10 engineers will showcase hardware's role in social innovation - Technical.ly DC


Jun. 14, 2017 1:00 pm

10 engineers will showcase hardware’s role in social innovation

On June 22, ASME will host its annual ISHOW competition in D.C. Similar events are held in Kenya and India.

You may be familiar with social entrepreneurship and impact investing, but the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) wants to remind everyone that hardware engineers have a space in social innovation, too.

In 2015, ASME formally began their Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), a hardware competition for socially minded projects.

“Our research showed a tremendous lack of support for hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact,” K. Keith Roe, president of ASME, noted in the press release for this year’s competition. “With this year’s entries among the most promising we’ve seen since ISHOW first launched, we’re confident they all have the potential to address some of the most challenging issues faced by mankind.”

ASME ISHOW runs not only in the United States, but also Kenya and India. Expansion is a top priority for showcase leaders.

“From South America to West Africa to Southeast Asia, there are many talented folks that are changing paradigms with their work,” Paul Scott, ASME ISHOW Director, told Technical.ly. “We hope ISHOW can help them on their way in the future.”

As for the present, this year’s American competition will be held June 22 at the District Architecture Center in D.C. This year’s finalists are vying to join the Kenyan and Indian grand prize winners in a share of $500,000 in prizes, including technical and design assistance, as well as access to ISHOW’s partner networks.

The ten 2017 American finalists are listed as follows:

  • Erica Schwarz (Baltimore, MD)
  • Quang Truong (Washington, D.C.)
  • Jonathan Cedar (Nairobi, Kenya)
  • Mary Elizabeth McCulloch (Milesburg, PA)
  • Alexandra Grigore (Cambridge, UK)
  • Shivang Dave (Boston, MA)
  • Matthew Chun (Cambridge, MA)
  • Team Sixth Sense (Houston, TX)
  • Hahna Alexander (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Kenji Tabery (Monterey, CA)

(For more information about what each of the projects by these finalists, click here.)

ISHOW isn’t just for product developers at the manufacturing stage. ASME is looking to reward those take a holistic approach to understanding how user knowledge, development, manufacturing and implementation benefits their products. In addition to pitches, finalists will engage in round robin interviews with the judges, which will be crucial in crowning this year’s winners, according to Scott. This year’s judges’ panel will include industry leaders in innovation and engineering from across the country, including representatives from Tesla and New York-based Engineering for Change.


Only three winners will be selected out of the ten American finalists, which Scott admits is an increasingly difficult task for the judges—but ultimately, a good problem to have. To learn more about ASME ISHOW and get a head start on next year’s competition cycle, click the button below.

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