A JKUAT student has developed a smart walking stick that enables the visually impaired to easily navigate to a specific area on their own.

The innovation dubbed, Walking Buddy, was created by Sackey Freshia. The walking stick which is linked to a smart phone, works by predicting the distance between the user and the obstacle and alerts them through sending vibrations or audio.

“The stick is integrated with Google Maps, enabling the user to navigate to a given location on their own, using an audio guide. It also comes with a button that a user can press to immediately contact a person (their emergency contact) in case of anything, and sends their precise location to the contact,” says Freshia.

Walking Buddy was one of the winners in the recently concluded JKUAT Tech Expo which was held last week from 23 – 25 January.  The other innovation which also emerged winner was Safari Wiz.

Safari Wiz was developed through the joint effort of Gilbert Waliuba, Benson Thuku, Langat Nelson and Jafred Simiyu. The mobile application is an innovation equipped with GIS, GPS, Maps and real time alerts that give drivers the mandate to either send or view alerts from other drivers. It warns drivers of police road blocks, bad weather, potholes and accidents on the various roads.

“Safari Wiz will play a critical role in reducing road accidents and help in ensuring swift response in time of emergencies. It will also reduce congestion bedevilling a number of urban areas,” says Gilbert.

Other Winners

On the first runners up position was the Path Finder by Job Muchama, Elias Koome, Hassan Adan and Gideon Omangi. The innovation uses light enabled sensors to help experts  establish the exact position of light when mounting solar panels. This ensures that solar panel users receive maximum power.


Second runners up  was awarded to the automated Alcoblow which detects the level of alcohol in  a driver’s blood and if in excess, the gadget fails to start the engine. The project, a work by Paul Rukwaro, Liz Kasomo and Stephen Muchiri is also fitted with a system that sends a text to a close relative or friend to inform them of the driver’s inability to drive in his condition.


The People Choice Award went to the Zima na Text developed by Ngatia Mwaniki, Denis Mwangi Kariuki and Marystella Natasha. The project which was highly voted for on social media, uses SMS to control home electronics and appliances in a bid to save electricity.

Lainisha ma3 which aims at redefining the matatu sector by preventing overloading and allowing only authorized matatus to carry passengers. It also ensures passengers fasten their belts by failing to start the engine and ringing a buzzer to remind the passenger. If a passenger unbuckles their safety belts ready to alight, the speed is automatically reduced informing the driver to stop.

Mama Fair is an app developed to reduce infant mortality rates. The app comes in three modules that include, prenatal information, immunization and doctors services. Th is helps parents to keep track of the baby’s jabs, provide information on prenatal care for the mother as well as enable patients to consult with their doctors online by availing them to a variety of doctors services.