IF anyone asked them, the two Tanzanian students who invented the radar system and missile interceptor would quickly say that before meeting at the university, they had nothing in common except their passion for computer technology.
Their passion led them to pursue a Diploma course in Computer Science, at the St. Joseph University in Tanzania (SJUIT) Andrew Nyoka (23) and Allen Mayenja (23) are just too obsessed with IT to a point where they spend their free time surfing the net.
Exhibiting their design at the ongoing 45th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), the students said the invention was part of their final year project.
Nyoka who is more passionate about missiles and rocket-propelled bombs said he was earlier supposed to join the University of Dar es Salaam to pursue a Bachelor of Education but refused and joined SJUIT in a quest to fulfill his passion.
“After doing our research and seeing other countries like Israel have radar technology we encouraged each other that we can also do it, although in executing the idea it was not easy,” he told ‘Daily News during an interview.
According to him, they got all the materials in Tanzania and until the system was complete they used more than 1.7m/-.
Mayenja expressed gratitude to their supervisor, Dr Amani Bura who encouraged them not to stop until they reached their desired goal.
“We had to apply for field attachment at Tanzania Automotive Technology Centre (TACT) famously known as Nyumbu to develop our idea thoroughly but when we got there they directed us to Tanzania Air Force Command for proper guidance,” he noted.
He added, “We were confident because years ago some of our fellow students were taken by the army through their final year project design. We are currently waiting for their response as we desire to develop this system even more under their guidance,”
Mayenja said the radar can be used in many different fields including air traffic safety and security, surveillance, monitoring precipitation and wind, and conducting soil analysis.
Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (range), angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain.
A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna (often the same antenna is used for transmitting and receiving) and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object(s).
Radio waves (pulsed or continuous) from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object's location and speed.
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology more than 600 direct and other 15,000 indirect employments have been created, thanks to the creativity and innovation of young people in the country whereby more than 94- innovative companies had been registered.
Over the past seven years, Tanzania innovation ranks grew from 123th in 2014 to 88th position in the global index signalling potential for adopting innovative technology and associated growth opportunities. The country target is to reach the 50th position by 2025.
Speaking at the climax of the National Competition of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MAKISATU), Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said many innovations can be protected through intellectual property (IP) rights; unfortunately, statistics show that for 2020 only eight patent applications from Tanzania have been submitted to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
MAKISATU is a platform that gives a chance to grassroots innovators from all over the country to showcase their innovations stand a chance to win awards and be supported to develop their prototypes further. It comprises seven categories (primary school, secondary school, the informal sector, vocational training, tertiary level; university; and research and development institutions).