by Rachel Ogbu
Maker Faire Africa is mostly about mashing up things that already exist to create something new, better and more usable. The Maker movement – which encompasses traditional handicrafts through to cutting-edge robotics, is growing around the world with spin-off Maker Faires opening up all over the world.
During this year’s exhibition, people from all over Africa gathered in Lagos to exhibit their inventions, here are our 5 favourites from the show.
Wecyclers.com is the brainchild of Billikiss Abiola, from Nigeria and Jonathan Kola, from Kenya who together came up with the simple plan to get people in Lagos to recycle aluminium and plastic.
The bicycles are welded to a trailer, making a tricycle that can carry large bags of sorted waste. Each bike costs approximately $500 (£300) to build, though those prices will come down as they start making more.
The project has gained the attention of the Lagos Waste Management Authority.
- The Tuk-tuk Limo
Ibrahim Adekunle and Shola Omoniyi drew attention with their new take on a stretch limo.
The Tricycle Limo can hold up to 12 people, plus driver while a smaller Tricycle Jeep can hold five people, plus driver. Both vehicles cost between 100,000-200,000 naira ($600-$1,200; £375-£750) to rent for the day, and are often on call for weddings, carnivals and other events.
The Tricycle Limo cost about 1.5m naira ($9,500; £5,900) to make, and about two weeks to put together. As it is long – about 5m (16ft) – the chassis is strengthened using a long piece of pipe.
- Hydraulic toys
Odo Gerald, 15, attracted boys fascinated by the moving toys he made entirely out of scrap materials.
Odo has made four toys over the last four months, including a dump truck, excavator and a helicopter. Using painted plywood, syringes, wire, water and small tubes along with a motorcycle battery to run it all, the miniature machinery packs some cunning hydraulic action.
65-year-old engineer Sulaiman Famro created the Farmking – basically a portable processing plant for root crops and grains.
He spent his own money and time on perfecting it and the first prototype was completed three years ago.
It has a diesel-powered engine that allows for remote processing, with power connections for lighting so that it can work all night, if needed.
It can process core crops such as 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. The traditional method of processing cassava allows starch to seep into the ground, which is, says Famro, very wasteful.
He claims he can save the country $1bn a year, just in savings on starch importation.
- Urine-powered generator
Duro-Aina Adebola, 14, Akindele Abiola, 14, Faleke Oluwatoyin ,14 and Bello Eniola, 15, had one of the most interesting inventions at the fair.
Here’s how it works:
•Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen.
•The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
•The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
•This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.
•1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity