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Two Inventors from U.S., One from Peru Take Grand Prize in Global Competition for Social-Driven Hardware

For Immediate Release


These Social Entrepreneurs Earn a Share of $500K+ in

Prizes and Support from ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW)


Washington, D.C., June 28, 2018 – ASME, the world’s largest organization for mechanical engineers, today announced the three social entrepreneurs named as Grand Prize winners of the 2018 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), the first global competition to recognize and reward hardware designs with a social purpose. 

The hardware designs of two inventors based in the U.S. and a third from Peru were selected from eight finalists who traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete for a share of $500,000 in awards and technical support to help bring their design prototypes to populations in need. 

A link to descriptions and schematics of the designs is here: 

The regional Grand Prize winners included:

Carlos Castro-Gonzalez (Cambridge, MA, USA) – PointCheck

One of chemotherapy’s major side effects is a reduction of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell – when neutrophil levels are low in the bloodstream, it inhibits the body's ability to fight infections. Thousands of these infections could be avoided every year if low neutrophil levels are detected early. PointCheck is a portable, non-invasive device that aids in early detection, thus decreasing instances of infection for chemotherapy patients.

Anna John (Kalamazoo, MI, USA) – NeoVent

Nepal’s infant mortality is greater than most countries – as many as 50,000 infants die each year, according to UNICEF data, largely attributed to respiratory complications due to premature births or infection. The standard ventilator equipment is costly and hard to come by in rural Nepal. NeoVent seeks to remedy this by offering a non-invasive, dual-pressure ventilator that is easy to use and does not require continuous electricity. It can be manufactured for less than $20 compared to traditional ventilators that cost 100 times more.

Félix Escalante (Lima, Peru) Solar Hybrid Coffee Roaster

Peru’s rural coffee farmers make on average $2.50/kg for raw coffee beans, compared to roasters further down the supply chain, who command as much as $30/kg for roasted coffee beans. Solar Hybrid Coffee Roaster provides small-scale rural farmers with the technology to roast their own coffee beans with sunlight and helps boost the value of their end product. Solar roasting provides higher incomes by minimizing costs of production, promotes organic practices, decreases CO2 output, and allows small-scale farmers to continue to work and live in remote areas.

ISHOW's esteemed panel of judges – which included representatives from FormLabs, Stanford University, Tata Center MIT, Very, Engineering for Change and ASME’s Board of Governors as well as past ISHOW winners – was vastly impressed by the winners’ innovative and globally scalable solutions.

“The extraordinary inventions put forward by PointCheck, NeoVent, and Solar Hybrid Coffee Roaster will make it possible for doctors to do more to help their patients and farmers to become more productive, making it possible for families and communities across the world to achieve greater quality of life,” noted Said Jahanmir, ASME President. “Their display of creativity and ingenuity, and that of their peers, fully embodies the spirit of ISHOW and exemplifies the potential of tomorrow’s engineering problem-solvers and social entrepreneurs.”

The winning inventors will share $US500,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, along with six other winners of similar competitions in Bengaluru, India (April 2018) and Nairobi, Kenya (May 2018).

For the showcase/judging event that took place June 21 at the District Architecture Center, the eight social-minded hardware entrepreneurs, selected as finalists from among 150 applicants, presented a range of devices designed to make a transformational economic, environmental, and social impact. The finalists appeared before a panel of judges that included successful entrepreneurs, engineers, academics, and founders of venture-funded startups to pitch the engineering design attributes of their prototypes and outline their plans for manufacturing, implementation, marketing, and financing. 

“ASME congratulates and thanks all our winners and finalists for their outstanding commitment to advancing hardware for social good,” said Jahanmir. “By constantly pushing the innovation frontier outward, they are making a measurable difference for all of humankind today and for generations to come.”

For more information about this year’s ISHOW participants and winners, please visit:

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education, and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information, visit


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ASME ISHOW Winners and highlights, June 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (raw video files) — ASME
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“The extraordinary inventions put forward by PointCheck, NeoVent, and Solar Hybrid Coffee Roaster will make it possible for doctors to do more to h...
Said JahanmirASME President
Deborah Wetzel, Media Relations Manager, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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