Applied Computer Technology students win first prize in Dell's Envision the future competition

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The device designed by the students for remote monitoring of infants’ growth and health parameters, which will then communicate with health facilities to inform them of children who require immediate attention for timely intervention.

By Dr. Patrick Wamuyu

USIU-Africa won the first prize in Dell’s Envision the Future competition, held annually as part of Dell Technologies commitment to enhancing human progress through technology that can work where it can do the best for people and the planet. This year’s competition focused on the use of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Multi-Cloud technologies to develop innovative solutions that address the current and emerging challenges on the well-being, healthcare and education sectors. The competition was open to undergraduate students from the Middle East, Russia, Africa and Turkey region.

USIU-Africa’s team was made up of four senior students studying B.Sc. in Applied Computer Technology, Khushi Gupta, Jeet Gohil, Dharmik Karania, and Abdihamid Ali. The team was mentored by Dr. Leah Mutanu, a lecturer in the Department of Computing, working together with Mr. Hillary Kavagi, an IT Lab Technician. The team was required to create videos to demonstrate their innovation for the competition and received help from the technical team at USIU-Africa.

The student’s innovation involved the design of a system that can be used for remote monitoring of infants’ growth and health parameters. In most rural areas in Kenya, access to basic child health services often requires a long journey to the nearest health facility. The cost of the journey, in addition to a small fee charged at the health facility, is out of reach for most rural families. The net result is that many families in remote rural areas do not visit health facilities until it is too late. Thus, many children in rural areas continue to suffer from preventable health related problems that could easily be addressed. Consequently, under-five mortality remains unacceptably high at 46 deaths for every 1000 births according to UNICEF.

The developed solution provides community health workers, or care givers, with a portable, safe, and accessible Internet of Things (IoT) device that can be used to monitor growth parameters of children from rural or other marginalized areas. The device will then communicate with health facilities to inform them of children who require immediate attention for timely intervention.

The competition was divided into 4 stages, namely the submission of abstracts, submission of the interim design report, the final project and report submission, and ended with an interview with the steering committee and engineers from Dell Technologies, to whom the students had to pitch their innovations. A total of 227 project abstracts were received from more than 100 universities, with only 26 projects from 8 countries making it to the final stages of the yearlong competition.

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