This is a premier story in this column, Ordinary Youths Doing Extraordinary Things, put together by my magazine, @GlitzPlusMag and it is about a young Nigerian, who is contributing his research to the development of Science and Technology in Nigeria. While some youths are busy playing politics and some are being used as miscreants and political thugs, to settle cheap scores, taken to social media to apportion blames and curses, being used for election rigging, et al, a young Nigerian has chosen to stamp his name into the annals of achievers.
This young Nigerian is none other but Kwaku Williams, who built a drone, yes a drone, as his final year’s project at the University of Lagos, Akoka. Interestingly, he can be said to have dual citizenship, as paternally, he is from Ogbomoso, Oyo state, while also a Ghanaian, maternally.
He unbolted up to Richard Oluseye about his invention, career and journey. Aeronautics has been Williams’ dream career line from childhood. But unfortunately (in his own words), they are not offered in Nigerian universities. However, Kwara State University (KWASU), an institution recently created now offers Aeronautics. Williams said he intended attending the aeronautical school at Zaria but was hindered financially.
Notwithstanding, he settled for Electrical/Electronic Engineering on which he has obtained both a HND and BSc. He obtained his HND in Offa Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State and his BSc in Nigeria’s First Choice University, University of Lagos. William’s BSc final year project is titled “DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF PROPORTIONAL DIGITAL RADIO CONTROL SYSTEM (for R/C Air-plane and Quad-copter)” — submitted to the Department of Electrical/Electronic Engineering Department, University of Lagos. Here he tried to build a device that will advance communication with air-planes and quad-copter.
If we can recall, in December 2013, the federal government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, launched the first drone that was indigenously created, which was credited to the Nigerian Navy. However, Williams will be the first independent Nigerian to build a drone from scratch. According to Williams, this project is about controlling the dynamic surfaces of model Air-planes or Quad-copter remotely using Servo-Motors and the generation of ‘Thrust’ to create lift using electric-motors. One important attribute about this project, which many technicians will agree on is this, the airframe was designed using light wood owing to its high strength to weight ratio. The applications of such system is sweeping across all areas such as the movie industries where they are fitted with cameras, weight lifting and recreational purposes among others. Also, the design utilises the power from a Lipo-battery unlike the fuel engine version which offers slot of advantages.
You might be wondering, ‘what is the importance of this device and how does it change anything’… This is it:
1. Recreational applications (flying for fun or gaming),
2. Shooting of movies or media coverage (that is, a scenario where fitted cameras can be used in places inaccessible by humans; probably in crime/violence scenes, Atlantic, the beach or a tall mountain),
3. Security measures as a better substitute for CCTV (GPS intelligent modules can be incorporated to give it a specified locations of travel),
4. Weight lifting (as an errand device when built with high rating battery and motors).
In addendum, the project in its advanced form (high stability and reliability) is a step towards designing remote piloting for a full sized airplane as was raised after the Malaysian airplane crash.
However, had Williams not been financially constrained he would have designed a larger model, which will bring positive pundit in science and technology to the Nigerian government and people. This drone, built at the capacity of travelling ten kilometres, is capable of lifting up to 20kg worth of item.
When asked the motivation and inspiration behind this project and device, Williams calmly replied that he concluded doing this project in order to marry his course of study, Elect/Elect Engineering with his admired field of study, Aeronautics. This is coming after taking quite a lot of time to study the principles of flight and airplane designs independently.
In responding to the challenges faced while carrying out this project, Williams made a statement that he built quite a number of prototypes that failed but certainly added to his bank of technical experience in designing. At a point, he could spend the last kobo on him to purchase components for such fancy projects as this.
Williams’ dream to get a body go airborne has been since 2007 while he was running his diploma OND and he wasn’t successful until 2010 when he crashed his first prototype owing to his inexperience in piloting prototype airplanes.
Williams is a young intelligent and ambitious scientist, who is ready to change technological research in the country. In his words, “when I wanted to design a bigger project in the field, I made move to source for fund but unfortunately didn’t get the support from the areas where I visited.” If only talents are appreciated and things work the way they are supposed to in this country, you and I know that Williams’ gift will not be swept under the carpet. Hopefully, Nigeria will get better, and acknowledge the uniqueness of young people like Williams.
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