A secondary school boy in Tanzania has constructed a solar powered robot which he says can walk, turn its head, speak and perform other functions with the help of a remote control.
The student Gracious Ephraim, constructed the solar powered robot using local materials including aluminium box, wires, tin containers, pieces of metal and a memory chip for the brain, Tanzanian local newspaper Daily News reported last week.
Explaining the motivation behind his innovation the form six student of Ilboru High School in the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha said that with Tanzania planning to become a 24 hour economy such robots would be much needed.
“Tanzania aims at industrialization, which means factories and other production lines must work 24 hours. But, humans cannot work around the clock, so I envisage to have robots working at night and people during the day. This will also reduce the cost of paying workers overtime,” he explained.
Powered by solar energy the robot cost the student 200,000 Tanzanian Shillings ($89) to put it together in a record 12 months.
Tanzanian students are benefiting from a robotics programme that started early this year and organised by a Korean organisation called E3-Empower Africa.
They are currently training 30 students from two secondary schools in Arusha City to build robots that can clear roads, raise alerts during incidents and then pick or deliver items.
Dubbed the “Robotic Camp” programme for Tanzania, the project facilitator, Esther Seo told the Daily News that they are targeting ordinary schools where students have little or no computer background.
“We are not only training Tanzanian students to produce robots, but also have the same program in the United States, which means this is actually an advanced initiative even for the developed countries,” Seo added.
Green energy experts believe that Africa receive adequate sunlight throughout the years that can be harnessed to produce solar power. However, electricity connection on the continent remains low according to global estimates.