How Dubai helped a 12-year-old Kenyan robotics genius achieve his dreams

Patrick Njoroge Wachira, a 12-year-old boy from Kenya, is a dreamer. He dreams big. He started building robots at the age of 10. He also started teaching children computers and robotics at the age of 10. He has developed an initiative – the PNW Innovation Program – to provide free education to many Kenyan children who lack basic computer skills and the Internet. He is a visionary in the truest sense of the word.

He created a robotic solution to a major problem in urban life — identifying blockages in sewer networks using robotic sensors connected to smartphones — that detects and alerts the control room to take preventive action.

“I created a prototype that has been refined over the years. It also detects sludge and toxic chemicals and sends an alarm to the control room,” said Wachira, arguably the world’s youngest chief executive officer (CEO), on his own initiative.

“It helps authorities spot the sludge and clogs early enough and take preventive action with less human effort.

“If I get the opportunity to implement it in the UAE, I will be happy to work with any of the civic bodies in the Emirates, be it the Dubai Municipality or the City of Sharjah, to implement this robotic solution. I am not getting proper cooperation from the civil authorities in Kenya. But we could get that working in the UAE and then expand to the rest of the world,” he said.

This innovative robotic solution caught the attention of Expo 2020 Dubai, which asked Patrick to showcase the innovation at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) Startup at the World Expo to fulfill their dreams for Kenyan youth.

The UAE is a place for dreamers

It’s also a country that has started to attract global talent. It is a country that makes things possible for those who dare to dream in some other countries. Wachira also received the greatest support from Unique World Robotics, a Dubai-based company, who supported him and sponsored his trip to Dubai and his presence at Expo 2020.

Bansan Thomas George, the Founder and CEO of Unique World Robotics, noticing the spark in the young talent, began mentoring Wachira in 2020. “During the Covid-19 lockdown we received an email from him (Wachira) and started working with him. We started mentoring him and his enthusiasm and talent caught our attention from the start. We saw passion and vision in him for what he wants to do in Kenya.

“We coached him in robotics and oversaw his creations. We presented his name and startup concept at Expo 2020, and despite the application deadline, it was accepted. We were happy to sponsor him for the Expo, where he presented his robotic solutions. We are now continuing to support him in order to develop more innovative solutions.

“We are working with Patrick to create a mobile computing lab by finding an abandoned bus and converting it into a mobile computing lab – so he can travel around Kenya teaching students about computer programming, coding, hardware repair and future-proofing them. ready,” said George

Wachira’s passion for machines helped him experiment with laptops from a young age. From the age of 10 he started fixing old laptops, so much so that his backyard soon became a de facto computer lab – from where he started designing robots.

He started training Kenyan children at the age of 10 – in 2020. Driven by his curiosity and thirst for knowledge, Wachira pursued a vision for a sustainable Kenyan youth.

His foray into computer technology began when he enrolled at school in Nairobi. He is sponsored by a Dubai-based robotics training institute that will strengthen the UAE as a regional hub for innovation, artificial intelligence (AI), big data and robotics.

Wachira was given the opportunity to exhibit his Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project plan for Africa at Expo 2020 via the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), where he was the youngest booth owner. He was at the AIM Start-up at the Expo – promoting his skills, his potential in robotics technology – with investors to raise funds for the development of robots.

His skills include coding, electronics and electrical engineering, design thinking, robotics, etc. He is also interested in aviation and related technologies. It started when he was only three years old and traveling with his grandmother.

A prodigy

“I fell in love with math and computer science very early in my school days, almost as soon as I started my studies and was introduced to computer science,” said Wachira.

“Initially I repaired, repaired and got abandoned and damaged computers running again. This helped me get noticed by others in the neighborhood who started bringing their laptops and desktops to me to fix hardware and software issues and I used to fix them. I’ve used online tips to fix these and learned through google search and other online resources. This later led to the development of an informal computer lab in my backyard. People started sending their computers to me for repairs and upgrades instead of sending them to stores.

“I then started teaching kids how to use computers, how they work and how to fix things. All of this increased during the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic when our schools were closed and we had plenty of free time to pursue our hobbies. Being passionate about computers, I spent most of my time on computers and robotics.

“But these activities remained limited to my neighborhood until I started communicating via email with Unique World Robotics from Dubai and expressed my desire to learn more. They responded to me quickly and I started taking online classes to improve my skills,” he added.

His work for the community led Wachira to develop the PNW innovation program which aims to provide free education in robotics and STEM disciplines to educate, empower and empower young Kenyans for sustainable and rewarding careers. Its mission is to learn, upskill and future-proof Kenyan children, to network and engage with experts to realize their dreams for Kenyan youth through innovative solutions such as running a mobile STEM lab in rural Kenyan communities to fulfill communities.

“I was fortunate to have the support of my family who have supported me in my work. I am grateful to Unique World Robotics for their help, training and guidance in getting me to the Annual Investment Meeting Start-up where I had the opportunity to showcase my work,” he said.

Unique World Robotics teaches robotics to children and empowers students to build robots from an early age. Initially, Wachira started repairing laptops and desktops in 2020 and later building robots.

He now teaches free students in Kenya, having gained expertise in robotics and programming languages ​​such as Python. He wants to spread the MINT concept in Kenya and reach different levels.

Unique Robotics is currently mentoring Wachira and building a mobile STEM lab, a truck that he will drive to all the villages and spread his knowledge.

“The mobile STEM lab is getting ready and we will begin our journey in May. This will help Kenyan children become sustainable. Once we cover Kenya, I have a vision to expand this program beyond our country to other East African countries. However, we need funding and more seed capital,” he added.

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