A more affordable, effective cervical cancer screening device, a digital platform to help farmers plan and distribute crops, a new way to secure banking through facial recognition, and a tool that monitors the condition of solar PV installations;
These are the four innovations selected as finalists for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
The finalists were selected from a shortlist of 15 African innovators effecting positive change in their communities, who have all received eight months of training and support through the Africa Prize.
All four finalists have developed innovative ways to solve global problems, and are developing their ideas into strong businesses that can benefit entire communities.
To date, the 86 Africa Prize alumni businesses have raised more than 14 million USD in grants and equity and created more than 1500 new jobs, with over 50% of these going to women and a significant proportion to disabled people and youth.
This year’s finalists hail from Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria:
In Uganda, Remot is helping Ugandan schools, businesses and solar companies manage off-grid power systems more effectively. Created by David Tusubira and his colleagues, the system provides more than just data about energy use.
Remot examines the system itself for inefficiencies and potential problems, monitoring the condition and performance of solar PV installations.
Manufactured on site at their offices in Kampala, the hardware device nicknamed ‘Davix’, after its co-founder, is running in nearly 500 schools, 11 solar maize mills, and solar water pumps on office blocks in the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Also from Uganda, Dr William
Wasswa’s PapsAI speeds up cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and patient record management, making it more affordable and reliable. While digital microscopes are most effective for screening for cervical cancer, they are expensive and are rarely used in low-income countries.
PapsAI’s digital microscope slide scanner quickly scans high-resolution cervical cell images from pap smears.
Dr Wasswa also developed an analytical tool for diagnosis and classification of images, and the software assesses the likelihood of a patient contracting cervical cancer given their risk factors. A separate system manages and archives patient records using artificial intelligence.
Dr Wasswa has used the COVID-19 lockdown to assess workflow at the hospital where PapsAI is being trialled, and has hired four full-time staff.
The 2020 finalists will pitch their innovations to a panel of judges and a live online audience on 3 September 2020.
The winner will be announced at the virtual event, and will receive £25,000, with £10,000 awarded to each of the runners-up.