Three startups emerged as winners of the Indian segment of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase (ASME ISHOW) this week in an event set against the emotional backdrop of the country’s soaring coronavirus infections. Judges selected the winners from a field of eight finalists, one of which contended with the impact of COVID-19 and could not attend.
The winners are Life and Limb Ltd., based in Delhi, India, for “Bionicli,” a low-cost, functional prosthetic hand with six grip patterns; Offgrid Energy Labs in Kanpur, India, who are developing the “ZincGel® Battery,” an efficient and sustainable battery with longer life than current lithium-ion technology, ideal for stationary and low-powered mobile applications; and PadCare Labs in Pune, India, for their “PadCare Sanitary Napkin Disposal and Recycling System” that, in the parlance of the “circular economy,” completes the loop of menstrual hygiene by turning soiled pads into environmentally safe, recyclable material.
The teams will share (USD) $30,000 in seed grants and receive technical support to help bring their prototypes to market. In addition, PadCare Labs also won the “Fan Favorite,’’ prize of (USD) $1000, an online election that represents the people’s choice.
The awards ceremony celebrated the startups’ work in developing their prototypes and business models for distributing their technology, but speeches also reflected the reality in India of the ongoing coronavirus surge.
“Social enterprises, now more than ever, need the support of the global impact community. Our hearts go out to those ISHOW India participants and their families who have been impacted personally by the current surge of the pandemic in their country,” says Iana Aranda, director of ASME’s Engineering Global Development sector that houses ISHOW. “Social entrepreneurs across the world, including many ISHOW ventures, are on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are fiercely focused on providing these innovators with accessible platforms for capacity building, expert engagement and co-design of scaling strategies suited for the new normal. Ensuring their success through this global crisis is of paramount importance.”
Disclosing our interests, Ms. Aranda is also President of Engineering for Change, and ASME is our parent organization.
For more on ISHOW India’s 2021 finalists please see the ASME ISHOW website. Virtual ISHOWs will be held for finalists from Africa (ISHOW Kenya), June 1-3, and for the Americas (ISHOW USA), July 13-15.
To date, ISHOW has enabled more than 160 startups from more than 28 countries to solve critical quality-of-life challenges for people in underserved communities. ISHOW alumni have developed affordable devices to address issues including clean combustion, crop threshing, fetal health, food waste prevention, grain moisture, health diagnostics, safe drinking water, and many more that address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
ASME ISHOW annually matches up to 30 carefully selected innovators with curated industry experts to ensure that the proposed hardware solutions are technologically, environmentally, culturally, and financially sustainable. ASME’s panel of judges and experts includes successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, designers, investors, and industry representatives from leading organizations in India, Kenya, and the United States. These subject matter experts provide technical and strategic guidance based on ISHOW’s four key pillars: customer/user knowledge, hardware validation, manufacturing optimization, and implementation strategy.
“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director and CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”
Information in this report is based on a press release by ASME.