By | November 16, 2018

NUST: San Youth Partake In Tech Project 2018

Over the past year, the Faculty of Computing and Informatics (FCI) has been working with a group of San youth on a number of technological innovation projects. Mobile telecommunications giant MTC recently showed its support for the Tech Hub project through a donation of smartphones.

The Tech Hub is a project which engages urban and rural San in the production of tech-enhanced accessories, thus supporting the group’s production capacity and entrepreneurial skills. An example of a tech-enhanced accessory is mood jewellery that utilises augmented reality. Under the supervision of Prof Heike Winschiers-Theophilus of FCI, Maria Kauhondamwa, a NUST Master’s student in Computer Science, co-designed these accessories with members of the San community, namely, Helena Afrikaner, Simson Kapembe, Isay Kamati, Hiskia Costa and Jan Guxab.

Patrick Mushimba, IT General Manager: MTC (far left); Dr Anicia Peters, Dean: FCI (fourth from left); Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Professor: Computer Science, and Project Supervisor (seventh from left); Joseph Mundjindi , Sponsorships and Promotions Manager: MTC (eighth from left), pictured with San youth.The project has demonstrated the potential of inclusive innovation, in line with the newly established Inclusive and Collaborative Local Tech Innovation Hub (ICLTH), an initiative by NUST in partnership with the Embassy of Finland. ICLTH aims to ensure that products developed by marginalised young people enter the market successfully.

The first production of tech-enhanced souvenirs is expected to be on the market before the end of the year. These projects, where indigenous people have been involved in marketable tech innovation production, are the first of their kind in Namibia.

The products are validated with the newly received smart phones from MTC. The collaboration also resulted in a joint publication which will be presented at the upcoming second African Human Computer Interaction Conference (AfriCHI) on the 5th of December in Windhoek.