Lazarus Angbazo

All around the world, Maker Faires bring out an array of inventors, tinkerers and hidden geniuses. Africa recently held its second one in Kenya, but as South Africa’s The Daily Maverick summed it up, the innovative energy in Africa takes a decidedly practical path: “Go to a Maker Faire in New York, Detroit or Dublin and you’ll be dazzled by hobbyists who had the time and inclination to make a shark mobile, kinetic squid sculpture or a solar-powered chariot pulled by an Arnold Schwarzenegger robot. Back home in Africa things are done a little differently. ‘In the West, Maker Faires are mainly for creative types who tinker around in their spare time. But what we find in Africa is that it is much more about practical innovation. It’s about ingenuity driven by necessity. It’s all about creating something that people can try to make a living off of,’ says Ushahidi’s Erik Hersman, one of the organizers of Maker Faire Africa.”

The video above features Robert Mburu, who won the prize awarded by GE. He’ll get to spend three days with GE Chief Scientist Asokan Thangavelu from GE’s Global Research Center in Bangalore, India, where he’ll have the chance to access expertise, advice and counsel on his invention, from a technical and a commercial standpoint. It’s very similar to some of the prizes offered in GE’s “ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” which is still underway. That 10-week, global contest — which centers on clean technology and the smart grid — offers shots at $200 million in venture capital investments as well as chances to get expert advice from GE’s research and commercial teams.

Read more at GE Reports.