A booth at the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi stands out because of the long tube fixed with electric wires inside that is displayed at the entrance.
The writer meets 14-year-old Patrick Njoroge Wachira, a young innovator who has created a revolutionary tool named Inspekta Robot with an aim to give solutions to water management problems.
Njoroge narrates how he uses his new innovation to detect sewage blockages using sensors connected to smartphones.
“This robotic machine does data collection in a system within water bodies like sewer systems. It can detect if the pipes are blocked or it is clogged with foreign bodies. It can also check the working condition of fibre optic cables,” Wachira explained to the Standard at their exhibition at the summit.
According to the innovator who is driven by his passion for technology and smart solutions, the robot can help is water management thus minimising water losses.
The boy says the robot can help authorities that deal with water management detect the sludges, blockages early enough and undertake preventive measures with less human effort.
This is a particularly revolutionary innovation at the Summit because water is one of the critical resources that have been heavily been affected by climate change which has occasioned frequent and intense seasons of drought.
His innovation aligns very well with the Summit theme which is “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World” and that explains why exhibitors at the summit were particularly fascinated by the technology.
The robotics technology also stood out because it is simple and futuristic and if commercialized, it will solve the issue of needless water losses.
So, when did this inspiration and fascination with technology start?
“My dad is an engineer and I have always been fascinated by his work when I go to the field with him. He deals with structures like sewer systems and I noted that whenever there was a problem, there was a lot of groundwork he had to do to establish the problem,” he explained to The Standard.
He then came up with the prototype after months of work by refining ideas with the help of his father,
Young Wachira is also the CEO and founder of PNW Innovation Program – an initiative that he manages with the help of his father.
He has lauded his parents for the immense support that they have shown towards achieving his dreams.
“My father does support by buying for me the electric wires and materials needed for making the robotic system,” he says.
According to Betty Wachira, the teenager’s mother young Wachira’s interest in computers began at the age of ten, when he would dismantle machines and reassemble them.
“When he was ten years old, every time a machine in the house broke down, he would dismantle it and reaffix it. He was always very curious and fascinated by machines,” Ms Wachira says.
So passionate and generous is he with his knowledge and skills, in 2019 when Covid-19 pandemic hit and children could no longer attend physical classes because of social distancing requirements, he volunteered to set up a makeshift E-Learning centre at their home for children from informal settlements in Kangemi.
“One day he told us, Mum these children are from informal settlements how are they undertaking online classes? Why can’t they come here and I will set up a few machines where they can access E-learning material and classes?”
That is how their home turned into an E class for some 20 children from the informal settlements.
Wachira who is still a Grade 9 student in an international school, balances his passion and school perfectly and concentrates on his innovations when schools are in recess like now.
During his free time out of school, Wachira, who has benefited from training on robotics by a Dubai tech company, offers free computer lessons to university students.