The COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge, a joint innovation challenge launched in mid-April by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and, announced 10 grand prize winners.

The ten winners were selected from the 400 submissions from over 50 countries, half of which came from low- to lower-middle income countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

The list of winners are below:

1. Connected Visor
2. Digital Stethoscope AI
3. Ecofill – Reuse and Refill Bottles on This Vending Machine
4. Intangible Surface
5. Global Scale Remote Health Monitor
6. Esp8266 Shop Door Assistant
7. Selfcheck Contactless Accurate Body Thermometer
8. Hands-Free Soap, Water and Paper Towel Dispenser
9. Project Theia
10. P3psi, a Web-Driven COVID-19 Carrier Robot (Community Choice Award)

The innovation challenge provided innovators, makers, and developers globally an opportunity to identify open-source, low-tech, and inexpensive hardware solutions to support developing countries in tackling and recovering from COVID-19.

Many of these innovations cost less than US$50 to build, and some as low as $10. Most can be built from globally available and easily sourced components, with instructions available.

Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support stated, “The COVID19 Detect and Protect Challenge addresses the needs and realities of communities by fostering micro-innovation with strong local ownership.”

Open-source is crucial in achieving this as it removes barriers to innovation and provides an opportunity to explore locally implementable recovery options,” he further stated.

Adam Benzion, Co-Founder of Hackster stated, “We have run innovation challenges for some of the biggest names in technology, but this has been our most successful initiative ever with thousands of participants and more than 300 high-quality submissions. Each idea likely represents hundreds of hours of design and engineering efforts that might not have come to life if it wasn’t for the global Hackster community. Most importantly, we are now providing the tools and equipment needed to get these innovations to the places where they can make the most difference.”

As a way forward, the focus is now on building and testing these solutions on the ground, where relevant, and supporting community-driven supply chains in developing countries to get these innovations to where they are needed most. With the aim to ensure positive impact on the global fight against COVID-19, this process has demonstrated how global innovations can be captured and applied locally with the promise to make real, sustainable change.

By working with global tech partners in this effort, the UNDP is hopeful that this challenge can help speed up response and recovery efforts, getting countries and communities a bit closer to the new normal.

Source: UNDP

Joseph-Albert Kuuire
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana. Email: [email protected]

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