At the recently concluded Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(Jkuat) annual tech expo in Kenya, two innovations, Walking Buddy and Safari Wiz were declared winners of the highly contested expo. The event which was themed “Changing lives through innovation” took place from the 23rd-24th of January 2019.  

The Walking Buddy innovation, developed and exhibited by Sackey Freshia is a smart walking stick with the ability to notify visually impaired individuals when they are approaching obstruction. The stick can tell the distance between a user and an obstruction and then inform them using vibrations and audio indications.

“The stick is integrated with Google Maps, enabling the user to navigate to a given location on their own using an audio guide. It also comes with a button that a user can press to immediately contact a person (their emergency contact) in case of anything, and sends their precise location to the contact,” explains Freshia.

Safari Wiz, on the other hand, was jointly developed by Gilbert Waliuba, Benson Thuku, Lang’at Nelson and Jaffred Simiyu. It is a mobile application assembled with GIS, GPS, Maps and real-time alerts to allow road users to send and view alerts on accidents, bad weather conditions, police roadblocks, potholes and other road eventualities in various routes they are likely to use. It would play a very important role in cutting down road accidents and ensuring that fast responses to emergencies.

About 50 project applications were submitted for this year’s tech expo but only 20 were exhibited. The innovations were focused on how people’s lives can be improved through the use of technology. The projects centred on good health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and community, sustainable consumption and production patterns and climate action.

Jkuat tech expo is an annual event organised by Jkuat. It was initiated in 2010 and gives students pursuing various courses a chance to explore their creativity and showcase their innovations in front of a panel of judges and potential investors. This year marked the 9th Tech Expo.

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