USIU-Africa secures 2nd place in the L'Oréal Brandstorm Global Competition

By Prisca Akinyi

In a remarkable triumph for Kenyan innovation, Team IRIS, led by Prisca Akinyi, secured an impressive 2nd place in the L'Oréal Brandstorm competition. Out of a staggering 92,000 registrants representing 150 universities worldwide, Team IRIS stood out with their groundbreaking concept, "Iris," an assistive technology aimed at bridging the communication gap between consumers who use sign language and beauty advisors in stores. Their innovative approach not only garnered recognition but also showcased Kenya's talent and potential in the global arena. This accomplishment signifies a significant milestone for the team and the country's contribution to the ever-evolving beauty industry.

In its 31st edition, the competition challenged participants to "Unlock the New Codes of Beauty" by leveraging emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and the Metaverse. Team IRIS embraced this challenge wholeheartedly, showcasing their prowess in merging innovation with inclusivity to revolutionize the beauty shopping experience.

At the heart of Team IRIS's concept lies their innovative creation called "Iris." This assistive technology addresses the communication barriers faced by consumers who use sign language when seeking beauty advice in stores. By utilizing AR and AI, Iris enables a seamless and inclusive shopping experience by bridging the gap between sign language users and beauty advisors. Through a gamified approach, Iris also brings the community together and provides an engaging platform for teaching sign language, fostering inclusion, and promoting understanding.

The climax of the competition took place on June 16, 2023 at the Viva Technology stage in Paris, France. The intense finals brought together exceptional teams from around the world, showcasing their innovative solutions and vying for the top spot. The team will be getting an internship award at the L'Oréal offices amongst other rewards.

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