Ghana: AFRON’s US$10 robot design-competition

Image: Wikimedia

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a non-profit organisation, is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology. Spectrum – the IEEE’s online publication – reports that roboticists in Ghana and in the United States have launched an initiative to enhance robotics education, research, and industry in Africa.

The African Robotics Network (AFRON) aims to create a community of institutions and individuals working on robotics-related areas, and strengthen communication and collaboration among them.”There are many robotics activities emerging in Africa,” says Ayorkor Korsah, a professor of computer science at Ghana’s Ashesi University. “Our goal is to highlight, enhance, and provide support for efforts in different parts of the continent.” Korsah co-founded AFRON with IEEE Fellow Ken Goldberg, professor of robotics at the University of California, Berkeley. Goldberg says one of AFRON’s first projects is planning an international competition to design an extremely low-cost programmable robot for education.

The idea, still under development, is to create a simple robot with parts costing under $10 dollars that students would use to explore science and engineering topics. The robot would be connected via USB to a computer, and students would use open source software to program the robot’s behaviour and share their results. Goldberg acknowledges that developing a capable robot for just $10 is a challenge. “We want to get people thinking creatively,” he says. “We are not sure it’s possible, but it’s a target to aim for.” If they’re successful, robots could become a powerful-and popular-educational tool in Africa.

For article click here

Republished with kind permission from