Africa Prize alumni and co-founder of Lab and Library on Wheels Martin Bruce, shares with us the inspiration behind his innovation, its impact and the launch of a new and improved product. Lab and Library on Wheels is a mobile, solar-hybrid cart with gadgets and e-learning resources for under-resourced schools.
Can you briefly describe your innovation and tell us what inspired you to create it?
Lab and Library on Wheels is a mobile, solar-hybrid cart with gadgets and e-learning resources for under-resourced schools.
Lab and Library on Wheels was inspired due to the absence of requisite facilities - electricity, digital gadgets and the internet to digital and practical learning in schools in rural areas. It is a one-stop offer of a wheelable hybrid powered charging cart, with cost efficient devices with context-appropriate e-learning support and a Local Area Network (LAN).
What stage are you at now and do you have any immediate plans for your innovation?
After two years of deploying the initial modules on the field, we are currently finalising manufacturing for the improved and updated version of Lab and Library on Wheels. The updated product has a reduced cost of production and weight, because of new cost-efficient digital devices in comparison to laptops that the first version had. Some components are also 3D printed and use improved materials to make the product more durable and energy efficient, and there is increased range and storage for LAN. The month of October will used for on-field Quality Assurance and we will be officially launching the new version at the beginning of November 2021.
What impact has your innovation had so far in your country or abroad?
After seven months of rolling out Lab and Library on Wheels, we reached over 500 students, which is three times more than the traditional method of constructing computer labs would have reached. Students aged 9-14 in the programme recorded a 21% increase in their STEM test scores, demonstrating how Lab and Library on Wheels equipped students with more practical and engaging lessons than traditional methods allow.
What were the main lessons you learnt through the Africa Prize 2020 training and alumni programme?
The Africa Prize training and alumni community have helped us to clearly differentiate between our customers and users. Training on customer persona and financial projections have greatly improved our business. Products like the Growth Wheel have also contributed by shaping our team for the future. The Alumni Programme has created further opportunities for networking, human resource, and funding, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
What one tip for success would you give to your fellow innovators?
Despite your unwavering passion for your product, always remember you will never finish learning. So don't wait to be perfect before stepping out, for the best way of learning, is by doing.
Find out more by visiting Lab and Library on Wheels