Strathmore University shines at the 2019 African Grand Challenge
Strathmore University reaffirmed its role as a leading institution in research and innovation by emerging 1st Runners Up, and bagging a $3000 reward, in the 4th Annual African Grand Challenge (AGC). This year’s event was held at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Tanzania, from January 24 to 27, 2019.
Autonomous drones that act as bird repellents
Strathmore was represented by a team of four graduate students, Daniel Kurui, Phillis Kiragu, Samuel Githogori and Andrew Kinyua, all of whom are currently pursuing a Master of Science in Information Technology degree. They showcased a novel solution to the challenge of food insecurity in Africa. The innovation, dubbed Repo Drones, combines cutting-edge technologies including machine learning, data analytics, Internet of Things, and GPS to power autonomous drones that act as bird repellents. The innovation was in line with AGC 2019’s theme: Impact of emerging technologies on food safety and the health of women and their families in Africa.
The solution seeks to address the bird menace that causes the destruction of high-nutrient essential grains such as maize, rice, sorghum, and millet, leading to thousands of tons of grain, and millions of dollars in annual losses across Africa. Birds prevent women from taking up farming of these grains as the pests destroy yields prior to the harvesting period. This persistent problem has undermined the role of women in farming for food security for their children and families. The team is in the process of developing the technology further and is confident that it will be adopted widely in Africa’s farming ecosystem.
Other participants in the challenge included teams from Tanzania (NM-AIST), Burundi (International University of Equator), Zanzibar (The State University of Zanzibar), Nigeria (Abuja University of Science and Technology), Rwanda (Carnegie Mellon University), and Uganda (Uganda Technology and Management University).
About the AGC
The African Grand Challenge (AGC) is an annual event held at the Nelson Madela African Institute of Science and Technology. AGC was created in 2016 with the goal of nurturing student innovators from selected universities across Africa to develop innovative and technology-driven solutions to some of the challenges facing Africa as a developing continent. Strathmore University has participated in all 4 challenges since AGC first began.
This article was written by Samuel Githogori, a Master of Science in Information Technology student.
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