Shuttleworth Grant Accelerates the AMP Spacecraft

The Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant received in November 2016 has helped tremendously to amplify groundwork on the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform and the AMP spacecraft. It freed us from immediate constraints and enabled us to:

  • Upgrade the Spacecraft in Agbogbloshie
  • Prototype a new roof system
  • Devise of an action plan for the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform mobile application
  • And advance plans to introduce AMP at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism— Shipping a second prototype #MadeinAgbogbloshie of the Spacecraft and showcase grassroots makers’ production while interacting with local grassroots makers, all of this as an attempt to link and strenghten different communities of makers around the globe.

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The last months’ production, including the conversation with the Public Interest Design community met in Portland (AMP won the SEED Award 2017), are ground work to our next phase of AMP, which is to prototype a sustainable and viable business model so the Spacecraft operates in autonomous manner in a variety of grassroots communities.

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Thank you to the Shuttleworth Foundation, Ugo Vallauri and Janet Gunter co-founders of the Restart Project and the Restart Project community.

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Archibots: Re-making Agbogbloshie (intro session)

The first session of the Archibots workshop came off as scheduled on the May 30th 2014. The event was well attended by people from various disciplinary backgrounds. There were engineers, architects, CAD technicians, business men & women and lecturers as well as from various nationalities, such as Spain and the Netherlands. This was the introductory session for Archibots, a design workshop to prototype architecture robots for Agbogbloshie.  As part of the event, all three collaborating organizations (tap, AMP and MESH) made presentations on what they do. AMP co-lead DK Osseo-Asare, introduced participants to Agbogbloshie E-waste circuitry, which is the context for the architecture robots to be designed and the key design concepts as far as AMP is concerned. Some of the videos that were selected to provide inspiration for participants can be found here . The team is eagerly awaiting the next phase which is the design session scheduled for June 7th 2014 at Hub Accra. This promises to be just as exciting as the May 30th event. Thanks to our friend and ally, media partners MESH Ghana for compiling footage of the event, which can be found at Archibots: Remaking Agbogbloshie.

archibots-workshop-1-MOTION

Momo Paris: the multiple facets of mobile usage in Africa

On May 19, 2014, Yasmine Abbas (AMP co-founder) gave a 10 minutes presentation on AMP and AMP’s mobile phone application for makers in Africa at the Mobile Monday (MoMo) event held at the NUMA. Currently the team uses mobile phone to map fieldwork in Agbogbloshie. The AMP digital platform, yet to be developed, is thought to become a mobile learning and banking tool. Via the AMP digital platform, makers will be able to get information on e-waste, to share how to manuals and information on makers’ production–MADE IN AGBOGBLOSHIE–, to get training on (dis)assembly–we are very much inspired by the videos of the Khan Academy (ours will be filmed in the spacecraf)t. The digital platform is envisaged to become a commercial platform to sell makers’ production and make micro-finance transactions. We are working on the project–so don’t get caught by the use of a smart phone (which are increasingly available in Africa) to visualize the concept!

AMP MoMo Image produced by intern Yasmine Sarehane

During that event, UNICEF representatives mentioned the Rio Youth Mapping project developed in collaboration with the MIT Mobile Experience Lab.

This project explores tools to help youth in Rio de Janeiro build impactful, communicative digital maps using mobile and web technologies. A phone application allows youth to produce a realtime portrait of their community through geo-located photos and videos, organized in thematic maps.

This project is evidently of great inspiration to us as we are developing maps to visualize fieldwork conducted in Agbogbloshie.

Innovation Prize for Africa

The African Innovation Foundation held a round-table discussion on the theme “A Path to Building Industrial Nation Skillsets in Africa” ahead of the 2014 Innovation Prize for Africa awards ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria. Thanks to invitation via Emeka Okafor, I participated on the first panel, where we explored the question “Africa’s Innovation Spaces: How do they unleash African ingenuity and are they enough?”

Other panelists were Karim SY (founder of Jokko Labs); McLean Sibanda (CEO of Innovation Hub in Pretoria); Kamau Gachigi (Founder Fablab University of Nairobi, Chairman and Coordinator of UoN Science and Technology Park); and Hauwa Yabani (Director of Abuja Technology Village).

Emeka Okafor — who in addition to AIF advisor is also curator of Maker Faire Africa, superblogger and director of TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania — mediated the panel and set up the conversation as follows:

“Unstructured interdisciplinary avenues ranging from hubs to fablabs promise to kickstart innovation across Africa in a multitude of ways. There is the further prospect of vastly more dynamic output from laboratories and inventors shops, adoption of non-traditional educational methods; quicker design for manufacturing techniques amongst other things.

“Expanding the focus of these ‘spaces’ from their existing concentration in software over to agri-industry, manufacturing, research, medical equipment etc. could provide an accelerated alternate paths into industrialization.

“Leading practitioners at the IPA 2014 roundtable will examine the existing landscape and formulate potential paths and in doing so provide a foretaste of what to expect in the near future.”

Left Abuja inspired by the incredible innovations that the other panelists and IPA finalists are driving across the continent, and appreciative of the opportunity to present AMP — a design experiment in interclass innovation that is both related to but distinct from typical “makerspace” projects, in that the tools and technologies we are co-developing are tailored specifically for the Agbogbloshie e-waste ecosystem. Our work to build e-learning content and micro-factories that can assist youth with remaking 3E-materials (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is an effort to transcend the narrative of “e-waste” not as an end in itself, but as a vehicle to amplify at the grassroots indigenous innovation linked to youth-led entrepreneurship.

While I believe that universities have a role to play in nurturing maker culture, I see makerspaces as something separate, if not symbiotic. At the same time, we need to move beyond the idea that maker tech means making little Arduino-powered gadgets only. To truly innovate, African makerspaces need not only to 3D-print, solder and code, but also to sequence, grow, etch, mill, cast and forge.

AMP presented at the Family

Thanks to Hugo Amsellem for the invitation and to Remy Bourganel for the introduction to THE FAMILY, Yasmine Abbas presented AMP, an example of urban innovation and social entrepreneurship, to a community of tech entrepreneurs. The principal messages were that to innovate, entrepreneurs need to engage the context and that innovation happens through M&D, Makers and Development (in lieu of R&D!). Here is the link to the video!

Yasmine the Family

Presentation at ITESO (Mexico)

2014-2-6_ITESO Poster

Thanks to the School of Architecture at the ITESO for the opportunity to present AMP to the Masters in City and Sustainable Public Space and Masters in Sustainable Construction programs in Guadalajara, Mexico. Great questions and discussion. Apparently 60% of Mexico’s economy is also “informal sector”…a lot to be done & also possibilities for future collaboration across the “global South”. Conference report “Waste as an opportunity: Agbogbloshie” by Adriana López-Acosta is online (in Spanish).

MESH confab: Behance Portfolio Review at Hub Accra

Had a lot of fun at Hub Accra this weekend, sharing work, feedback and inspiration with the creative crowd as part of world-wide Behance Portfolio Reviews (better pics here). The event was organized by Hassan Salih — the force behind the Accratopia project — and previewed his new venture MESH. Gave a quick intro to AMP, made this anigif and started recruiting awesome people who like to make things to get involved with building the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform.