, (KEN MACHARIA) JKUAT students were at their element during this year’s JKUAT Tech expo held at the Juja main campus. The expo showcased the best of their technical innovations and inventions.
This year’s expo has been bigger, as the organizers – a student group known as Linux User group – have pulled in more sponsors and partners. The tech event was started last year as a way of providing a platform for tech students to show different projects they have been working on, in class and in the halls of hostels.
“The event is entirely a student affair. We plan and source for sponsors on our own,” says Calvin Kebati of Linux User Group and an IT student at JKUAT.
The Group also pre-selects projects to participate in the tech expo. This year, 60 teams submitted their projects for a chance to be at the expo.
“We narrowed down to 23 teams because the rest did not fit into the criteria we used,” explains Calvin.“We looked at the projects that were in line with our theme, is viable and easily scalable to be implemented even in rural areas”
The number of categories has also increased from last year. Engineering & Arch., Mass Comm, and Agriculture have been added to Software engineering and embedding. In spite of the limited resources, students displayed their projects at the expo venue with the hope of attracting commercial interest to develop their prototypes.
Paul Mwaniki is one of the few that took his home-security innovation project from a concept to a commercial venture, after he exhibited during the inaugural tech expo last year.
Mwaniki, who is a telecoms and information engineering graduate, says he struggled to produce the first prototype.
“I had to sell shares I had bought when I was in first year so that I could order the parts from Japan,” says Mwaniki.
He adds that there is more to a groundbreaking innovation than the idea. “There are other important factors like marketing, packaging, production that you have to think about.”
That’s why the organizers required teams to have members with different skills. “There are students who have marketing skills while others are gifted on the technical side,” said Calvin.
Guest of honor, Information and Communication PS, Bitange Ndemo, said ICT will be the main driver of solving social issues.
“The digital economy is growing fast and its being driven by the youth,” said Dr. Ndemo “Students should create employment for themselves.”
Among some of the innovations that are on display include; a mobile air ticketing and sms system, virtual e-learning software, a transparency electronic voting system, and a local Shazam application called ‘jua wimbo’ that identifies a song and artist using a cell phone.