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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:52 PM

Self-Taught Teen Prodigy From Sierra Leone Wows MIT Engineers

Self-Taught Teen Prodigy From Sierra Leone Wows MIT Engineers

The latest installment of the THNKR’s Prodigies YouTube series highlights Sierra Leone teen Kelvin Doe, who is visiting the U.S. as a guest of MIT.

The 15-year-old is a self-taught engineer, who has never taken an engineering or electronics class. Combining scrap metal, baking soda and acid, he created a battery to power his family’s home. He also broadcasts news and music as DJ Focus on the radio, using an RF transmitter he created.

Kelvin is the youngest invitee ever to MIT’s Visiting Practitioner’s Program for international development– and watching THNKR’s look into his trip you’ll understand why. The teen scours trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters.

MIT doctoral student and fellow Sierra Leone-native David Senegh recognized Kelvin’s talents when the two met through Senegh’s non-profit Innovate Salone, which supports high school students looking to solve the country’s toughest challenges. You can support Kelvin and Innovate Salone by donating to its Crowdrise campaign.

http://mashable.com/2012/11/19/teen-prodigy-wows-engineers/

13 replies, 2390 views

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Reply Self-Taught Teen Prodigy From Sierra Leone Wows MIT Engineers (Original post)
The Straight Story Nov 2012 OP
NYC_SKP Nov 2012 #1
Warpy Nov 2012 #2
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #5
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #6
Warpy Nov 2012 #11
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #12
defacto7 Nov 2012 #3
Nevernose Nov 2012 #4
Stardust Nov 2012 #7
AverageJoe90 Nov 2012 #8
Exultant Democracy Nov 2012 #9
pacalo Nov 2012 #10
MichaelSoE Nov 2012 #13

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:00 AM

1. Awesome. Thanks much. nt

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:02 AM

2. A friend who taught physics in Ethiopia found the same thing

the students would scour junkyards and garbage tips after school to assemble things they could kludge together to do the experiments they found in their donated western textbooks. She was astounded by the ingenuity of those kids, as well as by their incredible thirst to learn.

Forget Asia. Africa will be the continent to bury us technologically once they shake off the vestiges of colonialism and the diseases like HIV and malaria that have kept them down for so long.

Remember, the three middle school age girls who discovered how to turn urine into hydrocarbon fuel are African.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:50 AM

5. And the boy that made a windmill out of junk from reading how in a book




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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:55 AM

6. And Solar Soda Bottle Lights in the Philippines




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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:36 AM

11. Those started in Brazil

and are now catching on all over the place.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:29 AM

12. there's a lot of money in africa now. we don't hear much about it, but i have

 

a friend living there and she has noticed it. a lot of building, a lot of development, a lot of foreigners. i've read some things that make me thing capital will move to africa once china is over.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:43 AM

3. Fantastic!

There are some great minds on the African continent just waiting to enhance the world.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:48 AM

4. Reminds me a bit of Grandmaster Flash

Poor black kid, scavenging the city's garbage so he could design, build, and play with his own (brilliant) inventions. Also reminds me a bit of the art from Japanese Internet camp survivors on display a couple of years ago at the Smithsonian, in that the human desire to create is sometimes so strong that literally nothing can keep it down.

http://www.npr.org/2005/08/29/4821652/dj-and-hip-hop-pioneer-grandmaster-flash

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Response to Nevernose (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:10 AM

7. Heheh! Japanese Internet camp survivors!

Sorry, I just had to laugh...

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:27 AM

8. Simply awesome.

Thanks, TSS. There is a LOT of untapped talent in Africa. Hope this guy gets far in life.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:05 AM

9. This i a portend of things to come

We have only been tapping the smallest fraction of humanities talent up to this point. Just imagine our misfortune if Einstein or Pasture had been born into poor families in the third world. Now take a moment and realize that statistically their have probably been a lot more great minds that never got the chance to add to our collective good because of where and when they were born. Internet access needs to become a human right it is in everyone's self interest.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:46 AM

10. *Self-taught*! This young man is just incredible!

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:15 AM

13. It is so good to read stories like this. A refreshing break from the craziness.

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