Africa has the world’s oldest record of human technological achievement: the oldest stone tools in the world have been found in eastern Africa, and later evidence for tool production by our hominin ancestors has been found across Sub-Saharan Africa. The history of science and technology in Africa since then has, however, received relatively little attention compared to other regions of the world, despite notable African developments in mathematics, metallurgy, architecture, and other fields.
Africa has brought about a lot of innovation solutions and is improving its technology to match that of the western nations and has no shortage of aspiring and creative minds. There are so many amazing inventions which hail from the African continent which the rest of the world isn’t aware of. Here are some of the greatest, proudly African inventions and discoveries.
The invention of mathematics is placed firmly in African prehistory. The oldest known possible mathematical object is the Lebombo bone, which was discovered in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland and dated to approximately 35,000 B.C. Many of the math concepts that are learned in school today were also developed in Africa. Over 35,000 years ago, Ancient Egyptians scripted textbooks about math that included division and multiplication of fractions and geometric formulas to calculate the area and volume of shapes.
CAT scan machine
The CAT scan is an unbelievable African invention that is widely used around the world in the medical field. This technology was invented by a South African called Allan Cormack. However, the idea was developed and made commercial in the United Kingdom. The inventor was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for his invention. The CAT scan, the electronic detectors and X-ray source are rotated around the body and in the process, the radiologist gets a sharp map of the cross-section (tissue slices) of the body.
One amazing innovation which also has its origins in philanthropy is the cybertracker. After spending time with the San people, Louis Liebenberg was urged to assist the traditional hunter-gatherers in preserving their knowledge and innate tracking abilities through the help of technology. Cybertracker software was developed which enables trackers to get jobs in ecotourism, as rangers in anti-poaching units, in wildlife monitoring and scientific research. The software has an icon-based UI which enables non-literate trackers to record complex geo-referencing and animal behaviour observations. The invention has become a keystone in job creation for indigenous African communities and crucial in anti-poaching and conservation initiatives throughout the world.
Another amazing invention of African technology is the Cardiopad which was invented by a Cameroonian entrepreneur called Marc Arthur the very first touch screen medical tablet invented and made in Africa. It is a computer tablet that is used for heart examinations. The gadget allows such examinations as electrocardiograms to be conducted in the rural and inaccessible locations. With the Cardiopad, electrodes are places on the patient and connected to the model that, in turn, connects to the tablet. When a medical examination is performed on a. Patient in a remote village, for example, the results are transmitted from the nurse’s tablet to that of the doctor who then interprets them. The gadget is mostly used in areas where very urgent diagnostic tests need to be carried out but are inaccessible. The innovation has allowed many hearts patients to get an early diagnosis, and this is a luxury as previously they could not get the services not unless they travelled to urban areas. The device is expected to facilitate treatment of patients suffering from heart disease across Africa and most especially Cameroon.
Quiet Cellular Antenna Technology
This is one of the most intriguing African inventions Paul van Jaarsveld and Gordon Mayhew, who are South Africans were the brains gifted us. The quiet cellar antennae technology has a square kilometer array plan that reduces noisy cellular emissions from base stations used by cellular companies. This African Technology is based on one phased-array principle that blocks radio frequency transmissions along given direction and also provides an omnidirectional coverage. The antenna has been tested in other parts of the world and has worked extremely well. Trail measurements have shown the the radio signal frequency levels can be significantly reduces while at the same time maintaining the original GSM coverage. The SKA is projected to be 50 to 100 times more sensitive than other radio telescope ever built, and an area without much radio emissions is essential for the success of the project.
The charging shoe is one of the African inventions that was recently developed by a Kenyan inventor called Anthony Mutua. This technology is applied to charge phones using the power generated by pedestrians. This invention consists of thin crystal chips that are fitted to the sole of the shoe. As a person walks, electricity is generated through the pressure that is exerted on the sole during walking by the person’s weight. The chips carry the current through an extension cable that extends from the show to the phone in the pocket and you don’t have to keep walking to generate energy as the shoes can also continue to charge phones after walks by releasing the stored energy after the shoe remains static. In this case, you can afford to walk or run without the wiring system and still be able to generate and store energy to be transferred to your mobile hones at a later time.
Many treatments used today in modern medicine were first employed in Africa centuries ago. The earliest known surgery was performed in Egypt around 2750 B.C. Medical procedures performed in ancient Africa before they were performed in Europe include vaccination, autopsy, limb traction and broken bone setting, bullet removal, brain surgery, skin grafting, filling of dental cavities, installation of false teeth, what is now known as Caesarean sections, anesthesia and tissue cauterization.
The swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs. Chauvier tried to figure out a way to take the hassle out of pool cleaning. The result was the Kreepy Krauly and the first one was created in 1974. Our dads have been happy ever since.
The Hippo Water Roller
The Hippo Water Roller was invented in 1991 by two South Africans; Mr. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker. Initially called the “Aqua Roller” the name was changed to “Hippo Water Roller” in 1993 to give it an “African flavour”. The association with water, round body and thick skin compares well to the famous African Hippopotamus. Apart from some minor changes and improvements by Grant Gibbs of Imvubu Projects, South Africa; the basic design remains unchanged. The Hippo Water Roller is exclusively manufactured and distributed worldwide by Imvubu Projects, a social enterprise – trading as The Hippo Water Roller Project. As of June 2012, approximately 42,000 Hippo rollers have been distributed in 21 countries directly benefiting in excess of 300,000 people. 95% of these rollers have been donated or sponsored by corporate businesses as part of their social responsibility programs.
Haya People – Tanzania
Carbon steel was invented by the Haya people in what is now Tanzania, starting about 100 AD, centuries before carbon steel was subsequently made in Central Europe. Archaeologist Peter Schmidt discovered through a literalist combination of archaeology and oral tradition that the Haya had been forging steel for around 2000 years. This discovery was made accidentally while Schmidt was learning about the history of the Haya via their oral tradition. He was led to a tree which was said to rest on the spot of an ancestral furnace used to forge steel. A group of elders were later tasked with the challenge of recreating the forges. At this time they were the only ones to remember the practice, which had fallen into disuse due in part to the abundance of steel flowing into the country from foreign sources. In spite of the lack of practice the elders were able to create a furnace using mud and grass which when burned provided the carbon needed to transform the iron into steel. Later investigation of the land yielded 13 other furnaces similar in design to the re-creation set up by the elders. This process is very similar to open hearth furnace steelmaking.
These furnaces were carbon-dated and were found to be as old as 2000 years.
Of course that’s not all. There are a list of other inventions from the mother continent which have changed the world. Dolosse, heart transplants, penile transplants, Pratley putty, speed guns, medical, military, safety, health and educational inventions. Africans have invented power barges, armoured vehicles, TV se lighting protectors, electronic outlet protectors, husking machines, mini-hydroelectric dams, generators, ballistics, space rockets, military drones, planes, boats, cars, dry bath gel, pathogen detection systems, cancer treatment, robotic surgery, humanoid robots, anti-collision systems and high tech prostheses.
Go on, tell the world about your home – there’s so much to be proud of as an African.