share $500,000 in seed grants, technical assistance, design and engineering reviews and access to ISHOW’s partnership network.

“ASME congratulates all finalists and we celebrate their new ideas and innovations, which are pushing our collective knowledge frontier outward and solving problems to improve the lives of all people.” (Contacts: wetzeld@asme.org)

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