KNUST launches ‘Makers’ Fair’ for engineering students

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor

A competition to unearth the creativity and ability of students and encourage them to use their knowledge to solve societal problems has been launched in Kumasi.

The competition, which is being organised by the College of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for its students, would see participating teams from the various departments of the college come up with solutions to some of the problems facing society.

Known as the Ghana Engineering Students Association (GESA) competition and Makers’ Fair, the second of its kind in the annals of the university, the event is meant to encourage the students to bridge the gap between theory and practice and to use their knowledge to solve problems facing society.

The month-long competition would see the students go through the process of product designing, which includes finding the product’s benefits to society, its marketability and the prospect for its improvement.

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It is being spearheaded by the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) of the College of Engineering, with sponsorship from the USAID, and would see the students come up with the prototypes of their products by October 10, when the teams would exhibit their innovations and be judged by a panel of judges from the faculty.

Objective of competition

The Director, TCC, Dr George Y. Obeng, said the objective of the competition was to promote collaborative innovation and creativity among students pursuing engineering at the university and to also encourage innovation and team work in design process, technology development and setting up of ventures for job creation and poverty reduction in the country.

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He said at the end of the competition, the best two products would be selected by TCC for upscaling and was hopeful that “we will establish an enterprise out of this competition.”

Dr Obeng said the products by the teams would be assessed on the applicability to the needs of society, its affordability, ability to solve problems and the potential of the products to be commercialised.

Teams from the various departments of the College of Engineering are taking part in the competitions.

The teams 

The teams are Divine Idea, which is coming up with a mobile application to be known as Roomie to help students select rooms and hostels even before school reopens; Chemvision which has also designed a product known as Plastogulf,  a chemical that would be used in managing plastic waste.

CurlyQ,  a group of Geodetic and Civil Engineering students, is also developing a software to be known as Magic Map to aid students on campus to get the exact location of places on campus and in general help people to easily locate places on their mobile phones. Another team, GADS, is coming up with an online application to be known as UnEX, a repository where students can easily get access to lecturers’ hand outs and also serve as an interface between students and lecturers and teaching assistants.

The others are Smart Team which is designing a smart trash bin that will be able to sort out waste automatically into different compartments for easy recycling; Inginex Solutions which is coming up with a fire detector system that could be installed in open spaces to help reduce market fires, which have become rampant in recent times, and the E-Waste Team which is designing a copper stripping machine to help in the recycling of e-waste products in the country.

All the teams would have to be ready with their products by October 10, 2014 for exhibition and assessment by a panel of judges.