Robots in Kenya

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Hidden in one of the University of Nairobi’s buildings, Fablab is a veritable treasure trove. One that I describe in more detail in my column published this week’s Le Monde’s Sciences&Technos supplement. But I also have some photos to share. First, a small precision for people not familiar with the term: “A Fab Lab (abbreviation […]

RobotHidden in one of the University of Nairobi’s buildings, Fablab is a veritable treasure trove. One that I describe in more detail in my column published this week’s Le Monde’s Sciences&Technos supplement.

But I also have some photos to share.

First, a small precision for people not familiar with the term: “A Fab Lab (abbreviation of ‘Fabrication Laboratory”) is an open platform for the creation and prototyping of physical objects, “intelligent’ or otherwise” explains explains FING (in French), who work at the group’s French spin-of.

In an insatiable savant’s dream… I saw:

A bike for cleaning latrines.

A mini-bridge for crossing the gutters that make life miserable in shanty towns during the rainy season.

A wi-fi antenna made from plywood and chicken wire to guarantee long-range networks in poor areas.

I didn’t see the main attraction: a prototype robot designed to transport food around farms. If you’re interested, you can read more about it on Fablab’s website.

I’ve got to say that I’m not sure of the importance of roboticizing African agriculture at a time when, to generalize, what’s needed most is jobs. But I really like any effort that makes us more familiar with the technologies needed for building robots … or other useful things.

FablabCycle

 

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