October 17, 2016

The best of Siemens Stiftung EPA: A wearable hypothermia monitor, trash-funded healthcare and an irrigation pump

A wearable thermometer for newborns, a medical insurance scheme for trash collectors, a hydro-powered water pump and a stove that burns biomass took the top prizes at Siemens Stiftung’s Empowering People Award this year. But the decision could not have been easy. Deep creativity was apparent among the 23 finalists. As E4C’s President, Noha El-Ghobashy, commented in her address at the award presentation, they have all shown “remarkable perseverance and grit.”

These are the winners and few finalists that caught our attention.

1st Place: BEMPU

Ratul Narain and his BEMPU Hypothermia Alert Bracelet won the first prize of €50,000. The bracelet is a temperature monitor and alarm for low-weight or premature newborns. It is designed to alert hospital staff and parents to hypothermia.

“This device has proven what it can mean not only to the lives of infants but also to the lives of parents,” Hinnerk Hansen, Global Managing Director of Impact Hub, said in a statement about the awards.

The potential market in India includes 1-2 million newborns that enter neonatal intensive care units, and the families of 8 million low-weight newborns born every year in India.

BEMPU has picked up other awards this year, notably winning India’s segment of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Innovation Show 2016.

2nd Place: Garbage Clinical Insurance

Dr. Gamal Albinsaid at Indonesia Medika won the second place prize of €30,000 for a two-part medical insurance and waste management scheme. Garbage Clinical Insurance exchanges healthcare coverage for waste. The program accepts all kinds of trash from Indonesians without medical insurance, then works to derive a profit from the waste. Revenue streams include fertilizer from organic waste, recycled materials and new products made from “upcycled” or repurposed items.

Duncan Onyango at Acumen Fund East Africa called the program “an intelligent combination of waste collection and micro-health insurance, a definite win-win for the patient, the community and the entire world… because when the poor get sick they topple back even further into poverty.”

3rd Place: Barsha Pump

Lennart Budelmann at aQysta won the third place prize of €20,000 for the Barsha Pump, a water wheel irrigation pump. Barsha Pump lifts water using spirals that compress air between water columns, raising the air pressure to push the water.

The prototype is 1.5 meters in diameter, able to lift up to 20 meters vertical head and 2 kilometers inland in flat lands, while reaching up to 40,000 liters of water per day, depending on the flow velocity of the water.

Community Prize: Waste-Fuel Free Combustion (WAFFCO)

A biomass-burning stove for households called Waste-Fuel Free Combustion(WAFFCO) won the Community Prize of €3000 in communications hardware. The clay and metal stove has a simple design that can be manufactured locally. It is cheap to make and free to operate. It burns agricultural and household waste, lending it the potential to chip away at two problems: fuel expense and waste management.

The finalists

The remaining innovations in the field of 23 finalists won €5000 and many are worth taking a look. These are three that stand out. Please see these and the rest of the winners at the Empowering People Award site.

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