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Focus Innovations win 2nd Africa Youth SDGs Summit Hackathon

One of Kumasi Hive’s 3-month old startups, Focus Innovations, emerged as winners of the just ended 2nd Africa Youth SDGs Summit Hackathon, dubbed “Generation Unlimited” held in Accra, Ghana on the 9th of November 2018. The team was awarded a cash prize of USD 1000.

The hackathon was organized by UNICEF and had 12 teams from 3 cities of Kumasi, Accra and Tamale in Ghana. Each team presented innovative ideas aimed at tackling local problems and also contributes towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Focus Innovation’s overall vision is to provide cutting-edge innovative tech solutions to address challenges and make life easier, safer and convenient for the general society.

The team recognizes the challenges persons living with visual impairment face while navigating their surroundings and infrastructure unfamiliar to them. Some of these are things that many may take for granted, but they actually are barriers to people who have untapped potential due to mobility challenges.

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If you have a family member or a friend who is visually impaired, you understand how unsettling it is leaving that friend or family member unattended to and how restrictive it may be for someone to always have to wait for another person to assist them in carrying out basic tasks.

It is with this as a motivation that Focus Innovations, has developed a visual aid device that helps persons with visual impairment navigate their environs and reduces the occurrence of bumping into obstacles and coming into contact with hot objects or surfaces.

Imagine the possibility of a device that alerts its users when they are close to an obstacle and also keeps their caretakers in the know when they may be in a potentially dangerous position? Imagine the freedom that this device would give users to go about their daily activities with the knowledge that their safety is assured?

A prototype of the Visual Aid Device.

The device ensures the safety of users while they move around and helps them do certain basic things giving them freedom of mobility and a sense of confidence. It runs on a rechargeable battery and uses sensors for heat and obstacle detection. The device comes in three forms; handheld, wearable and pendant design.

How does the device work? The device vibrates when the device user is 2ft away from an obstacle or a heat source (44 degrees Celsius or above) and it also sends notifications to the user application (to the caretaker) once the device user bumps into an obstacle or nears a heat source.

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The team (From left) – Emmanuel Yagason, CTO (Computer Scientist), Daniella Asare, COO (Biomedical Scientist), Desmond Afisah Bempong, CEO (Developer/Tech Enthusiast)

Once again, congratulations on your win, Focus Innovations. We are proud to have you as members of our Incubator Program and can only hope for successes like these on your journey to providing solutions that help humanity.

Written by: Freda Yamorti Gbande | Research Associate – Kumasi Hive


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