Another score at International Trade Fair

Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga (centre) and Deputy Vice Chancellors; Prof. Esther Kahangi (left) and Prof. Romanus Odhiambo and a section of the trophies won by JKUAT at the Trade Fair.

For a long time, traditional universities have often considered teaching and research as their key pre-occupation, but for a modern university like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), two additional roles of innovation and technology transfer have continued to be a priority; guiding and ensuring that JKUAT researchers focus on research activities to generate new knowledge and lead to the development of innovations crucial to Kenya’s social and economic growth.
It is therefore not surprising that the JKUAT stand at the Nairobi International Trade Fair that ends today has been dominated by a number of innovations arising from the many hours that the university researchers have devoted to research. JKUAT remained triumphant, now for the third year running at the Trade Fair as demonstrated by its exemplary performance that saw the university highly ranked in the annual event, Tuesday September 28, 2009. JKUAT was highly rated and declared the best research and development organization, best institution of higher learning and education stand, best striking of locally manufactured products, and best earth and agricultural organization; trouncing a number of household names companies to the periphery.

Four inventions namely; the development of a new shoe shine product, the design of a computer based voting system, fabrication of a piece of equipment for generation of holograms and a new simple irrigation machine, remained crowd pullers at the JKAUT stand at Jamhuri Park, the venue for the trade fair. The shoe shine, produced from a readily available local weed that had been a major nuisance that has hindered agricultural production in terms of control, is the work of a postgraduate student of biochemistry. The project is likely to be a source of employment opportunity particularly in the event that the production of the shoe shine is commercialized.

The new computer based voting system designed by the department of mechatronic engineering final year students might wipe out election malpractices in the country. Visitors to the stand were also greatly impressed by the university’s department of physics project to develop a piece of equipment for designing holograms (security logos) that will make it hard for manufacturers used to fake products and merchandise.

The automated irrigation system is fronted by researchers at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering and employs the use of readily available solar energy to operate a pump used to drive water for irrigation. The system has some special equipment able to detect the amount of moisture in the soil a situation that ensures; only the soil with minimum moisture is irrigated.
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