Did You Know About The New Medical Device Called Cardiopad?

Interesting news from Cameroon! According to Africanews, Arthur Zang, a Cameroonian innovator, has won this year’s African engineering award. Zhang’s invention, the so-called “Cardiopad”, is a tablet computer that allows for cardiac test results to be sent directly to heart specialists via mobile phone. The device costs significantly less than conventional cardiac test-devices, which allows for its use in hospitals that operate on scarce financial resources. Obviously, rural areas will benefit from the Cardiopad, since it can bridge large distances, without losing valuable time.
From what I read about the Cardiopad, it sounds like a fascinating invention. The health sector is facing numerous challenges, especially in rural areas. Thus, a device that allows for vital data to be transmitted in no time, provides a lot of potential.
It goes without saying that new challenges often go hand in hand with fascinating innovation. My only concern is the security of the transmitted data. If we send sensible health-data via mobile phone, how can we make sure that there are no security leaks?

What do you think about the Cardiopad, its potential and challenges? Let me know in the comment section!

If you are interested to read more about this new invention, check out these articles on africanews or BBC.

Did You Know That The Internet of Things is triggering discussion in Africa?

One thing that I have always liked about venturesafrica is that they provide brief overviews about recent trends and their impact on innovation in Africa. Their articles are easy to understand and provide a good basis for further research about a given topic.

In a recent article, they discussed the second wave of inclusive digital innovation and its impact on innovation trends in Africa. The first wave was marked by the increased proliferation of the mobile telephone which allowed for the connection of remote areas. Furthermore, it brought about innovations like mobile banking or mobile payment. I have discussed these connectivity-related innovations in some of my previous blogposts.

According to the article, we are now approaching the second wave of digital innovation. The five important features of this second wave are the proliferation of the Internet of Things, blockchain technology, big data, on-demand services and cloud computing. Apparently, these five innovations are changing the way in which mobile services will be delivered in the future. According to the article, the benefits are manifold. For example,  cloud computing technologies will bring about cost reduction. It goes without saying that this might benefit remote areas with limited communication infrastructure.

This blogpost is supposed to serve as a brief overview. The article on venturesafrica goes into more detail. You can read it here, if you want to know more.

Last but not least: It goes to show that the Internet of Things is triggering discussion on the African continent. Since the Internet of Things Africa Summit is taking place in July in Johannesburg, chances are that we will soon be learning more about the second wave of digital innovation.

Did You Know About Vibecampo, A Social Network For Students In Kenya?

An interesting approach on how social networks can be used to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information can be found in Kenya.

According to africanews, young innovators in Kenya have created the social network vibecampo.com. It is designed for young Kenyans aged 18 to 35 years. The social network seems to be mainly adressing students, since it’s userbase consists of four main segments: Pre-University Youths, University/College Youths, Post-University/College Youths and Organizations/Companies and Institutions (Source: vibecampo.com). The platform was officially launched in 2014 and currently has a userbase of almost 9000 members.

Now, while a new social network in Kenya for sure is something exciting, while reading about Vibecampo I was asking myself about the relevance of this social network for innovation in Kenya. Is Vibecampo something worth keeping up to date on, or is it just another social network designed for young people to kill time?
According to the Freedom House Report 2015, the press in Kenya is only partly free (In terms of Freedom of the press the country reaches a score of 58 on a scale from 0 = Best and 100 = Worst), whereas the internet is free. Thus, it goes without saying that in terms of guaranteeing the free flow of information in a country with only partly free press, there are numerous benefits to the internet and to social networks. Obviously, the free flow of information and exchange of ideas is an important prerequisite of innovation. Thus, the benefits of a social network designed to connect students, organizations and alumni all over Kenya, is obvious.

Time will tell, if and how Vibecampo will grow and whether it will foster innovation in and around Kenya. I will keep you posted.

Do you know of any similar projects in Africa? And in what way do you think, can the internet benefit the free flow of information and the exchange of ideas? Let me know in the comment section!

Did You Know That A New Innovation Hub In Angola Is Hosting Its First Workshops For Children?

Whenever I do my online research about recent innovation and political developments in Africa, I can’t help but feel stunned by the numerous attempts to foster and kickstart innovation on the continent.
On the one hand, new technologies such as mobile banking are thriving across the continent. On the other hand, there are various attempts to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and to bring together the smartest innovators from Africa and from all over the world to address certain social and environmental issues in Africa. One example for such a project is the Hackathon, that I’ve mentioned in my last blogpost.
Another promising way to foster innovation is by creating so-called innovation hubs, designed to educate people, to bring together innovators and to enable them to share knowledge, exchange ideas and thus foster a culture of innovation. A while ago I have written a blogpost on such a project, the so called Fábrica de Sabão in Luanda, Angola.

Fábrica de Sabão is an innovation hub that is currently being constructed. It is located in an old soap factory in Luanda, in the middle of the biggest slum of Angola. The factory will serve as an innovators melting-pot where all types of people can come together, exchange ideas and work on different projects. Apparently, the hub is designed to fit the needs of all types of people, not only tech-savy innovators.

“While many African innovation hubs are focused on incubating and accelerating startups, and often mostly technology-focused, Fábrica de Sabão is an ecosystem to foster innovation-led education, creativity and entrepreneurship amongst all sects of Angolans. When completed, it will comprise of incubator and accelerator hubs, co-working and maker spaces, a cultural exchange platform, local radio station and a residence program for visiting mentors and artists.” (Source: jeanclaudebastosdemorais.com)

Since I have already discussed this project in a previous blogpost, I was eager to find out more about how the construction is going, and about whether there are already projects taking place at the Fábrica de Sabão. And it turns out that there are. According to this article, there have been workshops for children and teens held at the Fábrica, where they learned to create arts with recycled materials and to create designs using 3D-printing technologies.

It sure sounds promising. I especially like the idea to not only provide a hub for innovators, but to invite all sorts of people to parttake in workshops, thus encouraging education and innovation across different educational and cultural backgrounds.

Did You Know That Developers From Accra And San Francisco Will Soon Be Teaming Up For Another Hackathon?

It’s time to talk about Hackathons again, a subject that I already mentioned in a previous blogpost. But what exactly is a Hackathon?
Well, a Hackathon is best described as an event aimed at bringing together innovators from two different cities around the globe. In only 28 hours, they are seeking to find scalable solutions in fields such as eduction, business and farming for people in developing countries. The winners project gets implemented by charities working in low income nations (Source: devswithoutborders.org).

In my previous blogpost I already talked about the <Br/eak> Poverty Hackathon. Today I learned, that there are two more Hackathons planned for 2016. One of them, the <Br/eak> Education Hackathon is aimed at bringing together tech-savvy developers from San Francisco and Accra, Ghana to address the issue of Education accessibility in rural areas. The purpose is to develop accessible technologies facilitating education in rural low income countries.

I find this a very interesting project, since it brings together developers with completely different backgrounds trying to find the most applicable solutions to address poverty issues in developing countries. In doing so, it creates an ideal environment to foster innovation. Do you know about similar projects taking place around the globe? If so, let me know in the comments!