Kenyan inventor Anthony Mutua has developed a rather ingenuous way of charging mobile phone – using the power of pedestrians.
His invention comprises of ultra-thin chips of crystal which are fitted to the bottom of a shoe’s sole. As the user walks, it generates electricity through the pressure exerted when it is stepped on. The chips costs around $46, and charges the phone through an extension cable that runs from the shoe to the pocket. Recently the project has been granted $6,000 for further funding by Kenya’s National Council of Science and Technology, as well as the promise of mass production to reach out to a larger market.
Please call me
Everyday users of mobile phone technology are sometimes blissfully unaware that the Please Call Me service was invented in Africa.
The service allows users who have no airtime to send a Please Call Me text message to any number to alert the receiver that they wish to be called back.
While there has been some dispute as to who exactly invented the service, the fact remains that it was either created by an employee of Vodacom or MTN in South Africa. Both former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate and ex-MTN employee Ari Kahn have laid claims to the invention, each with their own proof, but the matter is still being investigated in a South African court.
M-Pesa is a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service which was created for mobile operators Safaricom and Vodacom Tanzania, in Tanzania and kenya, respectively.
The ‘M’ stands for mobile, while ‘pesa’ is the Swahili word for money, and is currently the most developed mobile payment system in the world. According to online sources, the service was developed following a student software development project from Kenya in 2007, which was subsequently rolled out by Safaricom. The service is currently in use in Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, South Africa, India and Egypt.