Can Uganda’s robot dreams change the nation’s technological problems?

Sydney Obua Odongo profiles the work of Solomon King who founded Fundibots and is both working in classrooms in Uganda  and opening his home as a lab encouraging students to develop a range of robots. Connectivity across Uganda is slowly improving but data transfer costs are still high. The students are looking at the different problems Uganda faces and wondering how robotics can help with these problems.

“Robotics is a ‘solution waiting for a problem’ says Mr King. “Long term there’s industrialisation which is maybe a bit too grand, but on the small scale we have small scale solutions – maybe a small windmill in a village that generates power. Maybe a home-made mosquito repellent system. That’s what I’m trying to do with the kids. “I think my biggest passion is to see Africans solving Africans problems.
“A lot of the time we get assistance from abroad and when you bring a solution down here it doesn’t quite work, because it’s different mindsets, different environment, just the weather conditions alone are strange. “That’s what Fundi Bots is about. It’s called Fundi Bots but it’s almost less about the robots than the process of building the robots.”Mr King feels that agriculture in particular could benefit from robotics.

Photos of the robots and article in full

2 thoughts on “Can Uganda’s robot dreams change the nation’s technological problems?

    • Hi, yes I agree there is a lot to still be done with mundane (e.g. 3KSan project where they are just connecting people as well as field work, has its place too)
      Some interesting from Timbucktu Chronicles, Maker Faire Africa these tend to get a lot of media attention (and sometimes funding) especially in West, but there is a lot happening informally too which is ignored, probably for political reasons.

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