Denis Machariah Talks To Innov8tiv About His ST-MODEL Project Showcased At The JKUAT Tech Expo 5.0
I attended the JKUAT Tech Expo 5.0 held early December, last year, at the JKUT main campus in Juja Town, Kiambu County in Kenya. The JKUAT Tech Expo is an annual event held at the University to allow creative students to pitch their inventions and innovations before a panel of judges, students and potential investors. Each student was given a booth from which they set up their project and showed how they work. The following is booth number 30 for a project dubbed, ST-Model for Toyota Vehicles.
Today I present to you the brains behind the ST-Model for Toyota Vehicles, founded by Denis Machariah (interviewed below) and made possible through his collaboration with student engineers Michael Mureithi and Adams Choma (the two gentlemen on the right and left of Denis in the picture at the top). Now that we have the introductions out of the way, let us hear from the horse’s mouth:
My name is Denis Machariah Muriithi. I am 24years of age and cleared university last year (2014). I was pursuing Bachelor of Science: Mathematics with Applied and Statistics major at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
I am also an entrepreneur, researcher and innovator by passion and Mathematician by Profession
Tell us about your project.
ST-Model is a system that analyzes second-hand cars. Derived from Survivability and Tolerance mathematical model I created from my undergraduate thesis and turned it to practicality.
The ST-model system does run finite analysis of vehicle structure to determine its structural integrity, response of crash avoidance systems and interaction of crash energy mechanism with occupant within the vehicle. So before a client purchases a vehicle let not the shiny rims and sparkling color be the determinant factor. Moreover, customer advisory is offered.
What inspired you to come up with this project?
My inspiration was drawn from my dad experience with cars. Last year he bought a family car from its color, speed gain, stability, and ratings, it was worth every dime (car brand withheld). Two months later we realized the paint was peeling off, and when we took it for repainting we found out that back part of the vehicle is different from the original one; it was welded one. We came to learn that the vehicle was once crashed from behind
Does your project address any socio-economic challenges in Kenya if so tell us about it?
In Kenya, the rate of vehicle ownership has increased in the last few years. For those who cannot afford to buy a new or imported once, they will just have to buy one from a neighbor selling his/her car. Majority of potential buyers call their trusted mechanic or a friend or family member who owns the same brand. Then go for a test drive and depending on their feel and touch sense of the vehicle and also listening to the vehicle’s movements they termed it as perfect. So the ST-Model is perfect, we ‘scan’ vehicle from front to back.
Viability of the project. As long as vehicles exist so shall the project exist and its market. Thus, return on investment is assured and judging by the study cases I have conducted in the market, this product is in need.
This technology has the potential to help insurance companies in better examining the condition of a vehicle; before going ahead and giving it an insurance cover.
Have you taken any steps towards getting a Patent rights or Copyrights for this project
Yes, by spending all my saving on patenting but still not enough to cater all expenses.
What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in executing your idea into a project that can be demonstrated?
Having and Idea is one thing, executing is usually the hard part especially when you do not have resources in terms of finance that is greatly needed to cater for materials, outsourcing labor and commercializing the idea.
Previously some of my projects have been ‘stolen’. You share your idea about a potential solution to a certain problem, and before you execute it, you find it out there done by a friend you trusted.
An idea is worth something when put into practice but before you execute it, you must determined its viability. Does it solve a day to day challenge? Before you find that project that will stand the test of time, it is quite a challenge by itself. However, it is said knowledge is the new currency, so I had to undertake a business course from Richard Ivey School of business to understand the viability of ideas that we have. It was a pain that am benefiting from now.
Did you have any guidance or a role model that helped you along the way in executing this project from just an initial idea you had?
Unfortunately, I had no one to hold my hand in this area. But I would like to thank James Elvis Njeru Ndea for his great input of ensuring that the project is completed and Eunice Mbandi Ireri for the publicity campaign on social media.
Lastly, I would like to point out that within two days clients started contacting me including one major vehicle manufacturer who even sent a representative during one of my showcases.
What advice can you give to fellow students (and African youths in general) out there having big ideas, but no clue on how to begin implementing it.
I will summarize in 20 letters, 10 words: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me