Uganda college trio invents robot to detect explosives By ABDU KIYAGA in Kampala | Tuesday, June 5  2012 at  18:51

(L-R) Uganda college students Alvin Kabwama, Nigel Kinyera and David Tusubira display the robot that can detect and detonate explosive material at the pioneer Makerere University, Kampala, June 4, 2012. PHOTO | ABDU KIYAGA   

Three Ugandan college students have manufactured a device that can detect and defuse explosives.

The St Mary’s College Kisubi trio were guided in their innovation by a Makerere University don.

The device is the brainchild of Alvin Kabwama, David Tusubira and Nigel Kinyera, who are about to join university.

They were supervised by Mr Cosmas Mwikyirize, a lecturer at the engineering college.

Mr Mwikyirize said the device, still a prototype for development of more effective systems to deal with the threat of terrorism, and especially the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), usually preferred by terrorists, “was developed from scratch”.

It is the third in a series of other robot prototypes the college has made, including a chemical dispenser robot and an automatic scooter.

“We built this robot from scratch, we did not have any blue print to look at,” Mr Mwikyirize said Monday evening.

Local capacity

The robot runs on 12 motors, sensors, and a Central Processing Unit of the tetrix software.

It uses Bluetooth for movement control and Wifi and Wimax for the video field to send signals.

The robot stands on metallic beams, also procured locally.

An outcome of the iLabs@MAK, a project for promotion of innovations, the robot is remotely controlled on a computer to navigate through relatively flat surfaces within a 20 metres radius.

It’s most important advantage is that it minimises the risk of officers involved in counter-terrorism missions.

“The design and construction of the robot was motivated by the need to demonstrate local capacity in the development of technology in the fight against terrorism,” college spokesperson Betty Kyakuwa told journalists at a press briefing.