College Graduate Invents Hand washing Gadget With Sensors

A Rwandan young graduate has fabricated an automatic user friendly hand washing unit that can be used in families and public venues.

Lambert Ruringana 20, a graduate from Nyanza Polytechnic institute in Southern Province is worried about securing a job after school.

Last year, before graduation day, Ruringana invited two classmates Derrick Shema and Yves Nasenge. They brainstormed on several ideas but zeroed in on making automated electric cooking stoves.

However, along the way they realised the stove project was too expensive to execute and wouldn’t have great impact on peoples’ lives. Therefore, Ruringana invited his colleagues for another brainstorming.

On this second attempt, the trio identified possibility of  fabricating an automated hand washing gadget, ‘Egera ukarabe’.

Technically the gadget is fitted with heat sensors and when someone extends his hands towards the gadget, water is automatically released and one can wash their hands.

The gadget comprises of a water container fitted with temperature sensor and a tap all installed on a well-designed metal tripod.

Ruringana had conducted three trials which were unsuccessful because the heat censors were senstive to the sun heat. However, the fourth trial was a success; the water tap can only open when it senses only body temperature.

“Egera ukarabe’ makes the washing hand process much easier; the user needs just to get close to the tap and water comes out, and once finished, the water stops.

It works more like an automatic hand dryer but can also be installed in a washroom.

“We have a vital motivation; disabled people need a facility that helps them wash their hands/body without struggle,” said Ruringana.

“We are also looking for equipment that can help save water as the country suffers shortage.”

According to Ruringana the tool gives an option to adjust water flow, which helps to save water up to 70% compared to the ordinary ways of water consumption.

A piece of Egera Ukarabe costs between Rwf 50,000 and Rwf 70,000 including installation in the house.

Automatic means plugged on power. Egera Ukarabe consumes as little power as a cell phone, an estimate 3-6volts, according to Ruringana.

It is part of the “Made in Rwanda” promotion, which was an objective of the just concluded 19th international trade fair was taking place at Gikondo expo ground in Kigali.

Ruringana was the winner of best innovation award for this edition. The award is given by Rwanda Private Sector Federation to a Rwandan with outstanding innovation that answers a particular problem in the community.

Rwanda is encouraging the youth to be innovative to counter the 3% unemployment rate and the youth is responding positively.

Investors willingness

Currently, Ruringana has capacity to produce 100 pieces in a month. Prior to his Egera Ukarabe however, other innovations were made, but they lacked investors to make them productive.

The biggest challenge they are encountering could be in relation with property right. A slightly similar manual innovation “Kandagira ukarabe”(step and wash) was also fabricated in 2007.

Emmanuel Nshimyumukiza 32, a pharmacist who claims ownership of this technology is crying fool that his technology “was plagiarized and is being used in many hospitals without me earning a coin from it.”

He says, “I am actually losing Rwf 100 million annually because I had not registered it at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).”

However, Ruringana’s Egera Ukarabe was registered at RDB under ‘S-MAT GROUP LIMITED’, and the owner believes, “anyone plagiarizing my work will be sued.”

His only hope is that “Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health among others will find my tool appropriate for schools and health facilities respectively.”