Two fresh graduates from JKUAT who made a Weeding Bot innovation have emerged winners in the just concluded One Hack-A-thon event. Kenneth Gicira and Micheal Mwaisakenyi both Mechatronic Engineering graduates defeated more than 40 teams from over 20 countries in the online challenge to be crowned top in the world.
The Weeding Bot Team
Under a team dubbed The Knights , the two came up with the innovation which uses artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops. Christened ‘The Weeding Bot’, the affordable and efficient innovation uses cameras as sensors to gather input from the environment.
The team mainly sold their idea and innovation on the premise that it eliminates farmers’ need to use environmentally harmful pesticides in their weeding.
“In our research, we found out that it takes 7 robots to weed a 5-acre piece of land. This is the average acreage of the over 300,000 small scale farmers in Kenya,” noted Gicira.
The challenge organised by IncubateIND saw the graduates win the 2020 Imagine Cup European, Middle Eastern, and African (EMEA) regional final. They also became the 1st African Team to compete at Imagine Cup World Championship.
The weeding bot innovation now in the pilot stage will be instrumental in reducing environmental pollution caused by herbicides. Mwaisakenyi also points out that it will increase crop yield, thus improving food security in the country.
As pay for winning the challenge, the two will get Silicon Valley founders mentorship and startup advisory from Vince Kohli.
The countries that participated in the One Hack-A-thon event held August 8th and 9th, 2020 apart from Kenya include India, USA, Great Zambezi, Mexico, Greece, Jordan and Nigeria.
Others were Turkey, Uganda, Portugal, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Canada, Moldova, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Romania, Egypt and Singapore.