On 30th and 31st of October, Hive Colab in collaboration with IEEE and Log’el project organized a 2 day, hardware programming tech camp for hardware enthusiasts within Kampala.
The event kicked off on the evening of the 30th with a discussion debating whether hardware is essential to problem solving in Uganda.
The discussion which was kicked off by the Operations Manager of Hive Colab Ndyaguma Brian challenging some of the Hardware companies/startups to educate the audience about how and why people should care about Hardware startups.
Personally I will tell you Hardware is the new big thing for Uganda and even Africa partly because I believe there is still a gap between actual problem solving and a smartphone. With that in mind, Joseph Kayizi talked about one of his hardware products on the market today (Tambula) which is a tracking device for Boda Bodas and how his product is reducing the theft of motorcycles in Kampala.
There was another debate about making money and just having a cool project. We all love robots and how cool you sound when you say that you were behind the making of a robot. However, when it got to monetizing the robots in Africa, the audience went into a heated discussion and I for one think we should have another meetup to just talk about this. Nasur from Aloyo Electronics argued that it is better to make a product people want, put it on the market and make money off your product than making a drone which is going to win you awards and stop at just that. Well, like I said it was a heated discussion and I hope we continue it some other time.Day 2:
Day 2 was started off with a maker session where groups were formed. This session had people engage in a learning session about the different ways of connecting hardware components and the basics to get one started with hardware programming.
BIT Technologies an embedded systems company demonstrated how to program a microcontroller to be a standalone embedded system.
The event was crowned with an exhibition of the different hardware projects people have been working on and some of the highlights were Vvuga Wheel an ingenious game console which gives you the real feel of driving an actual car and a remotely controlled robot which irrigates your farm were some of the highlights of the exhibition.
Hive Colab is going to be running more hardware boot camps in the course of the coming year to get innovators the right skills and break the clique of software being the only field with innovations. This they believe will help provide more viable and effective solutions to the different challenges we have in our nation.