Pan-African Competition – in Low cost instruments and entrepreneurship for development

The 2020 Pan-African competition in low-cost technologies will serve to identify and develop next generation of young scientists, leaders, and entrepreneurs in Africa. It is open to all countries of Africa.

The organizers

UK: Stoyan Smoukov, Kaspar Althoefer, London, UK
Africa: African Spectral Imaging Network (AFSIN, http://afsinnet.net), Ivory Coast

Objectives

  • Design and fabricate a proof-of-concept low cost instruments using a microcontroller in these themes:
    1. COVID-19 or malaria-related innovation
    2. Robotics and/or automation in the fields of agricultural, energy, or medical use
    3. Entrepreneurship in upcycling of computer hard drives into centrifuges for field diagnostics
  • Develop technical and entrepreneurial innovation capacities of young scientists in African countries.

How to participe?

  • Write a 1-page outline describing your instrument to register. Full proposal including the steps already undertaken, , and steps necessary to finalize it (3 pages max, single space, min 11 pt font) 
  • Proposals should be submitted in English with a (Google Translate) French translation, or vice versa  
  • Medical equipment proposals should outline tests needed to certify, but not expected to be carried out
  • 1. Register your team info & intent to apply before 20th September 2020 at https://afsinnet.net/2020-afsin-competition/
  • Organizers will attempt to give feedback to initial proposals. Emails for questions: africalowcostcompetition@qmul.ac.uk and jzoueu@gmail.com
  • 2. Final Submission: Upload your full proposal to the website before midnight 30th September, 2020. 

Selection of good proposals

An international jury made of experts in the field of applied physics and engineering will select 6 projects (2 in each of the 3 themes) taking into account the following criteria:

  • Degree of innovation, ability to creatively solve a pressing problem
  • Feasibility to create a low-cost proof-of-concept in 3 months, potential for future manufacturing
  • Commercial opportunity of the instrument (the number of people who will potentially buy and use the instrument, its low cost/affordability during fabrication and when in the market).

The results of the first selection will be presented on October 10, 2020.

Financial support and training for the finalization of the realization

To help the 6 finalists realize their proof-of concept, there will be a remote training in Arduino and other low cost automation. Following, the jury will make another judgment of the projects before given an approval for the financial support in the finalization process. This will take place from October 10 to October 20, 2020. The amount to given to each project will cover the cost of materials for the prototypes, one from each finalist to be delivered to the organizers at the end of the competition. The organizers will also provide small amounts to fabricate components and support mentors who will follow the realization between daily and bi-weekly. Presentation of the prototypes of the fabricated instruments

Presentation of the prototypes of the fabricated instruments

The realization of prototypes will take place from October 20, 2020 to Jan 31, 2021. Finalists will submit one fully functioning prototype for evaluation along with full documentation of parts used, fabrication procedures, and any software included. This will be followed-up by experts committed by the organizers.

Results and prizes

Final results will be given in early spring 2021, based on a presentation of the final prototype, its performance, and in light of the original criteria. Three prizes will be given to best prototypes:
1st Theme prize: 1200 Euro, 2nd Theme prize: 1200 Euro , 3rd Theme prize: 1200 Euro

NB: All 6 projects will have benefited from financial support (>€600 on average) for the realization.