They say you don’t know something unless you learn about it. Viewing the second largest continent from space at night, it gives you a glimpse of light in some areas and total darkness in others.
But despite political and economic challenges millennials are re-engineering and causing the continent to glow with new inventions.
The innovators are not just driving technological change for Africa, but for the world. Let’s learn about what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and what they envision in years to come:
3D printing in Africa
Africa is not lagging in this area, as 3D printing continues to gain traction within and outside the continent. 8 years ago (2013), a 3D printer made from e-waste was invented by WoeLab, a tech hub in Togo. WoeLab continues to revolutionize Africa putting a 3D machine in every school.
Another tech hub, joining to improve 3D printing in Africa is Buni Hub from Tanzania and proudly imprinting “Made in Africa”.
It’s no longer a surprise that kids in Africa create drones now. 11 year old, Karabo Matlali in 2019 was building her drone each day after school.
A South African company created a data-analytics platform called Aeroview which combines drone with satellite, and AI technology to improve agriculture. This supports farmers to optimize output using AI.
Africans are utilizing AI tech to introduce innovative solutions. In Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, AI has been creatively used to solve traffic problems by a group of engineers. Straight out of Kinshasa Higher Institute of Applied Technique, these smart heads created human-like robots equipped with cameras as well as programming the AIs to send data to different areas for analysis and for direct traffic control.
Visionaries are known for constantly trying to change the status quo no matter how many times they fail. A burning passion keeps them going. Kehinde Durojaiye is one of them inventing a flying jet car.
Kenny Jet has been seen on sea and on land. He is working round the clock to fly in space.
Talking about space, Africa is developing record-breaking tech for space exploration. South Africa’s Square Kilometer Array (SKA), once completed is set to be world’s largest telescope. It will enable scientists to look countless times deeper into space.
Cancer cells detector
For the first time, Osh Agabi from Nigeria has created a device that can detect cancer cells, and fuse live neurons from mice stem cells into a silicon chip. The device can also be used to detect explosives.
Also, Cameroonian health entrepreneur, Arthur Zang invented a touch-screen heart monitoring device that records, and sends heart activity to a national healthcare center for analysis and evaluation.
According to International Energy Agency more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity.
With the support of Elon Musk’s Solar City, an African startup called Off Grid Electric is producing and distributing solar panels across Africa rapidly like rainfall.
It already powers over 125,000 households. This has the potential to provide electricity to 1.3 billion people living in the dark globally.
By installing Usalama, a panic button app, and shaking your smartphone three times, distress signals are sent to emergency service providers connected to the device providing them your exact location as well.
Usalama was developed by Marvin Makau, Edwin Inganji and Kenneth Gachukia from Kenya. Besides emergency service providers, the app also alerts family and friends within 200 meters. These developers are looking forward to expanding their company and to touch more lives with Usalama.
Another app touching lives is BeSpecular, an app from South Africa which allows volunteers to remotely assist blind people.
The app uses an algorithm that connects people of similar age and physical location.
Ugandan inventor, Brian Turyabagye is saving children’s lives with his biomedical smart jacket which can diagnose pneumonia conditions four times faster than a doctor.
The smart jacket is accurate. When worn, it reads the chest and sends data via Bluetooth to a smartphone app in a blink of an eye.
Financial Technology (Fintech)
Where the rest of the world has lagged behind in finance technology, Africa has led the way with mobile payments.
With MFS Africa, M-Pesa, Paystack, Flutterwave and so many mobile and digital payment platforms, local and international transactions have been made easy at the tip of your finger.
Have you seen “Let This Be A Warning” and The Other Dakar” by Lerato Maduna?
VR has the potential to change many industries, and African filmmakers are making huge improvements with VR experimentation.
In a life-threatening area such as mining, a team at the University of Pretoria in South Africa built Africa’s first VR mine where students and lecturers train in a simulated environment.
Cars made in Africa are no longer news. Mobius Motors among others is a Kenyan based car company who are releasing cost-effective and luxurious SUVs designed to keep you comfortable in rough terrains.
Mobius like other car-producing companies in Africa aim to sell affordable African cars to low-income earners.
The Zamani Project is preserving Africa’s heritage sites employing high-tech scanning systems which document the sites in remarkable detail.
Watch a four minute video of the Zamani Project:
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.