WORK IN PROGRESS

Work in Progress

The new Gearbox space is hustling and bustling: Our newly partitioned board room receives a unique ceiling and our electrical engineers are busy with preparing the leased office spaces for Usafi Comfort and Village Industrial Power (VIP) by fixing the lamps and electrical trunkings. Another milestone we achieved is the basic completion of the workshop on ground floor – the painting is done and the lamps got installed so that everything shines bright now.

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Those achievements make the next week being full of exciting news: the ground floor will be cleaned; safety marks will be set up and all our machines will find their place in the workshop. We will paint and furnish the board room. And we will produce our first self-designed co-working space table and test it! We welcome you to be part of our progress and follow our daily work on Instagram and Co.

ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) at Gearbox

Gearbox identified three participants in the competition. The three participants pitched their presentations on 21st of April 2017 at Gearbox Avon center. The event was attended by the executive director of Gearbox Dr. Kamau Gachigi.

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The first presentation was from Prof. Mulana of the university of Nairobi. His presentation was about potential of the enzymes isolated from unique microorganisms in Kenya. The second presentation was from Dr. Mbatia Betty of Technical university of Kenya. Her presentation was about production of biodiesel from waste cooking oil. The third presentation was from Dr. Ernest odhiambo who talked about electricity generation through gasification of biomass in cyclone system.

 

There was a question and answer session where the people in attendance asked questions and sought clarifications on the presentations made. Gearbox in partnership with Ishow will offer support to the three participants in a way that will help them achieve their set objectives.

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Job Opportunity

The International School of Kenya - Design Lab Teaching Assistant

Work Progress at Gearbox' first floor

Day by day, everyone at our new location at Avon Center, is doing a great job to change the former bank building into the Gearbox workshop. The ground floor got cemented and is now ready for all our heavy machines standing on it. The ceiling was removed in order to have a better ventilation in our future mechanical workshop. While this floor is almost finished, the work on the first floor is going on full speed: the lights got fixed and a partition was built in order to separate the kitchen from the board room.

It is getting brighter every day!

It is getting brighter every day!

Our soon-to-be co-working space

Our soon-to-be co-working space

Building the partition between the kitchen and the board room

Building the partition between the kitchen and the board room

The finished partition

The finished partition

Now, the main priority lies on designing our own furniture. The unique feature about our co-working space on the first floor will be that we are going to design and build all our furniture ourselves. They are going to showcase the possibilities of what you can do at Gearbox. Thus, creativity is sparking and new furniture designs are born which will represent the typical industrial design of Gearbox. Look forward to our fancy interior design!

Collective work on our furniture design

Collective work on our furniture design

Discussing the layout of the co-working space

Discussing the layout of the co-working space

GEARBOX AT THE FOURTH PASET FORUM

The fourth Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Forum took place in Nairobi at Safari Park Hotel between the 5th and 7th April 2017. The focus was to build and strengthen the capacity for scientific and technical skills in Africa. http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/paset   Research shows that Science and Technology programs are expensive in most African countries and this makes it harder for parents, universities and governments to invest in the facilities, e.g. the infrastructure, the equipment and the human capital that is needed to teach science and technology.

The fourth Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Forum took place in Nairobi at Safari Park Hotel between the 5th and 7th April 2017. The focus was to build and strengthen the capacity for scientific and technical skills in Africa. http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/paset

 

Research shows that Science and Technology programs are expensive in most African countries and this makes it harder for parents, universities and governments to invest in the facilities, e.g. the infrastructure, the equipment and the human capital that is needed to teach science and technology.

The PASET Forum brought together government representatives, the private sector as well as partners who have been investing heavily in Africa in order to maximize investments in key sectors while increasing the capacity of universities and research centers to generate knowledge that is relevant to Africa’s engineering and technological development. Since Gearbox is creating an environment that fosters technological innovation, we actively participated in the event through the exhibition of our mechanical and electrical machines. At our stand, we showcased our plasma cutter, a 3D printer, the Pick and Place machine for making PCBs and a laser cutting machine. We had the pleasure of explaining our machines and their functions to many people who were present, among them the Kenyan Deputy President, William Ruto, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i and the Rwandan Minister of Education, Dr. Musafiri Papias Malimba.

The PASET Forum brought together government representatives, the private sector as well as partners who have been investing heavily in Africa in order to maximize investments in key sectors while increasing the capacity of universities and research centers to generate knowledge that is relevant to Africa’s engineering and technological development.

Since Gearbox is creating an environment that fosters technological innovation, we actively participated in the event through the exhibition of our mechanical and electrical machines. At our stand, we showcased our plasma cutter, a 3D printer, the Pick and Place machine for making PCBs and a laser cutting machine. We had the pleasure of explaining our machines and their functions to many people who were present, among them the Kenyan Deputy President, William Ruto, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i and the Rwandan Minister of Education, Dr. Musafiri Papias Malimba.

THE GROUND FLOOR BUILD-OUT

The ground floor,which is 4,535 sq.ft, has been set aside for private space and a mechanical workshop, inclusive of a metal station,wood station,plastic station,painting and stores.

From the whole space, 1,145 sq.ft has been reserved for private space, while the rest has already been cleared and customized to host the mechanical workshop.

A few other adjustments are yet to be done to polish the space before any equipment are stationed including safety markings,industrial lights and sinks where necessary.

Here is a quick review of the process:

original Avon Center ground floor

original Avon Center ground floor

First phase was the removal of the floor so as to create relatively rigid floor to sit mechanical machines

Next was the demolition of the partitions to make an open space.

The open space with no partitions after all demolitions

Sanding of the floor

Removal of the ceiling and polishing of the floor

Removal of the ceiling and polishing of the floor

WORK PROGRESS

Starting 28th February, Gearbox moved from Bishop Magua on Ngong Road to Avon Center on Enterprise Road in Industrial area.

Change is inevitable. Gearbox moved to a 20,000 sq.ft of common and private space that will be available for renting .More so, better equipment will be available as purchase of bigger, effective equipment will be advised. Building of bigger prototypes will also be accommodated as the large space will have room for relatively larger masterpieces.

With the close proximity to Industrial area, raw materials and supplies will be easy to access, creating a profit base for all the innovation start ups.

At Avon Center, the ground floor is being remodeled into a mechanical workshop. The workshop will house: a metal station, wood station, plastic station, painting, hand tools and stores. As per now, a strong floor is being laid to support all the mechanical machinery.

The first floor is being prepared to host: offices, boardroom, working station and design lab.

Ground floor progress

Ground floor progress

Temporal elecrical space

Temporal elecrical space

Team meeting to set strategy on progress

Team meeting to set strategy on progress

DEPUTY STATE HOUSE COMPTROLLER VISITS GEARBOX

George Kariuki, the Deputy State House Comptroller, recently paid our makerspace a visit. Here is a quick review.

Gearbox Executive Director, Dr. Kamau Gachigi, welcomes Statehouse deputy comptroller, George Kariuki, to the makerspace

Gearbox Executive Director, Dr. Kamau Gachigi, welcomes Statehouse deputy comptroller, George Kariuki, to the makerspace

George kariuki acess the Juakaliscope

George kariuki acess the Juakaliscope

Sheila Wangari, a form four leaverdemonstrates the plasma cutter

Sheila Wangari, a form four leaverdemonstrates the plasma cutter

From right Brenda Livoi, Gearbox mechanical lead, George Kariuki and Ester Wanjiru, a Gearbox intern during the demonstration of the CNC milling machine

From right Brenda Livoi, Gearbox mechanical lead, George Kariuki and Ester Wanjiru, a Gearbox intern during the demonstration of the CNC milling machine

The electrical team demonstrates how to use a pick and place machine

The electrical team demonstrates how to use a pick and place machine

THE HYBRID CNC

With passion and interest in mechanical engineering, Simon Wachira, head of engineering at Gearbox, built the Hybrid CNC (Computer Numerical Control): a CNC that is both a pro-cut (plasma CNC) and pro-curve (router CNC) for Gearbox.

He worked with his company, Proteq Automation Limited, that is on the forefront of offering the latest industrial automation technology, industrial machine manufacture and product development among others.

This CNC cut costs to a third as compared to purchasing a CNC for each and fitted effortlessly on a relatively smaller space.

Simon believes in borrowing technology to make things that meet a customers desire.

A demo of the hybrid CNC

PRESIDENT ANDREJ KISKA TOURS GEARBOX

Gearbox hosted the President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, as he paid the iHub community a visit to get acquainted with tech start ups in the makerspace, with an intent of possible partnership and funding.

Slovakia is well known for it's car manufacturing industry as well as electrical engineering. Since 2007, Slovakia has been the world's largest producer of cars per capita.

He toured our makerspace and had a chance to interact with our innovators.

Here is a quick review of the event.

Gearbox Executive Director, Dr. Kamau Gachigi, welcomes the Slovakia President, Andrej Kiska, to Gearbox

Gearbox Executive Director, Dr. Kamau Gachigi, welcomes the Slovakia President, Andrej Kiska, to Gearbox

President Andrej Kiska assessing Karl Heinz's Juakaliscope

President Andrej Kiska assessing Karl Heinz's Juakaliscope

Michael Gathogo explaining the Fetoscope

Michael Gathogo explaining the Fetoscope

President Andrej Kiska being taken through a demo of the hybrid CNC router and plasma cutter made at Gearbox

President Andrej Kiska being taken through a demo of the hybrid CNC router and plasma cutter made at Gearbox

President Andrej Kiska being taken through a chilli gun demo

President Andrej Kiska being taken through a chilli gun demo

President Andrej Kiska receiving a gift from Gearbox

President Andrej Kiska receiving a gift from Gearbox

THE ESVENDO PROJECT

Approximately 3 million school days are lost each month due to lack of sanitary towels. Esther Mwangi started Esvendo- a social enterprise that aims to increase access to sanitary towels through vending machines that girls can use to purchase sanitary towels, promptly tackling this demise.

During the pilot phase, Esvendo used three kiosk outlets in Kibera and was able to serve 500 users. By introducing custom made vending machines and working with the safe spaces, they expect to reach at least 18,000 girls over one year and sell over 5000 vending machines in two years.

The Esvendo machine

The Esvendo machine

The Esvendo machine provides sanitary towels to girls  at a low price. With a ten shilling coin, any girl can purchase a sanitary towel.

A purchase demo

A purchase demo

A purchase demo

A purchase demo

Esther has already placed an Esvendo machine at Binti Pamoja in Kibera, a community center for young girls. She aims to install another at Darajani near Kibera Girls Soccer Academy and more of them over time.

Esther Mwangi with the Evendo machine at Binti Pamoja in Kibera

Esther Mwangi with the Evendo machine at Binti Pamoja in Kibera

In addition, this project will also provide health education and economic empowerment workshops for both women and girls in the informal settlements.

Esvendo is targeting rural and urban settlement areas that don’t have access to shopping centers, hospitals and schools.Esther aims to promote accessibility of sanitary towels without limitation.

Makernet Event

On the evening of February 10th, makers in the Health Sector converged at the Gearbox offices to share their inventions which have helped combat some of the issues facing the Health industry in Kenya.
The event was organized by Makernet, a consortium whose main focus is to link makers and maker-spaces to the market.

From left Makernet team Anna Lowe, Andrew Lamb, Michael Gathogo, Jessica Berlin & Gearbox Executive Director Dr. Kamau Gachigi

From left Makernet team Anna Lowe, Andrew Lamb, Michael Gathogo, Jessica Berlin & Gearbox Executive Director Dr. Kamau Gachigi

The purpose of the event was to introduce the just-concluded 4-month pilot project whose highlights included making health devices that could be utilized locally. A similar project is already in operation in Nepal.

The Makernet team interacting with some of the guests in attendance

The Makernet team interacting with some of the guests in attendance

St. Patrick Health Centre Director Mr. Patrick Maina listens attentively during the Makernet presentations.

St. Patrick Health Centre Director Mr. Patrick Maina listens attentively during the Makernet presentations.

Mechanical engineer Sato explains how his Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor device works during the Makernet event

Mechanical engineer Sato explains how his Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor device works during the Makernet event

Some of the devices they have successfully created include kidney trays, foetal scopes, centrifugal tubes, to name a few. These devices have already been tested out in the field.
St.Patrick Health Care Centre in Kayole and Amua Family Health Clinic in Kajiado have been beneficiaries of this initiative.

Makernet team member Michael Gathogo demonstrates how he makes copies of the kidney trays using acrylic material. (demo)

Makernet team member Michael Gathogo demonstrates how he makes copies of the kidney trays using acrylic material. (demo)

Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor

With a background in Mechanical Engineering, Sato Bonface Kariuki has been able to put his skills to the test, by coming up with a Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor, whose sole purpose is to detect the heart-rate of a foetus, and at the same time be able to tell the mother's blood pressure, throughout the 9 months expectancy period.

Mechanical engineer, Sato Bonface Kariuki

Mechanical engineer, Sato Bonface Kariuki

The project which is the idea of four (4) individuals, including an engineer, a nurse, a public health person and an I.T person, under the umbrella body of 4-month old start-up company,
Jalbit Tech, was developed after they discovered through research the high mortality rate of unborn children throughout the country.

Sato working on the wiring system on the Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor

Sato working on the wiring system on the Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor

Some of the factors that contributed to this were:
1. The duration between antenatal check-ups was too long, i.e. every 2 weeks.
2. Congestion in maternal health centres/clinics. This resulted in expectant women choosing to
skip clinic visits.

These factors resulted in the children having underdeveloped organs and others being distressed.

Although the project is currently at the pilot phase,it is believed to be a great solution to the stated issues, especially since the mothers-to-be will be able to use the device at their
own convenience, and from the comfort of their homes.

An expectant mother testing out the Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor

An expectant mother testing out the Foetal Heart-Rate Monitor


In addition, once it has rolled out, it will be retailing at an affordable price, so as to cater for people from all walks of life.

The Juakaliscope

With deep interest in 3D printed products, Karl Heinz has revolutionized the health and education sector by making the Juakaliscope – a 3D printed microscope which is portable, locally available and accessible at a cheaper price.

The Juakaliscope

The Juakaliscope

After completion of his higher education as a mechanical engineer, he used his knowledge and skills to venture into business. In two years, he has built and distributed his own 3D printers and subsequently started a mass production of Juakaliscopes.

Karl working on Juakaliscope

Karl working on Juakaliscope

Karl's 3D printer printing the Juakaliscope

Karl's 3D printer printing the Juakaliscope

Karl Heinz makes two types of microscopes: the student kit and medical kit, which vary in magnification. He prototypes the microscopes at Gearbox and tests them before mass production.

These microscopes can be used to conduct water tests, medical and livestock diagnosis.

Unlike typical microscopes, the Juakaliscope uses a USB cable to connect to a phone or PC. The specimen is viewed on the screen and preferably sent to a doctor for review or projected for study.

A specimen on the Juakaliscope

A specimen on the Juakaliscope

Demonstrating the Juakaliscope on a PC

Demonstrating the Juakaliscope on a PC

Lately, Karl has been working with Sidai Africa to revolutionize the provision of livestock and veterinary services to farmers in Kenya with the aim of creating a more sustainable service delivery. Farmers can now send their specimen to vets for diagnostic review from the comfort of their farms.In the near future, Karl aims to extend his reach to Central Africa.

Partner with us for a good cause

Gearbox hosted an interactive session with Hakob Arshakyan from National Instruments, known widely for Labview System Design Software and instrumentation products. He showcased solutions that can help accelerate systems engineering learning and productivity.

National Instruments offered Gearbox a six months licence of Labview Systems Design Software for member learning and use.

Gearbox provides a compelling platform for international equipment and software vendors in the hardware space to showcase their products and potentially influence future buying decisions.

Vendors are welcome to email us at info@gearbox.co.ke with partnership offers.

Gearbox as a fab lab

Gearbox is offering a fab lab platform for fab academy, with activities such as technological empowerment, peer-to-peer project-based technical training, local problem-solving and small-scale high-tech business incubation.

Laser cutting in progress

Laser cutting in progress

Fab academy is a distributed platform of education and research, in which each fab lab operates as a classroom and the planet as the campus of the largest University in construction in the world. Students learn about the principles, applications and implications of digital manufacturing technology.

The fab academy program runs for 6 months and students learn how to envision and prototype then document their projects and ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with digital fabrication after which, certificates are awarded on relevant technical topics and an ultimate fab Diploma when all topics are completed.

Empowered by the fab academy program, users can use Gearbox for fast paced, hands-on learning experience to plan and execute their weekly projects.

CNC miling machine 

CNC miling machine 

Students learn and mentor each other, gaining deep knowledge about the machines, the materials, the design process, and the engineering that goes into invention and innovation.

While building their fab academy portfolio of mastery of skills, gearbox gives students an opportunity to be effectively equipped and efficient by providing the makerspace, supplementary knowledge and technical assistance.

computer controlled drilling and milling machine

Gearbox 3D printer

Gearbox 3D printer

Sketch to prototype meetup

Gearbox hosted the Sketch to Prototype meet up to provide a networking opportunity for engineers, students, makers and entrepreneurs.

participants of the sketch to prototype meet up

participants of the sketch to prototype meet up

The theme was centered around bridging the gap between an idea to prototyping a product that meets the needs of a consumer.

During the session, we had an opportunity to listen to maker stories from various participants.

Karl Heinz, a Gearbox maker, makes 3D printed microscopes which are portable, cost-effective and easy to repair, qualities essential in remote health centers.

Karl,illustrates his 3d printed microscopes

Karl,illustrates his 3d printed microscopes

Yassin Bare, from BRCK, headlined the session by taking the audience through a brief history of kio kit from a product development perspective to the well known education technology solution; a digital classroom.

“Kio kit is a simple and elegant solution made up of 40 Kio tablets, a BRCK, a wireless tablet charging to reduce breakage and a hardened, water-resistant, lockable case. There is a single plug used to charge the kit and one button to power on the entire system,” he explained.

Barre showing the kio kit

Barre showing the kio kit

Apollo Sande, Gearbox Community Lead, took the opportunity to mobilize members of the audience to participate in the Jijiplan initiative aimed at improving quality of life through collaborative learning, trading and investing.

More discussions and progress will be facilitated by the Gearbox Forum.


 

 

Chege's Pre-seed Funding Experience

Dr. Kamau Gachigi, Gearbox Executive Director, admiring George Chege’s product

Dr. Kamau Gachigi, Gearbox Executive Director, admiring George Chege’s product

George Chege is a Gearbox member working on a smart controller to improve efficiency of chick brooders. He successfully completed a Bsc. in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Nairobi in 2016.

He has had an exciting and inspiring journey transitioning from a university student innovator where family support was a given, to post university graduation where he has to justify developing his project instead of looking for a job.

Fortunately, Chege’s father is a seasoned businessman and professional marketer who understands the risk and reward of private enterprise.

After obediently making job applications, Chege managed to persuade his family for support, winning over his father who is now a business partner, investor and leads product marketing.

This took demonstrating dedication to complete the project, meeting potential customers with his father to assess market feedback - which has been very positive, and formulating a smart action plan together.

They are now pilot testing.

For any recent university graduates with compelling ideas, what would it take to win the support of your friends and family to develop your idea into a product?

MICHAEL, MAKERNET.

Michael Gathogo is the project coordinator of the MakerNet pilot in Kenya, a product designer, entrepreneur as well as a Gearbox member.

Michael working on his projects at Gearbox.

Michael working on his projects at Gearbox.

Before Gearbox, he designed a range of products such as CladLight, a medical delivery drone and circular economy solutions.

At Gearbox, Michael specializes in digital fabrication, 3D printing, CAD modelling, CNC milling and tooling.

In recent times, he has dedicated his time to health and humanitarian acts. He has been repairing, improving and innovating health assist-hardware. Consequently, visiting a few hospitals to test his prototypes as well as repair broken equipment.

3D printed medical devices

3D printed medical devices

Before and after repair of a hospital oxygen flow meter

Before and after repair of a hospital oxygen flow meter

 Repair of a hospital sunction unit.

 Repair of a hospital sunction unit.

Repair of a centrifuge.

Repair of a centrifuge.

Fetoscopes (foetal stethoscopes – used to listen to a baby’s heartbeat in the womb)

Fetoscopes (foetal stethoscopes – used to listen to a baby’s heartbeat in the womb)

Michael at St. Maria Maternity clinic to test the fetoscope.

Michael at St. Maria Maternity clinic to test the fetoscope.

Repair of an Electric Autoclave.

Repair of an Electric Autoclave.

Android Things meetup

The Gearbox Android Things and post-CES 2017 review meetup was a success with developers, freelancers and students all geared up for training on embedded systems development.

The Android Things meetup was the first of its kind for local developers.

Developers working on Raspberry Pi 3 and Intel Edison at Gearbox

Developers working on Raspberry Pi 3 and Intel Edison at Gearbox

We introduced development boards such as Raspberry Pi 3 and Intel Edison.

The session was centred on developing Android applications for the Android Things platform. Developers had an opportunity to set up their development environment and deploy applications on to the platform.

Alfred Ongere talked about augmented and virtual reality technology such as Project Alloy which allows users to experience mixed reality.

Both augmented reality and virtual reality can find use cases in real-estate, land sale, expeditions, education and more.

Alfred Ongere, (ISP-MMU) demonstrating Samsung gear V.R headset

Alfred Ongere, (ISP-MMU) demonstrating Samsung gear V.R headset

Mixed reality will allow an engineer to design, visualize, annotate and improve their prototypes before production.

Intel Compute Card

Intel Compute Card

He further explained about the Intel Compute Card which is slightly longer than a credit card at 95mm by 55mm by 5mm and with a range of processor families in the works. It offers an optimal solution to power everything from entry level to full featured host device.

Later on, after the IoT session, audiences were treated to a fireside chat where they discussed blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, self driving cars and many others.

Fireside chat with (from left): Bob Afwata, Apollo Sande and Duncan Muchiri

Fireside chat with (from left): Bob Afwata, Apollo Sande and Duncan Muchiri

On future meetups, the developers will be taken through thorough sessions in bid to enable developers prototype IoT solutions from ground-up. This Meetups and hands on sessions will be hosted, delivered and coordinated by Gearbox at our premises.

We would like to thank Bob Afwata, Alfred Ongere, Kennedy Otieno and Duncan Muchiri for making this meeting a success.