The other end of the spectrum

“I save motorcyclists lives”

So at the opposite end of the spectrum from visiting projects in slums is delving into the treasure trove world of technology start-ups that Nairobi houses. There seem to be countless social – and just-plain-regular – enterprises springing up to solve problems using technology. And I was lucky enough to meet a lovely chap who delivered the killer elevator pitch above.

This Bishop Magua Centre is five story building that houses all manner of incubators for these start-ups which are working on an incredibly diverse array of issues from improving maternal health monitoring, to delivery systems for ladies running market stalls to save their necks and backs, to light-up jackets that increase the visibility of the boda-boda (motorcycle) drivers who I am certain have a death wish. The only thing that isn’t original seems to be the names of these incubators which invariably have the word “hub” or “lab” in them: NaiLab, iHub, mHub, Fab Lab etc etc…

So Michael – aka Mr Pops – and I met at a networking event where I was studiously trying to avoid networking by focussing on my Tusker beer. But his project intrigued me and all of a sudden I remembered this tiny little computer I had sat at home courtesy of a leaving present from Mr Sam Smith! I’d been trying to think of a project for my Rasperry Pi for a while now and all of a sudden it was obvious!

Over the course of the next few hours I plotted and schemed with Michael who seemed more than happy to indulge my desire to combine my love of all things GOLD with some nifty programming.

Now, I don’t quite want to give away the details of our endeavour just yet…but let’s just say the components are on order and the electronics stuff is going to look like this apparently:

sweeney v1.0-page-001 sweeney v1.0-page-002

The parts should arrive on Tuesday fingers crossed. Then starts the coding and soldering, and I’m hoping for a finished product sometime in the next few weeks. Let’s just say it should be special!



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