You are what you breathe

When was the last time you noticed the air you are breathing ? Do you know how it affects you and your health?

air pollution Egypt

Egypt leads the list of the most polluted cities in the world, in terms of particulate matter. Moreover, according to the latest report by the WHO, every Cairo resident’s daily share of air pollution is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

This motivated the makers from icealex hub in Alexandria Egypt to work on solving this global problem.

Their solution: Build an air quality monitoring kit

afrimakers air pollution kit

The kit uses Arduino, gas, humidity and temperature sensors, RGB LEDs and an LCD screen to detect and measure air pollution. The Afrimakers team wishes to understand and map pollutants in their local environment and identify main pollution sources and best strategies of individual protection.

The idea was inspired by the Air Quality Egg project, which is based on Arduino, allowing anybody on the world to monitor CO2 and NO2 levels around his house, and share the results online, to be compared with the rest of the world records.

afrigadget-air-quality-monitoring-kit

What distinguishes the prototype designed by the Afrimakers team from the AirQuality Egg’s, is the reduced cost and the outreach to local schools, communities of makers and learning centers for children. The same components of the kit can be used for many other projects which also reduces the investment for schools.

The team has a detailed documentation for this project and aims to create several learning modules for this project that could be used in schools and video tutorials.

This week, the project developers are visiting the makers in Nairobi and organizing a series of workshops in collaboration with Fablab Nairobi and iHub in order to improve their prototype and reflect about how it can be locally-driven.

If you would like to build your own air pollution monitor you can follow the instructions made by the icealex team. In case you don’t have access to the same sensors or materials we encourage you to “fork” their project here and and adapt it to your local resources.

A main goal of the team and their project is to encourage makers and local communities to dream, make and share meaningful projects that are solving big problems and are extremely affordable.

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Afrimakers is an initiative to empower African makers to develop sustainable projects and provide solution for local challenges by training more than 100 mentors in 10 African countries on running science & tech workshops for private and public schools students.

afrigadget-afrimakers

Kiambu chopper et al

Sharing good content online isn’t always easy, as we prefer original (first-hand) content – contributed by our readers – that comes along with a permission to share these jewels. The following post first appeared in a Kenyan newspaper a month ago – we’ve tried contacting the editor in charge, but haven’t received a reply from them so far.

Still, the story is so unique, it needs to be shared:

Kiambu chopper

Residents of Magomano village in Kiambu have been flocking to a homestead for a glimpse of a homemade helicopter which has been assembled by a 20 year-old farm hand.
Onesmus Mwangi started assembling the ‘helicopter’ seven months ago and has so far spent about Sh57, 000 which he started saving through Mpesa.
(…)
Mwangi said he has been buying plain sheets, boltsm filler, paint and sponge for fitting from a local supermarket.
“I bought metal bars and plastics locally and I have put an old chuff-cutter which mills animal feeds as the engine and propeller to move the wings.
The chopper weighs 25 kilograms.”The sheets are aluminum. I attempted to fly the chopper last week but it refused,” Mwangi said.”

The chopper has meanwhile been taken away by the local police “to ensure officers from the aviation sector verify whether it is fit for flying”.  Right.

If the government can educate me in engineering, I can come up with more innovations like a fast moving ship and more cohesive chopper than this one. Professionals should see whether they can improve on it.”

Full story is here!

Other objects of a certain aviational variety ex Africa include the Kahawa West Aircraft, Mubarak Abdullahi’s home-made helicopter in Nigeria, the homemade helicopter in Somaliland as well as this odd story on someone who claims to having built a single seater aircraft way back in the 1970s from an old VW Beetle engine.

Another form of “chopper” has been shared by Melissa Hogarth from South Africa:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151321940873523&set=o.149937341714587&type=1&theater
(excuse the Comic Sans! ;-))

“This inventive entrepreneur has taken vehicle wraps to another level!”, writes Melissa on FB.

Again – we contacted the original editors but haven’t received a reply. But since it was publicly shared on FB, we took the liberty to just repost it here.

And yes, copyright issues are important to us. Here at AfriGadget, we prefer our contributors to make use of one of the Creative Commons licences which often (not always) enable an easier sharing. AfriGadget is a group blog with no commercial interest, but we still prefer obtaining a permission to reshare the content you’ve put online.

Another part are missing stories. Often, we just have a photo and no story to come along with it. Photos or videos alone often do not tell the full story.

And here is another example:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=480618128674479&set=a.411832588886367.89024.120578284678467&type=1&theater

A bicycle jeep (it seems) that was recently shared via the fabulous “Africa, this is why I live here” FB group. Photo credit: Lebohang Bucibo – that’s all we have!

How to fix a bicycle tube

How to fix a bicycle tube… when a glued patch isn’t appropriate:


(direct link to the video)

“To fix such a problem, we designed a new way of fixing. You can simply tie the place, no need of glue, no need of nothing.”

The reasoning for this unusual fix may be a bit strange (as a correctly applied patch will also work under the influence of heat), but the solution is smart and obviously works.

[via, thx!]

The Farmking of Nigeria: 4-in-1 Farming device

Sulaiman Famro is a cheerful, 65 year old engineer, and a master of branding. He built the prototype “Farmking” three years ago and claims he can save the country $1 billion a year, just in savings on starch importation.

The Farmking is a one-stop processing plant for cluster and farm-site processing of root crops and grains. It has a diesel powered engine that allows for remote processing, with power out connections for lighting so that it can work all night, if needed.

On one end you have 3 devices, for chipping, grating and milling. In the middle is the power plant, and in the rear is a large steel drum that can hold 50kgs of milled cassava, that uses a spin filter to process up to 2.5 tons of milled cassava into starch.

It’s used for processing of cassava, soya beans, maize, sweet potatoes, yam and many other roots and grains. One of the more interesting uses for it is the capture of starch. Apparently there is a huge amount of waste when the processing of cassava happens in the country right now, instead of being captured it is left to seep into the ground. An incredibly wasteful, manual process currently, Sulaiman is lobbying governors of different Nigerian states to get the Farmking into their areas.

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Sulaiman went to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for his undergrad, then on to the Polytechnic Institute of NYU for his masters, finishing in 1976. The Farmking is a project of his that he built on his nights and weekends, claiming that he likes best to work by himself when no one else is around to bother him. It cost approximately 2.5m Naira ($16,000) to buy one, and the prototype (seen here) was built using his own money.

With the first prototype being built 3 years ago, the Farmking has yet to sell one to any other customers. Herein lies the problem for not just Sulaiman, but for many engineering-based founders of organizations. They can be incredibly good at building systems and tools, but aren’t interested, nor do they have the know-how to sell and market their product. It’d be good to see Sulaiman partner with a business person, or company, to streamline the sales and marketing side of the business so that he can make this invention work.

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Note: I’ve been blogging most of this on the Maker Faire Africa blog, so go there to find more posts on the stories from Lagos, Nigeria and the innovative and fun products made there.