What happens when two 25 year old guys have enough knowledge to hack tuktuk’s and motorcycles, and enough time to to do it?

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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.

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(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.

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Robert Mburu, winner of the Maker Faire Africa GE Mentorship Prize provides us with a day by day account of his visit to the GE Technology Centre in Bangalore, India:

Living the John F Welch Technology Centre Dream

Day 1
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
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!

Read more about Robert’s Maker Faire Africa display here
Follow his blog here
Learn more about the individual Maker Faire Africa makers here.

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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)

Nana Kofi Acquah with his photos

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

(A review, overview and email from Kwamena Appiah-Kubi, the Mozilla team lead for Maker Faire Africa)

Maker Faire Africa 2009: Mozilla

Maker Faire Africa was interesting and exciting. My weekend couldn’t have been better spent. I met a lot of like minded people and and saw a lot of interesting things made locally I had never heard of. I also got the opportunity to met people I had only heard or read about like Henry Barnor and Erik Hersman, it was wonderful meeting them and all the other guys.

The following is a recap the 3 days event.

MFA day 1

Day 1 was launch of Maker Faire Africa, with a series of talks about the purpose and inspiration behind the Faire. Some key makers were introduced followed by a number of talk sessions by the makers. I was really inspired by William Kamkwamba session to be determined and self-motivated. Every maker that registered got a copy of Make magazine.

MFA day 2

Day 2 commenced exhibitions. MFA hosted several makers from windmill builders to cycle powered saws as well as guys from the tech industry such as low powered computer manufactures and crowdsourcing agencies. Mozilla’s desk attracted a lot of participants, from fans to swag seekers. Henry Addo (ushahidi.com), Miquel (maneno.org) and myself collaborated in a workshop (turned discussion) about localization. We discussed issues hindering localization efforts in Africa, and what policies are and need to be put in place to promote localization. It was an eye opener, hearing the participants’ concerns and sharing ideas. We shared packaged Mozilla swag after the discussion, it included a t-shirt, wrist bands, buttons and stickers.

The second workshop (also turned discussion) was lead by Erik Hersman who launched into a discussion about what he saw as a lack of communication and cohesion within the Ghanaian programming community (original topic was mapping on mobiles and web).

I had 2 guys man the stand, 2 interact with makers and participants and myself and another attend the workshop.

MFA day 3

The third day started slow considering it was a Sunday. The program line up had to be rescheduled. There were a number of simultaneous workshops of which we attended 2; mobile applications development by Henry Addo, and building SMS applications web development for low bandwidth regions by Miquel, Brian Herbert (Esoko) and Wayan Vota (Inveneo) .

Participants who expressed interest to be part of the Mozilla community had their contact taken, I will get back to them to find their interests then move them on from there. To round up the event there was a panel discussion with MFA organizers to evaluate the progress of the event and the future of the faire.

Maker Faire Africa is scheduled for Kenya next year, date and time will be communicated later. Awards were given to makers who’s exhibits were considered to be true representation of what maker faire ought to be, the first going to three guys from Accra Polytechnic for building an FM radio transmitter. I handed over the table cloth to Henry Barnor at the close of the program.

It was indeed interesting an weekend. My team and i are grateful to have such an opportunity to be part of the program representing Mozilla, thanks a million!

Kwamena Appiah-Kubi
KNUST
College of Science
Department of Computer Science
Computer Science 4
Kumasi – Ghana