Africa gathers in Lagos for Maker Faire, By Jane Wakefield, Technology reporter, BBC, 7 November 2012

08 Nov
School girls show off their urine-powered generator, copyright Erik Hersman
A generator that runs on urine,designed by three 14-year-old school girls, was on show

People from the tiniest African villages to some of its largest cities have converged on Lagos, Nigeria, this week to talk about making stuff.

The Maker movement – which encompasses traditional handicrafts through to cutting-edge robotics, is growing exponentially around the world with spin-off Maker Faires popping up all over the globe.

Maker Faire Africa is now independent and this year’s promises to be the biggest and best yet.

“Our inventions have largely stayed hidden in the ‘punk of the bush’ and the outer reaches of the informal sector until now,” reads the introduction on its website.

The falling price and availability of off-the-shelf electronics have put low-cost tech innovations centre stage at such events but it is in Africa where many people see home-made inventions having a real impact on people’s lives.

“While western fairs are creative they are aimed at hobbyists, whereas in Africa it is more about practical need,” said Erik Hersman, the man behind the global phenomenon of crowdsourcing crisis-mapping platform Ushahidi. “The future of Africa is in innovative engineering.”

He is also one of the founders and organisers of the Maker Faire Africa, describing it affectionately as “loosely controlled chaos”.

He talked the BBC through some of his favourite things on show in Lagos.

Read more at Africa gathers in Lagos for Maker Faire

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


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