Remembering The 13 Year Old Self-Taught Inventor From Sierra Leone

Remembering The 13 Year Old Self-Taught Inventor From Sierra Leone

At the tender age of 13, Kevin Doe, surprised the world, as he created generators and batteries, and went ahead to become an inventor, without any formal university education.

2 years before then, he had started to show interest in the world of engineering, as he collected scrap materials and piled them up in his room at home.

He would go to bed by 7 pm, and then wake up at midnight to work on the scraps he had gathered, while his mother and his siblings slept.

He made the batteries and generators, from scrap materials which he picked up from trash bins on his way back from school.

Kevin Doe, became the youngest person in human history to get invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT. This is no small feet for a boy who has never seen the four walls of a university, nor have being tutored by anyone on the basics of electronics engineering.

At 13, he built his own radio transmitter and generator. With these he started and managed his own radio station in Sierra Leone, where he broadcasted news and played music under the nickname ‘DJ Focus.’

The generator which powered the radio station, was created from a voltage stabilizer that was degraded and spoilt. A simple antena makes it possible for people in his neigbohood to listen in.

His radio station was made up of a 3-channel mixer, amplifier and microphone receiver. All of these he made from what he gathered.

One other major invention which he came up with was a battery, which lighted up homes in his neighborhood. In an interview produced by for their THNKR YouTube channel, Kevin Doe told the interviewers that “The lights will come on once in a week, and the rest of the month, dark.” So he had to do something to provide electricity for his people.

His battery was made up of a combination of acid, metal, and soda, wrapped together with tape. He acheieved his prototype after several attempts.

The world would not have known the engineering prowess of Kevin Doe, if not for the discovery made by MIT at a national high school innovation challenge held in Sierra Leone, by an international organization called Global Minimum. The challenge was titled “Innovate Salone.”

With the help of David Sengeh, a Doctoral student, Kevin Doe would travel to New York, United States Of America, for the 2012 World Maker Faire. At the faire, he was honored with a seat on a “Meet the Young Makers” panel with four American inventors.

After then, he was slated to become a resident practitioner with the International Development Initiative at MIT, and a guest presenter at Harvard School of Engineering. There he will be exposed to more knowledge and equipment to further help his community and further his inventions.

Kevin’s story is so much of an inspiration for millions of African children, students and graduates, who see their environment as a limiting factor, to thrive in the field of science and technology.






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