Our heroes in tech: Innovations creating an impact today

Every 9th of June, we honour heroes nationwide, those who have put others before themselves, leaving an indelible mark along the way. We look at the heroes in tech, the trailblazers who have used technology to create products that make people’s lives easier and make essential needs like healthcare more accessible.

Also read: Here is the list of the 45 winning Ugandan innovators under NIISP

The heroes in tech that are leading with cutting-edge ideas

Awesome Mind speaks


Awesome mind Speaks is a youth-led non-profit organization focused on mental health and emotional well-being for young people in Uganda. The organization fundamentally focuses on integrating mental health and sexual reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention for young people through devising effective communication strategies and campaigns to create awareness and alleviate mental and sexual reproductive health risks among young people.

As part of their work towards impactful change, they developed the “My Pal App”, a mental health and wellness digital solution that aims at increasing mental health information and services for young people by creating a linkage between young people and professionals. This great creation allowed them to emerge as one of the best teams in the recently concluded innovation program pitch 2021 hosted by the Digital human rights lab.

Makerere’s covid-19 anti body test kits

The COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kits developed domestically aim to address challenges related to affordability/cost using imported items, promote research and innovation in the medical/health field and Makerere University in general. This project was spearheaded by Dr Misaki Wayengera, Director of Biomedical Research at the Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University.

Dr Wayengera is also the Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee on the COVID-19 Taskforce in the Ministry of Health. These efforts are directed towards enhancing the fight against the spread of the Corona Virus not only at Makerere University but also in the entire country.

Explaining the advantages of the project, Dr Wayengera said “Makerere University has developed an affordable costing less than US $1 (UGX 3530), easy to use (requiring minimal expertise, user guide), rapid (yielding results within 2-5 minutes) point of care test platform for COVID-19 suited for use within remote equatorial African settings. This will enable rapid testing for Coronavirus and considerably lower the cost of testing currently standing at USD 65 (UGX 229,400).

SafeBangle technologies

A colleague showing the rest the wearable innovation on her wrist

This impressive wearable invention was created by a group of youth from Makerere University who were inspired by the high rate of crime at the university. They then decided to work together to come up with SafeBangle technology in Uganda that would help reduce crime by ensuring that victims can easily alert others when they are in danger.

The SafeBangle technologies founder, Saul Kabali said in just five seconds, one is able to report or alert their closest people for rescue. During kidnaps, he said, the bracelet would be triggered to alert your family and friends on how to trace you. The wearable safety tool, designed as a bracelet enables potential victims of Gender-Based Violence to quickly reach out for help when threatened.

Read also: The awe-inspiring SafeBangle technology in Uganda that reports crime

Safe water Harvesters

With an aim to bring access to clean water to the rural communities, safe water harvesters developed a device that traps moisture in the air to form water for those living in hard to reach communities. The solar-powered device traps humidity/water vapour from the atmosphere providing clean and affordable water to the underserved rural communities, schools & communities at any time.

Kenyans invent a prosthetic arm

Two Kenyans took the world by storm with their bio-robotic arm invention that uses brain signals to work. The bio-robotic arm was created by David Gathu and Moses Kinua. This prosthetic arm uses brain signals to work as an artificial limb making it easier for people who have lost their limbs to go about their day to day activities.

The bio-robotic arm that is powered by the user’s brain signals which are then converted into an electric current using a headset receiver. The electric current is then sent to the circuitry of the robot which gives the arm its mobility. Health experts marked this creation as revolutionary for Kenya since prosthetic arms are rare to find in the country.

With a creation such as this one, investment into further research and production could go a long way into easing the lives of people who live with disabilities.

Read more: 4 teams emerge winners of Innovation Program pitch 2021 to win UGX 60M

Read more: Ugandan startups awarded 60,000 USD by UNCDF for outstanding innovations

READ: Cabinet list reveals new Minister of ICT in Uganda, Dr Chris Baryomunsi

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