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Fourth Annual Malawi Innovators Design Competition Winners

Student Teams from Multiple Disciplines Participate in the 2022 Competition

Five first-place winners were announced at the Fourth Annual Malawi Innovators Design Competition on February 28. The 2022 competition was held in Thyolo, Malawi.

The competition, coordinated by the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), and the National Commission of Science & Technology (NCST), brought together university student-innovators who presented low-cost technologies they had designed to address local challenges in resource-limited settings.

The winners were chosen from the forty-nine teams whose designs addressed challenges in five categories: agriculture & environment, education, energy, health, and technology.

Photo: MIDC judges and participants

Mango Bioleather, led by Romazie Mphaka, was awarded first place in the agriculture & environment category. The team developed a process for recycling over-ripe and discarded mangos into a leather-like textile. The manufacturing of bioleather from excess mangos solves a need for a leather alternative and reduces the amount of improperly handled, overripe fruit that can breed bacteria. The team will continue to refine their mango bioleather.

Photo: Bioleather, first place for agriculture & environment

In the education category, the Digital Braille design by the team led by Sithembinkosi Phombeya took first place honors. The innovation is an electronic braille keyboard laid out like an orbit reader, a popular, commercially available, portable braille-to-text display. Digital Braille transcribes braille typed by a student into Latin alphabet letters for non-braille readers, such as teachers. This eliminates the need for an intermediary to translate assignments from braille, allowing students to translate text themselves via the Digital Braille keyboard and a computer.

Photo: Digital Braille, first place for education

The Three-Chambered Biomass Gasifier Stove was awarded first place in the energy category by the team led by Binnah Gondwe. The team designed an improved heat source for cooking that reduces smoke and burns more efficiently. The team plans to continue refining the design to include a fuel loader and other improvements.

Photo: 3-Chamber Biomass Gasifier Stove, first place for energy

First place in the health category went to the Ultra Violet Ray Sterilizer team led by Lusungu Gondwe. The team designed a medical face mask ultraviolet sterilization chamber that is more compact than room-based systems. The chamber is designed to ensure safety, shielding medical personnel who operate the system from UV-C light, which can be harmful.

Photo: Ultra-Violet Ray Sterilizer, first place for health

Campompi Desktop Bottle Filling Machine from the team led by Khumbo Malikebu won first place in technology. The low-cost bottle filling device is intended for small and medium-sized beverage businesses. The low-cost device improves efficiency and is more sanitary for filling drinking bottles.

Photo: Campopi Desktop Bottle Filling Machine, first place for technology

Second place winners included Fertilizer Application Rod led by Imran Katungwe in the agriculture & environment category, Peachy Pie Native led by Wongani Kaluwa for education, Helical Turbine project by the team led by Madalitso Chimpeni in the energy category, Sleep Well Mosquito Repellent Lotion and Soap, team leader Ceaser Chembezi, in the health category, and D Mute System in the technology category led by Ethel Phiri.

Third place winners were Backyard Hydroponic by Emmanuel Banda in the agriculture & environment category and Edu-Core by Benjamin Milanzi for education. In the energy category, there was a third-place tie between Biomass Briquette Production by Msaiwale Mwale and Water Light Technology by Angella Banda & Binnah Gondwe. The Low-Cost Oxygen Analyzer by the team led by Jacob Mtitimila & Charles Takomana received third place for health. In technology, the third-place winner was Change E save by Jean-Paul Kalombo.

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