The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has pledged the government’s support for an 18-year-old inventor who has used empty paper boxes and other materials to design a remote-controlled dummy vehicle, an electronic wardrobe and other items.
The prodigy, Samuel Naamgwinaa, who is a first-year student of the Don Bosco Technical Institute at Odumase near Sunyani in the Bono Region, has also developed a water heater, a simple solar system for powering cell phones and lighting bulbs, as well as a computer game console.
Samuel was accompanied by his father, Mr Sylvester Dabour, and the Arts and Culture Instructor at the Don Bosco Technical Institute, who discovered Samuel, to showcase his inventions to the ministry yesterday in response to an invitation.
After lining up six of his inventions at the office of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, could not hide his astonishment and pledged support for such inventors to help them accomplish outstanding achievements and contribute to national development.
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Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the ministry decided to invite the young inventor after videos on his inventions went viral on social media, which caught the attention of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
After watching a video on social media on Samuel’s inventions, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said, President Akufo-Addo directed MESTI to hold a meeting with the young inventor to find out how the government could support him.
After finding out from Samuel about his immediate needs, the minister presented him with an electrical tools box.
Interacting with journalists, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said through the Free Senior High School policy, the government wanted to ensure that all students had the opportunity to be educated and to unearth their talents.
“Ghanaians are very smart people, that is why the government has taken science, technology, technical and vocational skills training seriously to unearth some of these great talents,” he said.
All the inventions use simple materials which Samuel either retrieved from old gadgets or purchased from a local market near his school.
The dummy vehicle uses a mobile Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) card which when dialled, serves as an ignition and makes the car, which is powered by a cell phone battery, move.
The heater is made of razor blades and a connecting wire and can be used to heat water when connected to a solar or electricity source.
The computer game console has a system unit which can also be used to recharge cell phones, a keyboard with up and down keys and a screen made of cardboard.
The electronic wardrobe, which does not need a key or padlock to open or lock, uses a card with a sensor made of a mobile SIM card, which can be used to lock or open it when slotted into an opening on the side. The system makes breaking into the wardrobe difficult.
The solar system has a panel for trapping solar energy which is propelled by some simple motors, which Samuel said he obtained from defective computers, digital video display (DVD) players and other electronic devices.
When it started
Samuel, in an interview, said he usually imagined finding solutions to social challenges, “then I see myself building something in a vision or in a dream.
I see all the materials that I need and when I wake up I discuss it with my teachers and I start looking for the needed materials”.
“I can also invent an electronic bedspread, explosives that can be used at mining and quarry sites. I have already seen all that in my dream,” he said.
He added that it usually took less than 24 hours for him to build the inventions he conceived.
Mr Dabour, the proud father of Samuel, said, “I knew my son, the fifth of my 14 children, was special since he was a child.
I knew God had blessed him in a special way. He started developing cars and other gadgets when he was three years old.”