Tech In Africa - Five Momentous Technological Advances Emerging From Africa
Africa is known as the cradle of civilization the world over! Although this might come across as another charade to distract us from reaching our full potential, recent advancements in the field of applied science brought about by native inventors born and raised in Africa has succeeded in bringing us one step closer to the light of this fact.
From the oil rich nation of Nigeria, to the Cape Peninsula of Southern-Africa and indeed all across the continent, a new crop of creative thinkers are emerging at a rapid pace. The following invention proves that Africa is dynamic and has a lot to offer the world besides tourism.
1. Biomedical Smart Jacket
Over the years, pneumonia seems to persist in afflicting a lot of kids in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNICEF, pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under five, killing approximately 2,400 children a day. A major challenge arising from tackling this menace relies entirely on timely intervention and accurate diagnosis of this disease condition. It is for this reason that Brian Turyabagye created the Biomedical Smart Jacket.
The Ugandan inventor watched his close friend and business partner lost her grandmother to pneumonia after she was mistakenly diagnosed with malaria. This prompted Turyabagye to come up with a solution. The Biomedical Smart Jacket also known as “Mamaope” or “Mother’s hope” was born out of compassion for humanity and has been reported to be four times faster, and more accurate than a doctor’s diagnosis. It analyzes the chest region of the patient and sends the medical data via a Bluetooth device to a Smartphone app for interpretation.
2. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM)
IVM is a Nigerian automobile manufacturing company founded by Chief Innocent Chukwuma and runs a plant in the Eastern region of the country. Although a few vehicular parts are sourced from China, Japan and Germany, more than 70% of the car parts are produced locally, making IVM an indigenous brand.
By utilizing the concept of regionalization in manufacturing vehicles, IVM has been able to successfully come up with build-ups to suit the Nigerian environment. From fuel economy to low/no overheating mechanisms incorporated into these vehicles, IVM has managed to win the hearts of Nigerians even as they strive to build more durable and affordable vehicles to meet up with rising demands.
3. Usalama app - A crime fighting app
The Usalama app is a crime fighting app developed by Edwin Inganji a young Kenyan inventor alongside three of his friends; James Chege, Kenneth Gachukia, and Marvin Makau.
After an incident of theft, Edwin felt despondent as he couldn’t get any help. This prompted him to team up with friends of like passion to create an app that will curb crime. The app works by connecting people with emergency service providers, and sends their exact location when they shake their phone three times. It also alerts other Usalama users within 200 meters and warns them of impeding danger.
With the growing usage and subscription to the Usalama app, crime has been further curtailed, thereby granting crime fighting organizations across the globe ease of operation. Edwin and his friends are looking to expand their technology beyond Africa in order to help make people safer.
4. BeSpecular - An app for the blind
The BeSpecular app lets blind people see through your eyes. Originating from South Africa, this app allows volunteers to remotely assist the visually impaired.
As a visually impaired person (VIP), you might encounter some challenges that will require a quick verification from a good sighted fellow. This is where the BeSpecular app comes into play.
By using an algorithm to connect the right people, this app is able to utilize the text-to-speech technique amongst VIPs and a community of Sightlings thereby bridging the gap between visual impairment and the accomplishment of daily tasks. The BeSpecular app is available to both Android and iOS users.
5. The Cardiopad
Despite being born into a very poor family and lacking certain privileges, Arthur Zang from the Republic of Cameroon was able to come up with the first medical touch screen tablet device.
The Cardiopad was invented to aid patients living in remote rural regions of Africa gain access to top-notch health services. This device records and sends signals detailing the activities of the human heart to medical specialists for accurate interpretation. Ever since the development of this device in 2010, rural dwellers have been medically catered for thereby reducing the risk of heart disease in the region.
With several technological advances (the first of its kind) emerging from Africa in recent times, I make bold to say that Africa can no longer be referred to as “the forgotten continent” but a place of hope and erudition. However, this feat should serve as a motivation, prompting us to do more even as we embrace the idea of pan-Africanism. For truly, a new generation of creative thinkers has risen from the dark continent of Africa to shine a light on the rest of the world!