Whizz-kid invents sim-controlled gate remote

HARARE - “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving,” so said Albert Einstein, a renowned philosopher of the 19th century.

His statement might not mean much for many youths born to fortunate parents, but bear testimony to how Innocent Chingono, who despite having an unemployed mother as a resource person, conquered the odds to invent a mobile-linked device for opening electric gates.

While his peers enjoyed full support of both parents in sending them to school, he had to rely on an unemployed woman to have a meal on the table as well as pay his school fees at Zengeza High 1 — in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

With life being generally tough even for those who are gainfully employed, Chingono’s mother, a widow, toiled to send her son to school.

Getting a single meal on any given day was the family’s greatest daily achievement, while sparing a dollar for school fees was something which presented a further challenge.

In all this, the 21-year-old Chingono never lost focus of achieving great things and turning around the life of his mother for the better.

After struggling to make her reach Form Two, things came to a head as resources to pay school fees were scarce, while his quest for a better future was also ravenous.

The inner desire to have a life of his own and surmount hunger and starvation that had chastised his family for too long, pushed him to read hard for his Ordinary Level exams from home, relying on borrowed textbooks and a few explanations from his peers fortunate to be attending classroom lessons.

As they say, “where there is a will, there is a way”, today he is a Lower Sixth student at Conway College — an elite top class school located outside Harare — reading for science subjects, after passing his “O” Level exams with flying colours.

His creativity and brilliance has seen him invent a mobile switcher — a switch that uses a mobile sim card to open or close a gate at home or at work.

The marvelous invention comes from a poor boy who is not a scientist by training, not just by imagination.
“It is just a talent in me, I never studied science subjects at school except for Integrated Science, which I did on my own and passed with a C,” he told the Daily News during an interview at the just-ended Harare Agricultural Show.

Seeing his academic ecxellence, the ministry of Education invited him to exhibit his ingenuity.

This is where he met Lovemore Kurotwi, Conway College owner and Harare businessperson, who could not resist enquiring on the sophisticated gadget which looked spectacular from afar but intricate in function.

“With this gadget, you don’t need to be at home to close or to open the gate. You just need a sim card inside the device and when you dial that number, the gate automatically opens,” he explains.

“You can call the number of the sim card from Bulawayo or South Africa for your home in Harare to open and close it. Someone who knows the number of the sim card can just call it and open the gate without having to wait for you. It is a time saving and user-friendly device made in a layman’s model for simple people like you,” he says.

“I see a great engineer in this guy, he is genius and given his background and upbringing, it is unexpected of him. That is why I said let me take him and offer assistance so that he can get quality education in a relevant field,” Kurotwi said. He offered the whiz kid a scholarship to study science subjects in his college.

Although he got better passes in arts subjects at “O” Level, he has enrolled for science subjects, with a combination of Mathematics, Geography and Physics.

“I will conquer, I have this feeling that I will get not less than 12 points at the end of it all and be a person I wish to be. This is like a dream to me, I have to live and ensure that I reap best benefits from it,” Chingono said.

“I know that it is going to be a tough time for me, but I will not despair and lose focus, I want to change the life my mother lived under and bring happiness on her face.”

His role model is Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean engineer owner of bluechip company Econet — which has grown to be a leading player in the cellphone sector.

“I also get inspiration from my mother and God. Masiyiwa makes me believe that I can make it in life. It is just this talent which he gave me that inspires me daily to conquer life,” he passionately said.

Just like his admirer, Masiyiwa grew up in a humble family to become a household name.

Although Chingono’s innovation is yet to go commercial and get much attention from possible users, it has been sampled by the ministry of Education.

The budding technician  is not resting.

He is pondering on his next creation, which he says, will be an advanced model which could enable people to control water pumps and generators using mobile phones while away from their stations.

“I am just dreaming about this gadget, but I hope that it will be a novelty. I am still putting it inside my head and I will try it when I am done with “A” Level or during school holidays,” he says.

With Chingono being the cyclist of this scientific life, his ambitious scientific thoughts and creativity are poised to take his wretched life tale to a success story.

Innocent ChingonoMobile-linked device for opening electric gates that Innocent invented.

Comments (23)

This is a great story of "hidden innovators" casting light on the status of our innovation systems. Do we, as a country, have a system in place to scout for such innovations and invest in their potential? This story says a lot about what we still need to do as a country. I am not clear on what has happened to this innovation. Education is one thing and innovation is another in terms of entrepreneurship. It is not a rule that innovations are knowledge-based (read as in formal education). Even if this young man does not end up been an engineer, he must continue innovating-he needs to be more of an entrepreneur. I hope he will not end up locked in a suffocating formal education system that teaches students to be followers and not leaders in both innovation and entrepreneurship.

TM - 23 September 2013

see story on: www.megastoon.com/?share=34850

wacpop - 23 September 2013

this yes a great story of a young man with zeal and desire but i am sorry to burst your bubble this is old technology it already exist. many estates in South Africa and Europe use that technology. otherwise its a great story keep it up.

Leo - 23 September 2013

This is not an innovation as in SA we have been opening gates using cellphones for years.You can open your gate in Joburg using your fone while you are in Cape Town.

chakachaya - 23 September 2013

there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with an african creative mind. chingono you have discovered yours. most have not. but it lies there waiting to be awakened.

wordwriter - 23 September 2013

Is it not about time that one of the big corporate giants pay the country back by relaunching the Young Scientists Exhibition so that such talent can be exposed to commercial interests. The young Scientists exposition was reall meant to allow young scientists to compete against each other and those who came up with innovative inventions were happily rewarded..this was somewhere in the 60s and 70s..why not let our school students showcase their talent as well? I take my hat off to Mr. Kurotwi for this recognition of talent.

gutter poet - 23 September 2013

@Chakachaya- Please give us the name of the company with this technology in SA and provide a link where they can be found. Outside this you come out as a mercenary imbecile who can not stand the idea that there is somebody who is creatively innovative than you can ever be in your wildest dreams..yah provide the name and link to the company doing this in RSA. Otherwse SHUT THE F UP!!!

gutter poet - 23 September 2013

I wait to see if the so called presidential scholarship scheme funded by the tax payer will benefit this deserving young man...

Rudadiso - 23 September 2013

The fact that this young man thought of this idea from scratch is to be applauded. If this technology is found in South Africa or Europe, its either here nor there coz this youngman has never been in those countries to copy the innovation. Please give credit where it is due. This guy is a genius. I think he should contact Strive Masiiwa for further assistance and advice, these two can work together. One thing for sure Strive Masiiwa won't fail this youngman.

Mudhiniwe - 23 September 2013

wakoman imi our so desperate for inspiration or lazy to search or have not internet access. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HnlBZ2Ku0E; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWK5OoTVi9E google for "open gate using cellphone" gives 165million results

googlymaster - 23 September 2013

another link from the 165m http://lifehacker.com/5818643/use-bluetooth-to-start-your-car-and-open-your-garage-door

googlymaster - 23 September 2013

Technology idzi dzizere paInternet - problem is that Zimbos have no readily available internet access to watch these for themselves. Nyaya iyi is similar kuneye muChinda uya wekuti ndaInventer helicopter. ANYWAY CHIENDAI MUNOTSVAKA $HAGI PA http://yournetpay.com/index.php?refcode=2838

Tech - 23 September 2013

this technology has been available on ebay for some time retailing for about 150 pounds. therefore it cannot be heralded as an innovation.

tony - 24 September 2013

http://www.witura.com/products/remote-monitoring-and-control-and-data-collection-system/gsm-switch/gsm-switch-as-gsm-gate-opener.html

tony - 24 September 2013

its a natural talent

innocent chingono - 24 September 2013

its a natural talent

innocent chingono - 24 September 2013

Chingono welldone. May God continue to give you many more great ideas.

sis - 24 September 2013

this is my idea i exhibited it at Zengeza one high in 2012...... my project opened and closed house doors and also set the house alarm. and the alarm would text the owner when there was an intruder....

tapiwanashe matangira - 26 September 2013

tapiwanashe's certificate for this model is right on the walls of seke high 1 school offices. he is the owner of this idea, he came first at the science exhibition of 2012 at zengeza 1 high,what kind of a prank is this. sowi to innocent but you stole someone else' idea,,,,,,

tarcia simango - 26 September 2013

you lie........ this is not your idea...... mine is totally different from your ..... I don't even know you ..... I thought you were going to say Its jus similar to yours...... if it was your idea, why do they allow me to get a first position with something that has already been done....... what was the reason for me compete with the others ?......... I think urikungo rwadziwao nekuti you didn't get a chance to expose your talent...... im sorry I didn't take your idea, but GOD gave me the idea.... as I am talking , I am almost ready to publish my second invention............

innocent chingono - 30 September 2013

you lie........ this is not your idea...... mine is totally different from your ..... I don't even know you ..... I thought you were going to say Its jus similar to yours...... if it was your idea, why do they allow me to get a first position with something that has already been done....... what was the reason for me compete with the others ?......... I think urikungo rwadziwao nekuti you didn't get a chance to expose your talent...... im sorry I didn't take your idea, but GOD gave me the idea.... as I am talking , I am almost ready to publish my second invention............

innocent chingono - 30 September 2013

you lie........ this is not your idea...... mine is totally different from your ..... I don't even know you ..... I thought you were going to say Its jus similar to yours...... if it was your idea, why do they allow me to get a first position with something that has already been done....... what was the reason for me compete with the others ?......... I think urikungo rwadziwao nekuti you didn't get a chance to expose your talent...... im sorry I didn't take your idea, but GOD gave me the idea.... as I am talking , I am almost ready to publish my second invention............

innocent chingono - 30 September 2013

iyi nyaya ndeyekunyepa iyi......thief

aruhufu guvhu - 13 October 2013

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