Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

iHub Robotics 2013 and Beyond

By Joseph
iHub
  Published 30 Jan 2013
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In the last year, we have grown a community of hackers and tech enthusiasts through both online engagement and the series of bootcamps and hackathons that were held in 2012. These were great opportunities for our participants to both gain access to the tools and skills needed to build the different projects, as well as engage them into sharing knowledge and ideas. Given the success of last year's NASASpaceAppsChallenge, we are looking forward to taking part in this year’s international challenge and winning in more categories. It is refreshing to seeing new faces at each our meet ups, most of whom are beginners, eager to enter the world of robotics and who then continue to build and create their own projects. iHub Robotics is enthusiastic about bringing new skill sets to the iHub community and engaging more tinkerers and makers.

Hacking on the intelligent traffic light system is one of our on-going projects for this year. We will be working to build partnerships with stakeholders in the sector in order to build a more feasible and robust system that is ideal for the Kenyan road traffic situation. Our plan is to develop this into a research project on the various hypotheses surrounding congestion of Kenyan roads and how technology, through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), can be used to create solutions to this problem. We urge you to take up this opportunity to be positive change makers through the vehicle of technology.

We will have meet-ups every Friday from 4pm - 5.30pm for robotics geeks at the iHub. Infact, we have one this Friday (1st Feb) from 4pm - 5.30pm at the iHub - we will be discussing the traffic system and other cool stuff such as applications with the Raspberry Pi.

One of the outcomes of our September boot camp was shortlisted for MakerFaireAfrica 2012 which was held in Lagos, Nigeria. This was a first for iHub Robotics and has highlighted the great potential present in the growing community of robotics enthusiasts. The Weatherman, a hand-held weather measuring device that incorporates the use of GSM technology, was one of the challenges that started being built during our last boot camp. This device is currently in the prototype stage and is being refined in its functionality and specifications. One of our challenges has been finding locally available electronics needed to build the first version of the prototype and consequently future versions of the device. We are looking to work with interested parties on this project, both tech enthusiasts as well as stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The Weatherman project has great potential to build up into a research project on the role of technology in facilitating access to reliable and hyper localized weather information in Africa, particularly in the often inaccessible and remote agricultural areas.

'Solar powered phone charger mounted on a t-shirt made at the Maker Faire Africa pop-up makerspace'

Maker Faire Africa was a unique opportunity for JulietWanyiri, the iHub Robotics intern, to assist in setting up the pop-up makerspace at the event together with BilalGhalib, a tech enthusiast who works on setting up makerspaces in the Arab world as means of empowering people through a global empowerment initiative called GEMSI. This makerspace provided the participants and guests of the annual event with the tools and equipment needed to build and create. From 3D printing, Arduino workstations, soldering stations to Little Bits and Legos for the kids, there was something for everyone to get their hands busy with.

Be sure to look out for an all new door system at the iHub developed by part of iHub Robotics team led by Jessica Colaco. The system incorporates the use of a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system, a pilot project of hacking on systems that iHubbers can directly interact with and in this way apply skills learned during our meet-ups as well as explore new areas for innovation and ingenuity.

We are looking forward to your participation as the community in our upcoming events and together; build more innovative projects and take part in a host of robotics challenges both locally and internationally.

 

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