By Lorna Abuga
An engineering finalist at Egerton University has designed a farming robot which helps farmers in sorting their produce based on weight, color and size.
Anthony Maina who cleared his five year studies at the Njoro based institution in May this year is now advocating for the use of machine such as robots in farms saying they improve on efficiency by reducing on the cost of labor.
The robot that Maina has developed is fitted with a camera that is able to sense the colour of a product and place it in the right space. Through computer programmes the robot is also able to detect the weight of the same products and sort them.
Maina says he was inspired to develop the robot after he saw the struggle that workers at a firm he was attached in were going through.
“The workers were required to sort out chicken based on weight. After working for a few hours, most of them would get tired,”
he says of the workers at the firm based in Nyeri.
This scenario he feels reduced their efficiency and consequently led to losses at the firm.
“This is what motivated me, as I wanted a machine that would increase on productivity of the firm.”
“I began conducting a lot of research because I had realized there was need for a ‘farm produce sorting robot to ease farm work which in most cases is tedious,” he adds.
It took him 17 weeks to assemble the materials needed to come up with the model according to the design. He is currently in search for funds for his project so as to improve on his innovation.
“Robots are vital in ensuring increase of productivity and they also assist in the attainment of national and international visions including Kenya Vision 2030,” says Maina.
The theme for the agricultural show this year is ‘Enhancing Technology in Agriculture and Industry for Food Security and National Growth’ and Maina’s innovation was among the products that were showcased by the university at the show winning it at least 8 awards.
The awards are Best Public University stand, Best Engineering Based Institution of Higher Learning, and Best Agro-Processing stand. Others included the Best Institution of Higher Learning in Developing and Advancing Technology and Development Research Institute.
In the resent past youth in Kenya have been coming with very creative innovations. Elijah Kupata a former student of Mount Kenya University in Thika designed a security gadget while Evans Wadongo designed a portable solar lamp while studying Engineering at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja.
Safaricom’s money transfer service, MPesa was also invented by a Kenyan youth who was then a student at the University of Nairobi.
At the international level, innovations that have been developed by youth within university corridors include Facebook that was developed by Mark Zuckerberg.
And recently three teens in the United Kingdom invented a condom that can detect sexually transmitted diseases.