The ASME ISHOW (Innovation Showcase) is devoted to facilitating hardware social entrepreneurs, some of whom are engineers, and their inventions on their journey to make tremendous social impacts. This showcase has continuously provided a platform for hardware social entrepreneurs to compete as well as cultivate their products, companies, and ideas. The benefits of the event extend far beyond the monetary prizes. Finalists are exposed to various experts in manufacturing, marketing, and more.
This year, the grand-prize winners of the ISHOW USA were BioLite’s HomeStove, PlenOptika’s QuickSee, and Evaptainer’s EV-8 Cooler. A special award was presented to Project Vive for their Voz Box and Team Sixth Sense was named “Fan Favorite” for their Sensory Feedback for Lower-limb Prosthesis. The ISHOW USA, held June 22nd in Washington D.C. at the District Architecture Center, was the last ISHOW competition of the year, and ten teams competed to be finalists.
The ISHOW USA finalists presented prototypes of their innovations to a panel of judges and advisors that included entrepreneurs, academics and founders of venture-funded startup companies. The three grand-prize winners will not only share in more than $500,000 in cash prizes, but also customized technical support and extensive design and engineering review of their products. Each grand-prize winner met the trend of scaling their hardware to emerging markets.
The first grand-prize winning team, BioLite and their HomeStove, started 11 years ago in 2006. The team set out to design a clean cookstove that would not be dependent on fossil fuels or batteries. By 2009, the team had developed a fully functioning prototype that not only achieved their goal of being the world’s cleanest cookstove, but it was also able to generate electricity while remaining financially viable. Their business model of “Parallel Innovation” retails their product in two distinct markets. First they work in emerging markets for families living in energy poverty. Second, they work in commercial markets for outdoor enthusiasts seeking off-grid energy solutions. These two markets are made to interconnect as the company reinvests the revenues from their outdoor recreation market to build a commercially sustainable emerging markets business.
PlenOptika’s QuickSee team was the second grand-prize winner. The team developed the QuickSee to make eyeglass prescriptions more attainable for billions of people worldwide. The QuickSee is a low-cost handheld device that enables anyone to provide accurate eyeglass prescriptions in 30 seconds. The product replaces the need for eye experts and extensive training in rural and slum areas where access to accurate eye care is limited.
The third grand-prize winner was Evaptainers with their EV-8 Cooler. Similar to the BioLite cookstove, Evaptainers’ EV-8 Cooler is capable of selling to both the commercial and emerging markets. The design of the low-cost mobile refrigerator that runs on water is ideal for low income, off grid families that are unable to afford a conventional refrigerator.
More information about the ASME IShow can be found at: www.thisishardware.org