Students Revolutionary Innovations Hit New Milestones

Prof. Ikua delivers the Vice Chancellor’s remarks

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) engineering students have hit new milestones in their bid to launch a rocket into space and electrify tricycle wheelchairs and tractors.

Under the projects dubbed Jibebe and Nakuja, a group of 31 students on Friday, May 6, 2021 unveiled their successful prototypes during an event organized by Africa-ai-Japan Project.

The two projects are multidisciplinary research collaborations comprised of students drawn from various universities.

Jibebe project which is made up of JKUAT and Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) set out to electrify tricycles and JKUAT owned Shujaa tractor, while Nakuja project which is comprised of students from JKUAT, Kenyatta University and Kenya Space Agency (KSA) set their sights on developing and launching a liquid rocket that can bring nano-satellite into low earth orbit by 2024.

Speaking during ceremony, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, expressed her delight for the student’s role in leading the charge in significant innovations.

Dr. Aoki introduces Nakuja and Jibebe projects during the event

While pledging full support for the project, Prof. Ngumi said “I look forward to the day when the project will give Kenya its first functional and locally developed rocket.”

In a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Bernard Ikua, the Vice Chancellor stated that Jibebe project could not come at a better time with the world shifting its focus to green energy in bid to in a bid to improve air quality.

Prof. Ngumi was quick to quash the notion that universities have increasingly become ivory towers explaining that “the outputs of this project will be commercialized to showcase the successful business incubation from university research.”

Reporting on the innovations progress, the projects lead, Dr. Shohei Aoki of Africa-ai-Japan said Nakuja project has managed to develop and launch two rockets, namely the N-1 which rose to an altitude of 32 meters, and the N-2 which was launched recently, with a target altitude of 500 meters.

Dr. Aoki added that further plans were underway to launch another rocket known as N-3, with the aim to achieve a much higher target altitude.

A section of the participants

He also said that Jibebe project aims to deliver both a production ready electric tricycle and the first fully autonomous electric tractor with self-tilling capabilities.

Both the Chief Executive Officer of Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya, Mr. Anthony Nzuki and Director , Kenya Space Agency, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Nyawade who were in attendance gave rave reviews on the two projects.

They both pledged full support to the initiative noting that the projects will inject the much needed economical alternatives while solving local problems in their respective fields.

Jibebe and Nakuja projects were partnership projects between JKUAT, Kenya Space Agency and Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya.

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