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Thika innovator builds own Robots able to detect Improvised Explosive Devices

By Kamau Njoroge | January 28th 2020
By Kamau Njoroge | January 28th 2020
Brian Kimani holding one of his innovations, a millitary robot, that has the ability to detect land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices. PHOTO BY KAMAU NJOROGE

A 25-year-old man has become the talk of Thika town for his prowess in devising robots that can efficiently perform some of the common house chores like cleaning.

Brian Kimani, a tech guru, has already devised four robots one of which can do house cleaning. The robot is fully autonomous and is programmed with a computer.

The robot has infrared sensors to detect obstacles within the house like chairs or tables. it also has ultrasonic sensors to detect walls and it’s legs are fitted with rotary encoders to enable it maneuver in the house and do thorough cleaning before retreating to its store after the job.

But what has wowed many is his latest innovation, a semi-autonomous military robot that is capable of detecting land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Kimani schooled at Thika Technical Training Institute and acquired a Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where he studied Information Technology (IT).

Kimani who spoke to Mt Kenya Star at their Madaraka home in Thika said that having acquired requisite knowledge in Electronics from TTTI and programming at JKUAT he started actualizing his dream of becoming a robotics designer.

“It has been my dream of addressing some of the challenges the society faces as well as easing human workload through technology. My passion traces back since when I was young because I could completely dismember my dad’s radio and then assemble it. I realized I had a talent and worked hard to enhance it,” he said.

His expertise and love for robots have already started paying after he secured a job at Mpesa Foundation Academy in Thika to train learners on robotics.

He said that while creating the robots he develops an idea before embarking on extensive research before developing the robots. He has already managed to develop gaming robots, cleaning robot and the military robot.

Military robot

The persistent attacks on Kenya’s security officers including the GSU and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) by the extremist group (Al Shaabab) is what drove Kimani to embark on devising the military robot.

This robot, he says will help save many lives of the security officers as well as make the war against insurgents and terrorist activities in the country more efficient and successful, since it has the ability to detect land mines as well as IEDs.

The country has lost soldiers and police officers to the terrorists’ IEDs attacks in North Eastern near the Kenya-Somalia border with the latest attack claiming the lives of 11 GSU officers who were patrolling the Damajale-Harehare road on October 11, 2019.

Kimani has already improvised a remote controlled prototype that has the ability to move up to 300 meters. But he says that he can advance the robot to cover 15-20 kilometers.

“Kenya has suffered setbacks in the security department. We have lost many men in uniform to terrorists who plant the IEDs on the routes used by our officers. I hope that my innovation will bring this to an end and help save the lives of the fathers, brothers and relatives protecting our country,” Kimani said.

He added, “The robot has an inductive sensor to detect metals buried in the sand and therefore will detect the explosives. It’s also fitted with a camera so that it can gather intelligence on the route the officers are patrolling through as well as gather information about the insurgents and relay it to the one controlling it,” he said.

He said that once the robot detects a mine or an IED it will produce a beeping sound and notify the one in control. “Given that there is a camera, the officers will be able to effectively locate where the mine is planted,” he said.

Embrace technology

Kimani said that with the rapid changes in the technology world, the Government must embrace every form of technology even in its war against terrorists in the country.

He said that he is offering the government his innovation so that it can be enhanced and be used in the fight against terrorist activities as well as enhancing security of the police officers and soldiers.

“I call on the Government to take up my innovation. If they find it helpful, I will offer my expertise so that we can advance it for the sake our officers’ security and for a smooth win over the enemies,” he said.

He opines that the government should support and nurture innovations by Kenyan youths so that they can contribute in solving some of the problems the society and the country is facing at large.

Meanwhile Kimani urged youths in the country to embrace the technology and use it to advance their talents saying that the future is technology related.

“There’s no need of relying on white-collar jobs, youths must realize that talents are nowadays paying well and an income source for many.

Technology is here to advance and perfect one’s talent,” he said.

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