The Kisumu National Polytechnic held its fourth annual science convention on March 3 to 4 with Prof Erick Okoth Ogur, the Director for Engineering, Innovation and Production at the Technical University of Kenya officiating over the occasion.

In his Keynote address Prof Ogur lauded conference participants for their expertise, “This is a great display of skill that you can upscale to make a significant impact. I congratulate you for continued commitment and enthusiasm in ensuring the production of technical manpower, which is the engine of national development”, he said.

The theme for the conference was ‘The TVET perspective’, which required participants to place emphasis on technological improvements or inventions that bring out the importance of technical learning. On display were devices and innovations covering daily life that ranged from mobile learning innovations, academic attendance tracking and management system to a hyacinth-harvesting machine.

“Our lecturers and students have been dedicated in their quest to complete these innovations, some of which are ready to be deployed to the market … We appreciate that Science and Technology is a major platform for the development of the three pillars of vision 2030”, said  TNKP Principal Mrs Joyce Nyanjom. Ms Nyanjom observed that the hyacinth harvester that the Automotive Engineering department developed could harvest the stubborn weed from Lake Victoria and avail it to the hospitality department that uses it as a raw material in making sofa sets, beds, utility baskets and bags among many other products.

The exhibition ran concurrently with presentations at the Electrical Engineering department building with Research Coordinator Mr Ochieng Odek organizing the proceedings. During the presentations, experts interrogated the inventions and provided insights and suggestions for improvement to make them more practical and relevant to industry. The panel included Prof Ogur, Engineer Peter Olaka TKNP Governing Council Chairman, a representative from the Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification (CDACC) and The County Technical and Vocational Training (CTVET) Director among others.

The Electrical Engineering department’s Android based Intelligent Accident Detection with Ambulance Rescue Call-Up System seeks to curb road fatalities. The system software uses a Smartphone’s internal hardware such as the accelerometer, vibration sensors and GPS to detect an accident. “In case an accident is detected, the system logs GPS coordinates of the scene and sends an SMS to pre-configured contacts such as emergency services and the traffic police” explained Mr Evans Onyango, a lecturer at the department.

Another innovative project was the Micro-controller embedded power theft Identification system developed to identify power pilfering. “This will also help reduce deaths due to electrocution as a result of unsophisticated illegal connections and meter tampering or bypassing  …”, added Mr Godfrey Oyugi, a lecturer at the Electrical and Electronics department.

The entrepreneurship department also displayed a business incubation model to help innovators understand how to turn their creations into viable business enterprises. “This model helps one know how to establish a thriving business through a step by step process from idea conception, business and financial training as well as business financing to profit making strategies,” explained Entrepreneurship department head Mr Oballah.

Professor Charles Ondieki encouraged the innovators to register the innovations as they wait patenting to safeguard them from copyright theft. ”I understand that it takes a long time to patent your innovations but we must appreciate that it is also very risky not to register them. Today anyone can improve on your innovations and get copyright over them thus denying you, the true innovators, your royalties”.

The conference precedes a regional conference for TVET institutions at Kaimosi Technical Institute later in the month.

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