Kelvin Doe a self-taught young inventor from Sierra Leone
Published on December 11, 2012
Kelvin Doe, a self-taught 15-year-old inventor from Sierra Leone, has become the youngest person ever to be invited to MIT’s “Visiting Practitioner’s Program,” after he invented batteries and a generator using materials picked from trash bins in his neighborhood.
He explained what inspired him to create the battery: “The lights will come on once in a week, and the rest of the month, dark.”
“I am motivated to do this work by the needs I have seen in my country, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere.
At the MIT Media Lab, I have access to immense resources and expertise. But it has become apparent to me that when I take the prostheses back to Sierra Leone, the machines and technologies needed to maintain them will be left at my lab.
I… launched a national high school innovation challenge, called Innovate Salone… In March 2012, we asked students to invent solutions to problems that they saw in their daily lives. Six weeks later, 300 students submitted applications encompassing some of Sierra Leone’s toughest problems. Some of them proposed new ways of providing quality education via the radio. Others suggested new agricultural programs for their communities. Eight finalist teams received several types of assistance: $500 to develop a prototype for their ideas; access to a network of local and international mentors; an invitation to a 3-day immersive summer innovation camp; and an additional $1,000 if their initial prototypes were still considered feasible, innovative, and especially promising after the first phase of development. Kelvin and I crossed paths through the Innovate Salone program.”