Agriculture, mining, sanitation innovators win Nairobi ASME competition

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Innovators in the agriculture, mining and sanitation fields have been named winners of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) ISHOW in Nairobi, Kenya, sharing US$50,000 in prize money.

Non-profit ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges, with its ISHOW a global competition for hardware-led social innovation that takes place in Kenya, India and the United States (US).

Nine finalists took part in this year’s Kenyan competition, with three winning teams now set to share US$50,000 in prize money while also receiving engineering and design consultation.

The winning products are Smart Mobile Farming, a solution developed by Taita Ngetich to improve and automate drip irrigation by small-scale farmers, the Banza Waterless Toilet developed by Patrick Kiruki, which separates urine and solid waste using disposable, biodegradable bags, and Lawrence Ojok’s Green Rock Drill, a drill powered by a bicycle generator or a solar-charged battery.

“These products demonstrate the potential of technical entrepreneurs to make a social impact. The ISHOW competitors display the creativity and ingenuity of tomorrow’s engineering problem-solvers and business leaders,” said Julio C. Guerrero, president of ASME.

During the competition, the contestants showed prototypes and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges that included successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, business mentors, industry representatives, product designers and engineers.

“ASME congratulates all the finalists,” said Guerrero. “They are making a difference in a world increasingly reaching out for new ideas and innovations to solve problems and improve the lives of all people.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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