Thursday, October 23, 2014

Innovations at the Malawi Science and Technology Fair

The #Malawi Science and Technology Fair is underway at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds. It was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Vincent Ghambi on 22nd October 2014. I took time to visit and appreciate the various Science ICT and technology innovations on display. Below are some of the innovations, technologies and ideas.

On the Chancellor College Faculty of Science stand

There are several innovations on display including some from students who are not yet in the college but are learning in secondary schools around Zomba. Under the Supervisorship of Dr Chimora Mikeka the students are given the freedom to use the university's lab to work on their ideas.

Radio Jammer / Detector

Using various electronic components sourced locally, Happy Chimbende a 4th Year student of Bachelor of Education Science has designed a simple radio frequency jammer and detector which can jam radio frequencies around a radius of 50 meters. The device is capable of nullifying signals like FM and AM, radios, phones or any gadget that uses radio frequencies. Happy has intentionally reduced the radius to avoid interfering with other people unlawfully.

The Radio frequency jammer can be used to block all unlicensed spectrum user at a give radius. We tried using it and it worked.

There is also an innovation from Mixon Faluweki a guy who invented a bicycle powered phone charger. Mixon, a third year Bachelor of Education Science student was shortlisted among top 15 African finalist in the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Competition. He was nominated for his bicycle powered charger called, Padoko Charger. The innovation is on display at the Chancellor college stand.

A 14 year old girl from St Mary's Secondary School, Elizabeth Kananji is also displaying her High Efficiency Solar panel she managed to invent. A solar panel enhanced with aluminium foils is able to generate more electricity than a normal panel.

Then there is another 3rd year Bachelor of Education Science student, Chisomo Daka, who displayed a battery made from ashes and a locally made television transmitter. He explained to me on this video.

Other innovations included;

An idea to computerise the filing system at the Malawi Police Service. The web-based content management system is called Malawi Police Crime Management Information System. According to a member of the team that developed the system, Jonathan Mojoo, the want to help the police service to deal away with manual filing systems which is often abused and is time consuming.

An android app that translates English to Chichewa and another Android app that is used to collect Data in fields and update a central server in real time. All these innovations were under the supervision of Lecturers Dr Chimora Mikeka and Ms. Chipo Kanjo.

Malawi Communications Regulation Authority (MACRA) Stand

The regulatory body is displaying what happens behind the scenes when they monitor the signals all over the country. With various screens on display one is able to appreciate the way the frequency spectrum spans out in real time. They also have their monitoring van parked outside the hall.

Globe Internet Malawi Stand

Apart from being one of the big Internet Service Provider, Globe also sells and manages a vehicle monitoring system which is on display on their stand.

Other stands are TNM, MALSWITCH, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Anglia Books, Techno Brain and Infosys Consult.

However the turnout of both the participants, the innovations and general public is not impressive in the two days it has been running. The Fair will run up to Friday 24 October 2014.