Two JKUAT Mechatronic Engineering alumni who graduated November 2019, emerged winners in the just concluded One Hack-A-thon event. Kenneth Gicira and Micheal Mwaisakenyi with their team dubbed The Knights came first in the online global challenge beating over 40 teams from 20 different countries.
One Hack-A-thon, organised by IncubateIND, is an initiative designed to encourage developers, start-ups, technology students, management students, and technology experts to unite and develop solutions that are beneficial to society at a global scale.
This win follows an earlier triumph that saw Gicira and Mwaisakenyi emerge winners of the 2020 Imagine Cup European, Middle Eastern, and African (EMEA) regional final and become the 1st African Team At Imagine Cup World Championship with their Weeding Bot Innovation.
The Weeding Bot uses artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops. The innovation uses cameras as sensors to gather input from the environment and eliminate farmers’ need to use environmentally harmful pesticides in their weeding.
According to Gicira, the Weeding Bot is not only safe, affordable and efficient but also ensures that agricultural produce are free from herbicides that are harmful to the consumer.
Going forward, the duo is in the process of piloting their innovation and are targeting 10 farmers using 7 weeding bots.
“In our research, we found out that it takes 7 robots to weed a 5-acre piece of land, which is the average acreage of the over 300,000 small scale farmers in Kenya,” elucidated Gicira.
With most Kenyans relying on agriculture for livelihood, Mwaisakenyi attests that the weeding bot will be instrumental in reducing environmental pollution caused by herbicides while still increasing crop yield, thus improving food security in the country.
As winners of the challenge, The Knights will get Silicon Valley founders mentorship and startup advisory from Vince Kohli, a super angel investor, global venture mentor maker and serial entrepreneur for 18 plus years.
The countries that participated in the One Hack-A-thon event held August 8-9, 2020, include; India, USA, Great Zambezi, Mexico, Greece, Jordan, Nigeria, Turkey, Uganda, Portugal, Ukraine, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Canada, Moldova, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Romania, Egypt and Singapore.