The University’s innovation prowess has once again come to the fore after two Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology innovations developed by students emerged top in the Students’ Innovation Category of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Energy Management Awards (EMA) 2019.
PowerYako presented by Joseph Ngatia Mwaniki, Marystella Natasha both 4th Year students of BSc. Control and Instrumentation and Dennis Kariuki, 4th Year student BSc. Computer Science, bagged the top spot, while Job Muchama, Elias Koome, Hassan Adan and Gideon Omangi, all 4th Year students of BSc. Electrical and Electronic Engineering scooped the 1st runner up position with their innovation, the Path Finder.
The students’ innovation award is a new category of the Energy Management Award that aims at recognizing innovations that focus on energy management by university students. PowerYako is an energy management system that both controls and quantifies the energy consumed per household.
According to Joseph, PowerYako innovation brings a solution to home automation that gives both safety and remote control of electrical appliances hence, protecting your home and electrical devices from electrical losses.
“PowerYako is an SMS based smart meter energy management system that gives the user power over their own domestic internal circuitry and enables them to power on and off their power from the comfort of their mobile phones,” explains Joseph.
On the other hand, Path Finder innovation, employing light dependent sensors, redefines the way we mount our solar panels so as to maximize exposure to sunlight.
“An active tracking system is used where the solar panel is placed on the shaft of a motor and the motor is given maximum rotation such that the solar panel is always oriented at 90 degrees to receive the maximum sunlight,” expounds Elias.
Regarding the competition, Elias said, it gave him and his teammates, the essential exposure of what is going on in the energy industry and he is confident that with the incorporation of the critique from industry players at the awards, their innovation will enhance efficient utilization of power generated by the solar panel giving the user optimum use of solar energy.
Both innovations are building on the success of the JKUAT Tech Expo, where Path Finder was the 1st runner up in the Expo, and PowerYako dubbed; Zima na Text bagged the Peoples’ Choice Award. The student innovators attest that the JKUAT Tech Expo has accorded them an enormous and appropriate platform to improve on their innovations and to participate in other competitions with confidence.
“Building on the success of the Tech Expo, we are able to confidently get involved in such competitions and they have really shown us the potential of technology in solving the challenges we are facing as a society,” said Marystella, one of the innovators of PowerYako.