WINDHOEK – Growing up in a rural area with restricted network is what motivated Simon Petrus, 23, to develop an electronic device which he titled ‘Multi-phone call and alarm system’ to help those affected in his village.
Born in Oshiti-shiwa village in the Ohangwena region, he began the project in June this year.
“The device works like a mobile phone but what makes it different from a phone is that it works perfectly in areas with insufficient network, it works as a network tower and as an alarm system to monitor houses.
The phones can also connected to the device so they can have access to the surrounding network. The device can be used as an alarm system in the way that it can monitor a house by programming multiple numbers where it will report to incase the house is broken into,” he explained.
According to Petrus, he has done research and never found a project that works like his in the country, which makes it unique.
The project is the first of its kind born out of his desire to find a solution to poor network, not only in his village but other remote areas and how to improve on the monthly fee that individuals pay to security companies for their alarms.
Petrus who recently won the 2nd prize in the Youth Pitch Competition at the National ICT Summit 2019, told Youth Corner, that developing a multi-phone was not just a walk in the park, it took him sleepless nights to derive ideas on how to design the device.
Even though he did not perform well in the 12th grade, he was fortunate to get a bursary from Erongo Marine Enterprise to study at the Valombola Vocational Training Centre (VTC) where he is currently pursuing his studies in electronic engineering.
He said, “Along the journey of developing the phone, I was assisted by a fellow artisan who inspired me and helped me put my project together.”
Petrus aims to expand his project and develop more multi-phones that are portable and cheaper for everyone.
As nothing comes on a silver platter, the young man recalled countless challenges of which being comfortable with the surrounding where he was living was difficult, as there was a lack of capital to buy materials for the project.
“The main challenge was that, I didn’t have a place to do this project as I was in the hostel where I was warned not to do this,” Petrus said, his project was delayed for three months after he was found working on it in the hostel premises and afterwards he was dismissed from the hostel.
He encouraged his fellow youth not to ever give up on their dreams despite their circumstances.
He requested the nation to assist him with his project and ideas on how he can improve it.
Petrus developed a mobile phone with no sim card but uses radio signals and does not require airtime to make calls when he was just in Grade 12 at Abraham Iiyambo Secondary School in the Ohangwena region. This made him one of the outstanding inventors in the country.