Inventions made in Kenya

Posted: July 22, 2014 in Africa, Kenya
Tags: , , ,

Well, this title doesn’t necessarily mean that the following personalities made their inventions while in Kenya, it’s just a way to stress that a Kenyan did it. Being just like any other typical Kenyan, I like to celebrate everything any Kenyan does to raise the flag of our Nation high. We are so vain! images.jpgj

Kenya is reknown world over for its prowess in athletics, rugby, horticulture,M-Pesa, coffee, tea, wildlife, beautiful climate, ….name it. We also love to celebrate that US president Obama is half Kenyan, half American: that the first African to win the Oscars(Lupita Nyongo), the first African woman to win the Noble Prize (Wangari Maathai), I could go on and on.

But on another front, how has Kenya faired on making inventions and innovations? We sought to dig deeper.

1.Charging shoes
Charger-ShoeCharging shoes is one invention that was developed by our very own Antony Mutua. This technology is applied to charge phones using power generated by pedestrians. The invention consists of a thin crystal chip that is fitted to the sole of the shoe.(It costs $46 to fit the chip to a shoe) As a person walks, electricity is generated through the pressure that is exerted on the sole during walking by the persons weight. The chip carries the current through an extension cable that extends to the phone in the pocket. One does not have to keep walking to charge the phone as the shoe can continue to charge it by releasing the stored energy after the shoe remains static. This way one can afford to walk without the wiring system and still be able to generate energy to be transferred to your mobile phone at a later time

innovatorKenyan Gabriel Nderitu Muturi spent an unsuccessful three years building a homemade two-seater aircraft running on a 40-litre Toyota engine.

The IT consultant, whose firm Fincom is based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, found scrap aluminium bars, hollow tubes, bolts and plastic sheeting to make his planes – sticking it all together with some gum.

He has spent more than a million Kenyan shillings (£7,100) on his hobby and learned almost everything he knows on the internet.The part-time entrepreneur has already made more than 10 planes but has never managed to get any of them off the ground. Many of his prototypes have been deemed too heavy, while another crashed on two concrete poles and broke a propeller.

helicopFarmhand Onesmus Mwangi, from the Nairobi district of Magomano, managed to build a 25kg helicopter from scrap material which he flew a foot off the ground – but was fired when his boss said the media attention was distracting him from his work.

Mwangi, 20, dropped out of school at the age of 12 and has no formal technical training. His labour of love took up every spare waking moment outside his farm job for over seven months, not to mention his savings of 57,000 Kenyan Shillings ($650) – about a year-and-a-half’s salary for him.

Kenyans have tried to pen their names in the history books of aviation by building their own kind of airplane. But many have not been successful in their endeavors. But the story is different for Moses Gichanga an IT specialist who literally innovated a pilotless plane.

Moses Gichanga drone flies for up to two hours at a time. This drone has been proven to effectively deter poaching, and preserve Africa’s wildlife population. In fact, the United States uses Gichanga’s drone to monitor its borders. He now needs funding to launch his business operations, targeted at monitoring Africa’s wildlife reserves.

5.Solar powered lanterns
t1larg.wadongo.cnnEvans Wadongo may not be the first to have invent solar powered lanterns but is idea was so noble that it won his accolades world over. He was also recognized as a CNN Hero back in 2010.

His idea was not only to give his country’s rural families a way to replace the smoky kerosene and firelight with solar power that may cause respiratory and optical challenges, but also to improve education and reduce poverty and hunger. Did I mention that he was providing the lanterns for free? The selfless engineer also resisted offers to a tune of a $1.2 million to sell the rights of his invention to a potential buyer.

6.Tamper proof voting Machine
maxwell-voting-machineMaxwell Collins is a stellar example of a young bright kid who identified pressing challenges in his own community, and decided to do something about it. In the wake of Kenya’s 2007 Post election violence, he decided to combat voter fraud by building his own tamper proof voting Machine.

Maxwell-and-his-mother outside their house

Maxwell-and-his-mother outside their house

His voting machine is a master piece of invention and electric work.Just like many African innovators who lack funds for their projects,Collins uses scrap materials and simple electrical wires to teach himself what he needs to know for his new projects and does not stop until he has succeeded.

The voting machine is a light sensitive apparatus that integrates the entire voting process into one circuit. First, the voter’s hand is scanned for ink, to detect whether the person has already voted. If the hand if ink free it gets marked with special ink. Then, an individualized voter chip and fingerprint test activates the actual voting process. The way the machine is set up right now, it allows you to vote between two different people or options. Once the voting has been completed an automatic tallying system adds up the votes AND has the ability to send the information to a centralized tallying centre. This helps to reduce the chances of fraud. However, this is not the end of the story. Differently abled people can also cast their votes using voice recognition alone. Braille voting tabs even allow the blind to cast their votes independently. index

7.Lion lights
dnews-files-2013-02-Boys_Lion_Invention660x433-jpgLions are a constant threat to farmers around Nairobi National Park in Kenya. Cattle were their preferred late-night snack. Turere, 11 years old at the time, was charged with protecting his family’s cows, sheep and goats. He noticed that the lions stayed away when he moved around at night with a flashlight.

A few weeks later Turere came up with a low-cost solution that came to be known as “Lion Lights.” He attached LEDs to poles around the animals’ area and faced them outward. Turere programmed the lights to flicker intermittently, resembling a human with a flashlight. He hooked them to a switch box and powered them with a solar panel and an old car battery.

young-boy-from-kenya-outsmarts-lions-with-his-ingenius-invention-feature1Since Turere set up the Lion Lights, his family has not lost a single animal to lions. His simple idea not only saved his family cattles, it also helped save lions from being killed by maasai morans. So impressed were the conservatives that they helped him secure scholarship in one of the best school in Kenya. Turere has also been invited to speak at TED conferences in Nairobi and California.

7.George Kabiru.

One man stands out like the Einstein of Kenya. The little recognised man made a range of inventions that I will now break down to you, ladies and gentlemen.

Crime-Deterring Alarm
index.jpghOne popular invention that has rated tops among Kenyans is an alarm-fitted television. Matchbox-sized and running on batteries, the alarm simply fits onto the back of a standard TV set (or fridge, computer, VCR, etc.). The alarm can be set off with a simple jostle of movement and can sound for up to eight hours, scaring off would-be robbers who don’t necessarily want to carry a blaring item down the street.

Charcoal Stove
George Kabiru is also responsible for the creation of a charcoal stove, also known as a “solar jiko.” It is perfectly designed for the typical non-electric towns of Kenya, and it works best in cool, high-altitude regions. Simply an insulated wood box with two glass windows fastened over the top, one window works to allow in heat from the sun while the other promotes accelerated heat absorption. The sun’s reflection bounces against an aluminum coating, which then heats the box and adequately cooks food.

Washing machine
washThe invention Kabiru is most proud of is his washing machine – a plastic container fixed on a stand and operated manually by turning a wheel.

He says he had people without electricity in mind when I made the machine.The machine can wash clothes, blankets, linen and canvas bags in it and it takes a load of 40 kilogrammes.

He sells the washing machine for about $68. So proud is Kabiru of the invention, that he has patented it.

8.Solar-Powered Refrigerator

One of the latest inventions to come out of an organization based in Kenya is a solar-powered refrigerator which is also portable. This allows vaccinations and other medications and valuable perishables to reach far corners of rural cities where there is no hope of finding electricity and adequate resources for medical treatment. First tested in New York, but now complete and brought back to its native Kenya, this cutting-edge refrigeration technology will be first used by the Nomadic Communities Trust.

9.Underwater pets housing
nh120312_02Erik Kariuki, a kenyan living in Bedfordshire, UK combined a hamster cage with a fish tank to make an underwater housing for pets.He hopes that the invention will be in stores soon. Mark you, he turned down a $1.2 million offer to sell the rights of his invention to a potential buyer.

10.SMS car immobiliser
kenyan_mobile_car-578-80Morris Mbetsa, a teenage boy developed the anti-theft and tracking system despite having no formal training, thanks to a love of taking gadgets apart.

The real-time system uses a combination of voice, DTMF and SMS text messages over cell-based phone service to carry codes and messages that allow control of some of a vehicles’ electrical systems including the ignition to manage vehicle activation and disabling remotely in real time.

When the ignition is started when the car is supposed to be locked, the vehicle rings the owner and he or she must punch in a code to allow it to start.

The system also can patch in to the car’s conversations, so if your hot-rod has been hot-wired you can hear the thieves laughing and congratulating one another.

11. Tablet – Kaboo
Two Kenyans, Kelvin Jayanoris and Nicole Wambere, were the brains behind Noris Technologies. With the funding of their parents to the tune of Ksh 1.5 Million, the two came up with Noris Kaboo tablet computer as early as 2011, the first tablet made in Kenya.

The Kaboo tabled was designed by Noris technologies in collaboration with some Chinese partners which makes it an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) tablet. ODM is a company which designs and manufactures a product which is specified and eventually branded by another firm for sale. So Noris specified what they wanted and since they did not have the technical expertise, they involved the Chinese company to give the Technical input.

The 7 inch tablet runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, supports 3G, Wi-Fi just to mention a few of its specifications.

12. Mobile Internet router
BRCK, is a device that, in many ways, is the antithesis of Apple’s shiny products, yet potentially just as revolutionary. True to form, on the bottom of every BRCK is the declaration “Made in Kenya, Assembled in America.”

BRCK, is a self-powered, mobile Wi-Fi device.” It is essentially a mobile Internet router. It connects to the web in three ways: by plugging in a standard ethernet cable, by bridging with other Wi-Fi networks, or by accessing 3G or 4G data via a basic SIM card.

Ushahidi invented it in order to overcome infrastructure challenges—specifically, inconsistent electricity and Internet connectivity—plaguing young upstarts in Nairobi.

While designed in Kenya, BRCK is manufactured and assembled deep in the heart of Texas, by a company called Silicon Hills located outside of Austin. According to its CEO, BRCK couldn’t also be manufactured in Kenya because of the considerable import taxes and time delays when bringing components into the country.

13. Laptop
The computing device, conceived and designed under the TAIFA Brand, is a maiden product of the Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park (NITP), a subsidiary of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

The laptop is the first locally conceived and designed computer to retail in Kenya. It is assembled from both custom and general parts. The laptop was launched in June 2015.




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  8. george kabiru says:

    Hi i am George Kabiru and have just come across this post. Pleased to read the positive comments. I have since made other inventions that have never gone public. Thanks.


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  22. Simon Itabari Mwenda says:

    Great work my fellow countrymen and women. As a priest, a theologian and a self-taught historian of Black history, i spend a lot of time trying to build morale among Africans about their great potential. Many Africans ran the risk of suffering inferiority complex before other races of men, simply on account of our little cultural output in the last 500 years. Many people do not know that black people were world leaders in the ancient world. I insist in recovering this history because i know that history is always a firm foundation for hope; a hope that is rooted in God of course, our most ancient Father. I am proud of these Kenyans because they confirm what i have always taught; that Africans can and indeed must be world leaders again; this time not just in culture, but also in the grace and righteousness of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we become leaders who do not oppress or exploit those who will be weaker than us, but instead we will love them.


  23. Brian cruz says:

    wow that is great for kenya,thanks to all of those who have taken their hand in the inventions.


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  26. I have an invention that can raise Kenya on high i am in mathare 4a


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  28. Ronald Odhiambo says:

    Can you send me contains of these great innovetors for an interview for an up coming tv show. Thank you. I need the names and contacts.


  29. Yator says:

    This is great job my fellow inventors


  30. Kiogora says:

    Quite a read, didn’t know Kenyans are so innovative.
    Could you kindly get me contacts for George Kabiru, will appreciate so much.


  31. 1098j says:

    and this is why the government should only get sireous with inventors and this country will industrilize on its own


  32. […] to be transferred to your mobile phone at a later time. For more on Kenyan inventions follow this link ZIMBABWE Engineer Jeremia Sundire,a Bachelor of Science degree in Agro-engineering from the […]


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