Africa has become the number one tech hacking continent, in my opinion. Innovation is not just about coming up with new technology, it is about reinventing old technology. We have seen it with William Kamkwamba, the boy that harnessed the wind in Malawi with his electricity providing windmill. As I have written many times before, it is necessity that drives innovation and across the African continent that necessity is pushing individuals from all sectors of society to innovate.
Another young inventor I came across is Simon Petrus, from Abraham Lyambo Senior Secondary School, Namibia. Still a student, he has been able to invent a new mobile phone, albeit not quite as mobile as we have become used to. The difference between this phone and those we use daily, is that it it works for free! This Sim-Free phone uses radio frequencies to place calls as long as it has reception.
Petrus used parts from a telephone and television to build his phone, which doubles as a TV, phone charger, lamp and fan. I know what you are thinking, when will I need to cool my self with my phone? But, this shows how it is possible to join tech together in order to make super tech.
This invention is not just about giving the masses free phone calls, although this would be exciting, it is about inspiring others to think outside what they believe to be the realms of possibility. Kamkwamba’s invention has won the regional leg of the NamPower schools competition and will go on to compete in the national final. It is not even his first invention, as he won the gold award last year with his two-in-one seed drier and cooler machine. He has given not only given NamPower international coverage, he has inspired his peers to also think out side of the box.
He is not the only one to come out of this competition with his head held high. Last year Joshua Nghaamwa built a foil satellite dish booster, which enables fast low cost internet connections. It can fit into a laptop bag and can support Wi-fi and Bluetooth. Another of their developed a social network, Namhook, just for Namibians across the world. “Namhook will help solve many problems like offering free advertisements, artists can sell their songs on the network to their fans rather than roaming around the streets to sell their CDs.” said Nghaamwa.
Are you, or do you know anyone that has invented something in Africa? If so, let me know in the comments section, or on twitter. Please have a look through the previous blogs and share them with your friends!