One of the most ambitions items at Maker Faire Africa this year in Johannesburg, South Africa is Samuel Ngobeni’s “art car”. He’s a designer from Germinston, who has spent the last three years building his ANIMAL car, from the ground up, that means the frame and all. It’s a work in progress, though starting in 2011, it’s not quite done yet.
The first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s completely covered in denim. When I asked him why, he said, “because it’s tough and can withstand a lot of things like the sun and rain, like the cowboys, that’s why I chose it.”
At first glance, from afar, it looks a bit like a BMW shape, but when you get close you can tell just how much customization and work went into it. Then, when he opens the hood and shows you underneath, you can see that he actually hand-built the whole thing with steel piping and sheet metal, by hand.
It’s running a 3 liter, straight 6 cylinder engine, has suicide doors and leather seats.
Samuel’s next big idea is to find a v8 or v12 engine, slap that inside a custom built 6-wheel vehicle (4 in front, 2 in back) and then skin it all in croc-skin. His denim ANIMAL is already pretty slick, so his next car can only get better, and it sounds like it’ll be a lot more powerful and meaner too!
How You Can Help
It’s difficult for designers like Samuel to get far on their own. He’s looking for someone who can take him to the next level. We’re setting up an email address for him now, but you can reach him on WhatsApp at 0822 110122 for now.
What happens when two 25 year old guys have enough knowledge to hack tuktuk’s and motorcycles, and enough time to to do it?
Ibrahim Adekunle and Shola Omoniyi are the brains behind what they call the “Tricycle Limo” and “Tricycle Jeep”.
The Tricycle Limo can hold up to 12 people, plus driver, the Tricycle Jeep can hold 5 people, plus driver. Both vehicles cost between 100-200k Naira ($600-1200) to rent for the day, and are often on call for weddings, carnivals and other events.
The Tricycle Limo takes about 1.5m Naira ($9,500) to make, and about 2 weeks to put together once they have the money. This is their first one to make, and they didn’t have enough money to do it all at once, so it took them 3 weeks to create. It’s a super-long vehicle, so I asked how they strengthen the chassis, and they do that with a very strong pipe.
The Tricycle Jeep is actually a stranger mod, using a tuktuk chassis and a 2 cylinder engine from a vehicle. The front grill can hold 100 kilos of weight, which they use for carrying bags of rice, jerry cans of water, or for mounting speakers on at events.
Finally, the motorcycle is made from a bunch of other motorcycle parts that Ibrahim found. It’s just his own personal bike, just for fun, with a 250cc engine and shade on the top for those hot days in the Lagos sun. I got to take this one for a little spin myself, and though nothing operates quite like you’d expect on a motorcycle, it was a lot of fun.
(Note: the internet connection is weak, so I’m having to upload smaller images)
Maker Faire Africa is pleased to announce our 3rd event, ‘Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo‘ which will take place in Egypt, October 6-8th, 2011. Join us once again as we continue to cultivate new and existing maker communities across Africa. As was the case in Accra (‘09) and Nairobi (’10), MFA 2011 will present and spotlight the vibrant and endlessly creative individuals that have come to represent the spirit of ‘making’ throughout the continent. These innovators, artists and tinkerers will be exhibiting a fusion of the informal and formal; ideas, inventions, hacks and designs both low-tech & high-tech. From cuisine to machines, come see their re-imagining of products, exploration of novel materials, and original solutions for some of the continent’s most important challenges and opportunities. Maker Faire Africa 2011 will be a celebratory showcase of unhindered experimentation and curiosity. We look forward to seeing you this October.
Visit our MFA2011 : Cairo event page for more details on how to participate.
Living the John F Welch Technology Centre Dream
16 hours after I had left my home, the giant Boeing powered by a GE engine landed at the Bangalore airport on November 29 at 8am. This was followed by a 2 1/2 hour drive to the hotel, Clarion, a stone’s throw away from the phenomenal GE’s technology Centre in Bangalore.
At the main gate of the center, it was clear that I had arrived at the birthplace of
innovative technology. I was excited to start my journey.
After a brief introduction by Geetha, the administrative assistant at the Research
Center, I met the research guru, T. Asokan, a friendly and humble scientist.
He briefed me on what GE is and does. I learned that GE has research and
development facilities across the globe in Niskayuna, Munich, Shanghai and
Brazil. It also has a host of other manufacturing and assembly engineering
facilities in Memphis, Tenessee and Greenville in the US. Asokan told me that
GE’s technological expertise ranges from water purification, aviation technology,
rail systems to efficient energy technologies. It is also in capital and even owns
one of the leading media service providers.
I was taken around the different science labs by Adnan. He informed me
about the main research activities in the labs and briefed me on some of their
inventions and innovations, both completed and ongoing projects.
The projects were incredible, the scientists young and creative, and the facilities
world class. I started to understand why GE was voted amongst the best
companies in the world for over 7 times in 11 years.
Day 2 would be the busiest day at the technology center and I was really excited to finally get to demonstrate my innovation to the brainstorming team.
Asokan picked me up at 8.30 am from the hotel and we kicked off the day with
a session on the process of innovation. Asokan took me through the whole
process: from the conceptualization of an idea, imagination, and actualization to
how to bring various factors into play in realizing an innovation. “When everyone is thinking the same, then no one is thinking”, said Asokan. He taught me how to look at problems as challenges that can be overcome and how to think ‘out of the box’. I got insights on how to identify problems and to imagine possible solutions. I was inspired!
He had also prepared a presentation in which he showcased his own innovations. I was impressed by the amount of inventions he had developed and had help developing.
Afterwards, I had to chance to meet Ramanan, the Chief Financial Officer
at the technology center. He explained me how I could patent a product and
seek financial support from business partners or solicit for credit from banking
institutions. I couldn’t wait to sit together with the brainstorming team. I briefed them on my invention, told them about the challenges I faced while making it and we had a creative brainstorming session on how to overcome these.
After lunch, I met a team of young scientists in the presence of Asokan and
told them about my innovation as well. I was also introduced to the Intellectual
Property experts, including Sukla Chandra, who gave me more insight in how to
get the right type of protection for a creation or invention.
In the evening, I was invited to the Chief Scientist’s house, where I got to see all
the 25 awards and trophies he had won over the years for his inventions. Later,
he took me to Bangalore city to have dinner with his lovely family. It was a great
day and I was looking forward to my 3rd day in India.
My Last Day
My day started early again. Asokan picked me up from the hotel at 8.30am and I met with Kavitha, the Comunications Specialist, for an interview. We talked about my background, hobbies, my inspirations and my inventions.
After, I joined a team of young scientists, who offered me guidance on how to
take my passion for technology and innovation to a next level, and gave me tips
on how to approach some international universities for a scholarship and other
online studies. In the afternoon, I was very lucky to be able sit with some of the leaders at the research center, including Raj, the Human Resources leader. We talked about future action plans and we wrapped up the day.
When it was time for me to say goodbye, Asokan gave me a souvenir that I will treasure forever, a signed photograph of the Global Research Center at Bangalore. I could only conclude by saying that it was an incredible experience!
This excellent Maker Faire Africa video compilation was created by the good folks at AfricaNews.
All the fun of the technology faire – The Gaurdian
BBC Digital Planet podcast interview (starts around minute 13:00)
Recap of Maker Faire Africa 2009 – ICT4D.at
Maker Faire Africa ’09 thrills – AfricaNews
Maker Faire Africa update – MAKE Magazine
Maker Faire Africa showcases ingenuity – Crossing the Streams blog
Interview with Emer Beamer and Emeka Okafor of Maker Faire team