JKUAT staff and students have been trained on how to use the facilities in the Innovation and Prototyping Integrated Centre (iPIC) towards innovation, development, prototyping and manufacturing in Kenya and Africa at large.
The training on digital fabrication technology covered key concepts and tools in the innovation value-chain such as PCB design and fabrication, monozukuri, Autodesk Inventor and Arduino.
Dr. Shohei Aoki, from Keio University’s Graduate School of Media and Governance, who led the training said the concepts, when mastered, could form a strong basis for fabrication and innovation.
Multidisciplinary approach key to innovation
Dr. Aoki said that by working together, professionals in areas such as agriculture, engineering, health and ICT, could work together to create solutions for niche market based on the local context.
“With tools such as the CNC machine, alongside the digital fabrication technology, you can now build prototypes of various products here in JKUAT, without having to outsource the same abroad,” Dr. Aoki said.
Mbugua Mwangi, a technical staff in department of mechatronic engineering who undertook the training termed the exercise and important one. Mwangi called for extension of the training duration because of the practical orientation which he said was very useful.
“I intend to use the acquired knowledge to build a home monitoring system that can run on smart phone,” Mwangi said.
21st Century skills
In order to soar up innovation in Africa, Dr. Aoki recommends that students, irrespective of their field of study, should have information technology skills.
“Key leaning tools today are digital. The connectivity and ability to do things remotely makes some knowledge of ICT is indispensable,” Dr. Aoki.
During the training students created a robotic arm, demonstrating their learning and ability to utilize gained knowledge to develop innovations.
Dr. Aoki led the training as a JICA short term expert to PAUSTI/JKUAT through the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project. As part of his key activities, Dr. Aoki will deliver a special seminar on New era in Africa beyond Fab.Lab.