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Simon Mwaura

African Inventors

April, 2011
Simon Mwaura is a Kenyan electrician and inventor who has developed a mechanism that can activate several automated gadgets from an ordinary mobile phone. The system put in place allows its owner to open or lock his door or to receive an alert if an intruder opens the door, switch on/off lights and start a tea maker. All this is done remotely using a mobile phone that sends orders to a control panel that looks like a maze made of several wires, sensors, electric motors, switches, etc. This control panel is what the inventor calls the "motherboard".

In a nutshell, this is how the system operates. The owner makes a first call to perform task number 1 as memorized by the system. In case task 2 needs to be performed, the owner calls a second time. Here, a fixed phone disconnects the first call after relaying the signal from call number 2. If tasks number 3, 4, 5 need to be performed, the owner calls 3, 4 or 5 times successively and the fixed phone keeps on disconnecting previous calls and relaying incoming calls to perform the appropriate task.

The fixed home phone plays a key role inside the whole mechanism as it sends signals in the form of vibrations to the motherboard where orders are relayed to a motor which connects the signal to a switch rack; then the switch rack directs the final event according to the command.

As of the tea maker, it was modified from a small deep-frying machine. A container is positioned at the base of the fryer which has an electrical coated coil, while milk is poured in a separate container. Tea leaves are also placed in a much smaller independent container hooked to the milk container. To activate the tea maker, Simon Mwaura places five successive calls to the fixed phone. The motherboard gets the message and starts the tea making process. The milk container tilts and pours the milk and the leaves into a container and, after about 4/5 minutes, a light turns on and a sound detonates. The tea is ready and the container tilts and pours the tea into a thermos like container.

When Africans, but not only, see such innovations, it is really becoming frustrating to see Africa not taking off economically and industrially simply because those in charge, at the top, just don't care. However, Africa will make it when African investors who truly believe in its industrialization invest in such innovations so that they can be mass-produced. And for sure, Simon Mwaura can certainly do much more, and better if sponsored.

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