African innovations that could change the world
Welcome to the bleeding-edge of African innovation: VR, 3D printing, AI and the rest. The continent isn't just driving technological change for Africa, but for the world. Read below to discover the inventions and innovations coming out of Africa.
3D printing - 3D printing is gaining traction in Africa. In 2013, WoeLabs tech hub in Togo made the first "Made in Africa" 3D printer from e-waste. They want to use the 3D printer to revolutionize Africa. They're starting by putting a machine in every school within 1km of the workshop. Buni Hub is another tech center, based in Tanzania, that is building 3D printers.
Biomedical smart jacket — Pneumonia is a deadly condition. It's responsible for 16% of all deaths of children under five. A main contributing factor to this is slow diagnosis. Ugandan inventor Brian Turyabagye has created a biomedical smart jacket that can diagnose the condition four times faster than a doctor. It's also more accurate. It analyzes the chest and then sends the information via Bluetooth to a smartphone app.
Africa's space race — African countries are developing groundbreaking technology for space exploration. Look no further than the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) in South Africa which, once completed, is set to be world's largest telescope. It will allow scientists to look many times deeper into space.
Virtual Reality — VR has the potential to change many industries. One example is mining, a profession which has its dangers and risks. In an effort to create a safe yet accurate training environment, a team at the University of Pretoria, South Africa have a created the continent's first VR mine. The center allows students and mining staff to train in a simulated mining environment. African filmmakers are also making forays into VR experimentation. Examples of recent releases are Let This Be A Warning and The Other Dakar.
Africa's homegrown car industry — 'Made in Africa' cars are on the rise. Mobius Motors are a Kenyan based car company who are releasing the second model of their stripped-down, cost-effective but luxury SUV built for rough terrains. They aim to sell the car to the African mass market, and anywhere else in the world with poor quality roads.
Fusing neurons with silicon technology — Nigerian inventor, Osh Agabi, has created a device that fuses live neurons from mice stem cells into a silicon chip -- for the first time. The device can be used to detect explosives and cancer cells.
Revolutionizing rural healthcare — Cameroonian entrepreneur, Arthur Zang, has invented a touch-screen heart monitoring device that records, and then sends heart activity to a national healthcare center for evaluation. It could have hugely positive potential for rural populations far from hospitals.
Artifical intelligent farming — The South Africa based drone software company aims to help farmers optimize their output using artificial intelligence. They have created a data-analytics platform, Aeroview, which combines satellite, drone and artificial intelligence technology to improve agricultural practices
Robot traffic wardens — In Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, traffic is a huge issue -- like in many of the world's megacities. Drivers spend hours stuck in traffic jams. A team of Congolese engineers, based at the Kinshasa Higher Institute of Applied Technique, have created human-like robots to help tackle problem. The machines are equipped with four cameras that allow them to record traffic flow. The information is then transmitted to a center where it can be analyzed, and then used to direct traffic.
Solar energy revolution — According to the International Energy Agency over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity. Off Grid Electric, an African startup backed by Elon Musk's Solar City, is looking to solve this by initiating the rapid supply of solar panels across Africa They charge $7 a month for the system. It already powers 125,000 households. Could this be a big step forward for the 1.3 billion people globally who lack access to electricity?
3D tech — The Zamani Project, based in South Africa, is concerned with the preservation of African heritage sites. They use high-tech scanning systems which document these sites in remarkable detail.
Flying car — It's been the dream of sci-fi enthusiasts and inventors for decades, but has this Nigerian man created a flying jet car that can dodge traffic? Kehinde Durojaiye, or "Kenny Jet", is attempting to build an aero-amphibious jet car. He's driven it on sea and land. Now it's only the air that he has left to conquer.