Key Inventions Made by Kenyans in 2020

Samuel Njogu poses with his locally assembled tuk-tuk in Nyahururu town.
Samuel Njogu poses with his locally assembled tuk-tuk in Nyahururu town.

In June 2020, a nine-year-old Kenyan boy was conferred with the Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo Award, for building a unique hand-washing machine to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

It was equipped with a pedal-like lever which users step on to release water for hand wash.

President Uhuru Kenyatta rewarded the boy and called upon Kenyans to do everything in their power to conquer the invisible enemy that is Covid-19 pandemic.

A number of other Kenyans made innovations in line with the Covid-19 virus, while many others came up with innovations that although had nothing to do with the pandemic, their innovations still changed lives and left a mark.

Roy Allela, displays the smart hand gloves which he invented.
Roy Allela, displays the smart hand gloves which he invented.

Smart Gloves 

Roy Alela, an engineering student devised a smart glove technology that is capable of converting sign language movements into audio speech.

The smart gloves consist of flex sensors that are fitted on each finger, and have the capacity to quantify the bend of a finger and process the letter being signed.

Using Bluetooth technology, the gloves are connected to an application which then converts the sign into audio speech.

Through the app, users can control a variety of options such as language, the pitch of the audio, with the accuracy results amounting to 93 percent.

Automated Weeding Robot

The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students Michael Mwaisakenyi and Ken Gicira innovated a weeding bot - an automated robot using artificial intelligence to identify and remove weeds from rows of crops.

The weeding bot, innovated by the two students, aids farmers to manage weeds without the use of herbicides. It uses intelligence to separate weeds from crops through a camera installed in the machine.

Self Made Car 

Kennedy Atanga, a self-taught mechanic launched his first car on November 18. With an open roof and rugged exterior, the 2-seater car was christened ‘the Covid-19 2020 Series’. 

Atanga dismantled his motorbike, raised approximately Ksh 150,000 and went about collecting second-hand materials that he needed to make his car. What makes his grand project even more impressive is the fact that he confessed to having dropped out of school when he was still in Class 3.

Kennedy Atanga (Left) and Ghetto Radio's Maji Maji.
Kennedy Atanga (Left) and Ghetto Radio's Maji Maji.

Money Sanitiser 

Danson Wanjohi, an M-Pesa agent in Mwea, Kirinyaga County innovated a money-sanitising machine to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

Wanjohi used wood, plastic, a motor, rubber band and gears which enable the note to move in and out of the machine. The sanitiser is placed on top of the equipment to trickle down to the rubber bands which then allows notes to pass and get sanitised.

This happens to all cash that is being brought by the customer and the money handed back to customers as change or as withdrawals.

Electric Wheelchair 

Martin Wahome from Thika, Kiambu County, innovated an electric wheelchair which he hoped would help the disabled persons in Kenya.

He stated that he invented it from assembling scrap metals. It was powered by lithium-ion batteries and could manoeuvre a wide range of terrains with ease as it incorporated firm technology to support its mobility.

Simple Alarm System 

A Form Four student Francis Kamanga invented a simple alarm system aimed at nabbing thieves. Aside from raising an alarm whenever someone breaks into the house it also calls the house owner.

The security system has the ability to take pictures of the burglar which then can be used for identification purposes whenever the homeowner is away.

The student explained that his innovation runs on battery, which means it can be used in areas without electricity.

Social Distance Beds

Jacinta Chao, 22, and Rosalia Anguli, 24, are jua kali artisans from Voi, Taita Taveta County. They developed a special Covid-19 isolation bed capable of enforcing the one-meter social distancing directive.

The bed had a sensor fitted that beeped when one got within a one-meter radius around it. 

An image of Sensor beds
Jancinta Chao and Rosalia Anguli from Voi, Taita Taveta displaying their beds fitted with sensors.


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