Kenyan startups Ecobora Company and Inteco Kenya Ltd have been named as regional winners in the 2020 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW). The competition is held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

They won after eight socially minded teams of inventors from Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt presented their design prototypes in a virtual event held May 19-21. Three inventors from Kenya and Nigeria emerged as regional winners who will share Ksh. 3 million ($30,000) in seed grants and receive technical support to help bring their design innovations to market.

The 2020 ASME ISHOW Kenya winners are:

  1. Ecobora Company (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Solar Cooking Boiler” – The company is equipping rural marginalized schools with its patented solar-powered cook stove that permits around the clock cooking by tapping the sun’s energy and storing it in a repurposed oil tank with waste motor oil as an effective carbon sink tank, eliminating the need for firewood. The stove is affordable and provides heat energy even during rainy seasons. The money saved equips science and computer laboratories to offer quality education to students.
  2. Inteco Kenya Ltd. (Nairobi, Kenya) for its “Ari” sanitary pad dispenser system – Inteco works in the menstrual hygiene ecosystem and focuses on the distribution and supply chain management of donated sanitary pads to adolescent girls in schools. The company secures the value chain by ensuring that sanitary pads are being used by the intended user, and create cheaper systems for accountability and monitoring by installing sanitary pads dispensers in schools, where students can get pads using near field communication (NFC) cards.
  3. MicroFuse Technologies (Lagos, Nigeria) for its “Cipher” technology — a tool that enables its user to diagnose and detect cerebral malarial retinopathy with a smartphone while also capturing other individual patient data. This tool would be of immense help in urban settings and remote areas where it can be a split-second decision to treat a child for malaria or consider other causes of illness that could be life-threatening as well.

In addition to the three grand prize winners, the product with the most votes in social media for each regional event is named the “Fan Favorite,’’ and receives $1,000 (USD). The fan favorite prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., PE, Professor Emeritus QCCNY, and Ruth L. Schieber. The 2020 ISHOW Kenya “Fan Favorite” winner is:

  • Dunamis-Cognitio (Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria) for its “Ina Lite” — a sustainable, affordable, portable, light weight, thermoelectric generator that harnesses heat energy to generate electricity accessible from a USB power port.

Another finalist team was recognized with a special “Research and Development Award” for its diligence in improving on a previous innovation and developing the next generation of hardware:

  • BURN Manufacturing Co. (Ruiru, Kenya) for its “Kuniokoa TURBO Stove” — a forced draft biomass stove that is compatible with Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) solar systems and is even more efficient and cleaner-burning than the company’s innovative Kuniokoa stove. The TURBO decreases time to boil by ~60% , decreases the tending interval by 30%, and can burn wood fuel with up to 27% moisture content (wet basis) as clean as liquified petroleum gas. Once launched, it will be the only production household cookstove in the world that achieves ISO/IWA “Tier 4” performance with agricultural waste briquettes.

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.