Siemens and ASME Announce Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge Winners

Teams from Colombia, Uganda and the U.S. selected for innovations that meet need for clean water and adequate food supply globally.

Teams from Colombia, Uganda and the U.S. selected for innovations that meet need for clean water and adequate food supply globally.

Siemens, in collaboration with Engineering for Change (E4C), a knowledge organization, digital platform and community from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), announced the two winners of the Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge. The winning teams produced scalable solutions addressing two of the United Nations sustainable development goals: zero hunger and clean water.

For the Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge, the winning team produced a scalable solutions addressing one of the two of the United Nations sustainable development goals: clean water. Image courtesy of Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Taking the prize in the Zero Hunger category, the EcoLife Foods team introduced EcoLife Cold Room—a cold room storage solution that aids rural farmers in lessening crop loss due to poor handling and storage techniques. Targeting communities in central and southern Uganda, the cold room is made of locally sourced and recycled elements, resulting in a cooperative, affordable and sustainable design. Representing Uganda and the U.S., the team is made up of Kyle Gaiser, Hadijah Nantambi and Ian Williams.

“We were inspired by the opportunity to model agricultural innovations from the ground up,” says the EcoLife Foods team. “We have farmers and academics alike brainstorming insulation designs and testing manufacturing processes. This challenge gave us the opportunity to pursue research goals and accomplish our vision of providing every Ugandan—whether in a far-off village, or a densely packed informal settlement—with fresh healthy food.”

Topping the competition in the Clean Water category, the Apü üya Wüin—The Guardian of Water team designed a ready-to-assemble solar-powered water desalination device. Targeting the arid La Guajira region of Colombia, the team supplemented the device with a comprehensive education strategy that assures social appropriation of the technology for the Parenskat-Wayuu community. The team consists of John Aguilar, Mónica Gutiérrez, Manuel Mejía, Sebastian Rodriguez and Aliex Trujillo of Colombia.

“The beauty of our device is that it can be assembled and maintained without any special tools or training,” shares the Apü üya Wüin team. “We are one step closer to providing a sustainable solution to water supply in the community of Parenskat.”

Each winning solution has been awarded $10,000 (USD), as well as tailored guidance and support based on their individual product development needs. Winners will connect with the appropriate subject matter experts at Siemens and within the E4C network, and have their designs highlighted in the months ahead at events including Impact.Engineered. Winners will participate in the Impact.Engineered “Tech Gallery” alongside other hardware-led social enterprises to gain valuable exposure to global development professionals for their startup ventures.

Announced in February, the challenge was a call to action for socially minded engineers and hardware innovators who chose to either design a postharvest off-grid preservation technology to reduce farm-to-table food loss in lower resource settings or to design a low-cost, energy-efficient, scalable innovation for desalination of brackish water. Participants were made up of engineering students, practicing engineers, faculty, entrepreneurs and global development practitioners. Competitors from 34 countries, representing 43 universities, took part in the challenge and proposed more than 220 solutions. Four finalists were announced in August for each of the two tracks.

“We created this challenge nearly a year ago with the purpose of discovery at the forefront of our goals—and what we received in response has exceeded our expectations,” says Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA. “As we confronted a global crisis, we watched our participants adapt – utilizing digital tools to connect across the globe – resulting in more than 200 submitted solutions. Rising to the top among hundreds, I congratulate our two winners for embodying Siemens’ mission of using technology to serve society by creating two exceptional yet practical innovations.”

ASME’s E4C team architected the application and evaluation process, educated participants on human-centered design principles, and provided a variety of enabling tools and resources. Siemens provided free access and training on cutting-edge technology tools for digital design and engineering from its Xcelerator portfolio, including Solid Edge software and a new co-creation platform developed with Siemens’ Mendix platform for low-code application development. Siemens’ software is widely used by many of the world’s leading companies to design, engineer and manufacture all types of products and infrastructure.

“Over the course of the Challenge phases,  the judges focused on the most promising submissions in terms of their technological merit, adoption potential, scalability and ultimately their impact on quality of life,” says Iana Aranda, director of engineering global development programs for ASME. “These two teams excelled consistently while integrating the judges’ feedback throughout the challenge. Their solutions truly strive for sustainability and embody the principles of human-centered design.”

For more information about Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge, click here.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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