South Africans dominate list of Innovation Prize for Africa finalists

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The 10 finalists for the African Innovation Foundation’s Innovation Prize for Africa awards have been announced and among them are four South Africans, including David Gluckman, co-creator of the Lumkani fire detector.

The Innovation Prize for Africa Award has been recognising African innovators who are tackling problems in their communities in sectors such as health, technology, safety, agriculture and more, since 2011.

Finalists compete for a $150 000 grand prize that will go towards growing and expanding their projects to more citizens who can benefit from them. A second place finalist will receive $100 000 and two prizes of $25 000 each will be rewarded to two finalists for innovation with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.

A record number of 925 applications came in from 41 countries this year.

These are the finalists representing South Africa:

  • 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. It’s user-friendly services include tracking the cab’s location, WiFi 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 Innovation Prize for Africa Award ceremonies take place in Skhirat, Morocco from 12th to 13th May in partnership with Morocco’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy.

You can read more on the other six finalists from Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon and Burundi on the AIF website.

[Source and image – African Innovation Foundation]

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