April 7, 2023

Three Startups Developing Agriculture, Water and Sanitation Solutions Win ASME ISHOW India

A manhole monitor, upgraded grow lights and a natural water purifier won the top places in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) in India, held April 1-2.  The three teams had competed among a field of eight product designers and social entrepreneurs that were finalists in the competition. The winners will share (USD) $30,000 in seed grants and receive technical support to help bring their products to market.

ISHOW is ASME’s international accelerator of social innovation that focuses exclusively on “hardware,” defined as tangible technologies, as opposed to apps and other software. Each year ISHOW judges teams of social innovators in three regional competitions based in India, Kenya and the United States.

 The 2023 ASME ISHOW India winners

Nimble Vision Pvt. Ltd. (Bengaluru, India) for its “Ni-The Smart Manhole Monitor” – an IoT solution that monitors each manhole across a city, providing live status with sewage level, plus analytics on sewage flow for an entire day with geo location, quality, and warnings on possible overflow

Thermistance (Pune, India) for its “Passive cooled high-power LED” technology – a solution for horticulture applications that is light weight, energy efficient, sustainable, long lasting, and affordable

Watsan Envirotech Pvt. Ltd. (Chennai, India) for its “Watsan Natural Water Purifiers” innovation – designed to provide affordable, zero-electricity, zero-waste natural water purifiers.

Fan favorite

In addition to the three grand prize winners, the product with the most votes in social media for each regional ISHOW event is named the “Fan Favorite,” and receives (USD) $1,000. This prize is made possible and in memory of Byron G. Schieber Jr. M.S., PE, Professor Emeritus QCCNY, and Ruth L. Schieber. The 2022 ISHOW USA “Fan Favorite” winner is Illuminar Ventures Pvt. Ltd. (Nagpur, India) for its “Smart Retrofitting Kit” – an affordable kit that converts any existing motorcycle variant below 200cc to electric with new electric mobility features and the ability to travel up to 150km at Rs. 0.15 ($0.0018) per km on a single charge with zero emissions.

Innovation Weekend India

The ISHOW awards ceremony capped off ASME Innovation Weekend India held April 1-2 at PES University in Bengaluru. The event merged ISHOW with the Mechanical Engineering Education (MEEd) Summit, EFx student festival programs, and our own delegation from Engineering for Change. It was a unique opportunity to engage with India’s academic, entrepreneur, and student engineering communities. We heard a keynote address by Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization, and remarks from ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile and ASME Chief Strategy Officer Michael Johnson.

“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” Mr. Costabile says. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants, their focus on sustainable solutions, and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world.”

Coming soon: ISHOW Kenya and ISHOW USA

ISHOW Kenya is up next, online in June. Then ISHOW USA will be held in July.

Each year, ISHOW matches 24 innovators with appropriate experts to ensure that the proposed hardware solutions are technologically, environmentally, culturally, and financially sustainable. This year’s ISHOW India judges and facilitators include experts in research, mechanical engineering and product design, manufacturing, startup financing, supply chain, and business strategy, representing organizations including Stanley Black & Decker, Boeing, Sangam Ventures and more. These experts provide technical and strategic guidance based on ISHOW’s five pillars: customer/user knowledge, hardware validation, manufacturing optimization, implementation strategy, and sustainability/impact.

ISHOW’s global reach

ISHOW is open to individuals and organizations taking physical products to market that will have a positive social or environmental impact and that improve the quality of life around the world. To date, ISHOW has enabled more than 200 startups from more than 30 countries to solve quality-of-life challenges in vulnerable communities worldwide. ISHOW alumni have developed affordable devices to address issues including clean combustion, crop threshing, fetal health, food waste prevention, health diagnostics, safe drinking water, and many more that address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

ISHOW’s supporters include The Lemelson Foundation and implementation partners around the globe. Learn more about ISHOW’s global impact in this dynamic dashboard.

Hear from the ISHOW 2022 cohort about their experiences. Follow the journeys of ISHOW alumni including PayGo Energy, PlenOptika, Himalayan Rocket Stove, SAYeTECH and others here.

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a press release by ASME ISHOW. Learn more about ISHOW and read their news announcements at thisishardware.org/press.

Comments from the Community


  1. GITHIKA2000 says:

    This Ishow condition of only pitching a finished prototype locks out many innovative ideas from Global South. Lack of awareness & lack of facilities with dedicated capacity to handle S,D,G challenge or how an idea can be actualized all kill the ideas to obscurity. Example i have a DAC idea at scale, mobile plasma fired medical waste or otherwise incinerator which does not need grid power tethering, how to retrofit E.V. car to be self charging as it cruises, electrifying diesel dumper trucks & other mining equipment by just retrofitting etc But since i have no capacity to have their feasibility audited they just gather dust on the drawing board. Kindly consider this niche of obscure grassroots innovators.

  2. Rob Goodier says:

    You’re right, and now there’s a program to help develop good ideas. ASME has a new incubator for ideas that haven’t progressed enough to be eligible for ISHOW. It’s called IDEA Lab. Here’s the webpage on it: https://thisishardware.org/ideas.

    From their site: Now, we move upstream with the Idea Lab incubator to aid budding social entrepreneurs in developing and building on their own impactful ideas, filling the pipeline for future ISHOW accelerator innovators, while opening pathways to new partnerships and geographies.

    Timeline: Candidates invited into Idea Lab will engage in 6-18 months of incubation, mentorship, and training depending on their technical background, stage of development, and needs moving forward. Applications are open April 22 – June 6, 2022. Selected candidates will be announced in July/August 2022 timeframe.

    Benefits: Idea Lab is designed to help you navigate the challenges of product design/development and provide mentorship, tools, and guidance you will need to build a first iteration prototype. Candidates will have access to a tailored curriculum that will expose you to the principles of sustainable and human-centered design practices.

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