Four South Africans are among 10 finalists up for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) award for 2015, including an environmentally-friendly minicab.
The IPA, first launched in 2011, is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) and mobilizes African innovators to invest in African-led solutions to ensure a sustainable, prosperous Africa.
Three winners will be chosen on 13 May, sharing a US$150,000 cash prize (R1.8 million), with the most outstanding innovation receiving US$100,000, and two prizes of US$25,000 for innovation with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.
The AIF said it received a record 925 applications from 41 countries for its awards, surpassing the previous year’s entry record of 903.
The four South African nominees for IPA 2015 are:
- David Gluckman: Lumkani fire detection.
An off-the-shelf fire detection device and alert service that uses radio frequency (RF) transmission technology suitable for informal dwellings. In the event of a fire, the device triggers an alarm to alert the family.
Within 20 seconds, the device transmits a signal that sets off heat detectors in a 60 meter radius to elicit a community-wide response to the fire. This device prevents fires from ravaging high population density communities and boosting community mobilization efforts.
- Johann Pierre Kok: Scientific engineering educational box: ‘Seebox’.
A scientific engineering educational box that allows children to enjoy a practical and experimental way of learning the sciences and electronics, and measuring almost anything electronic or scientific. ‘Seebox’ also offers short videos explaining what is being measured.
This tool addresses the shortage of electronic and scientific professionals, and affords children the opportunity to learn first-hand the principles of science and electronics by building, measuring and experimenting.
- Lesley Erica Scott: Smartspot TBcheck
Smartspot’s flagship product, TBcheck examines the accuracy of machines used to detect TB diagnosis. They are designed to assess whether these machines are functioning optimally. Unlike other products, TBcheck is easy and safe to use and can be delivered to laboratories safely and economically.
This will make diagnosing TB far easier and might go a long way in curbing the TB epidemic in Africa. Today TB is second only to HIV and AIDS as a leading cause of death in the continent.
- Neil Du Preez: Mellowcabs
This is a suite of technologies that includes recovering the kinetic energy that is typically lost in the braking process, converting it into electricity and storing it.
Other associated innovations include hydrogen fueled Mellowcabs, adaptable, renewable body shells and an app to book cab rides that can be paid for with cash or credit.
Its user-friendly services include tracking the cab’s location, Wi-Fi access and mobile charging during the ride. The minicab service fills the gap for commuters who need organized, safe and affordable micro transport within a three mile radius.
This environmentally-friendly taxi service also eases traffic congestion in cities without causing pollution.
The remaining nominees for IPA 2015 are:
- Adnane Remmal, Morocco: A patented alternative to livestock antibiotics.
- Alex Mwaura Muriu, Kenya: Farm Capital Africa is a well developed risk sharing agri-business funding model that draws in investors for a share of farming profits.
- Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo, Burundi: New type of cement “OSP” that protects waters against carcinogenic lubrication oil spills.
- Kyai Mullei, Kenya: M-changa, also known as E-harambee. A mobile application that empowers individuals and organizations to initiate and manage fundraisers via sms or web devices in an efficient and cost effective way.
- Marc Arthur Zang, Cameroon: The cardio-pad. An affordable tablet that records and processes the patient’s ECG (heart signal) before transferring it to a remote station using mobile phone networks.
- Samuel O. Otukol, Uganda: Water distillation system and process (dsp). This innovation proposes an alternative source of viable drinkable water in areas of water shortage or where only sea water is available.
Source: Business Tech
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