IEEE Kenya: Easy access to 3D printers will boost engineering innovations


Vincent Kaabunga, Chairman of the IEEE Kenya Chapter address delegates at the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Innovation, Science and Technology (IST Africa) held recently.
Vincent Kaabunga, Chairman of the IEEE Kenya Chapter address delegates at the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Innovation, Science and Technology (IST Africa) held recently.

The government of Kenya and the country’s higher institutions of engineering learning have been challenged to make early investment in 3-D printing technology – the technology that builds physical objects on a small “printer”– as the technology had “potential to establish a new future for architecture, robotics, structural design, Entertainment and agriculture locally”.

The Chairman of the Kenya Chapter of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), Mr. Vincent Kaabunga said easy and early access to this rapid prototyping technology has the potential to give fresh impetus to the spirit of innovation among university students and could lead to the development of the next generation of commercial grade engineering break-throughs.

“IEEE Kenya has identified 3D printing to be one of the technologies to watch in coming years. We believe easy access to this technology by students in Kenyan universities will  spur engineering innovations in the country,” he said.

3 D printing technologies have recently received the attention of governments across the world with claims that the technology could be used to deliver food to astronauts in the moon.  The technology has also been applied in medicine for reconstructive surgery.

“The potential of 3D technologies printers is immense, and making these available to higher institution of learning will have great impact, especially in robotics, manufacturing and architectural engineering,” said Mr Kaabunga.

IEEE Kenya said that the government should not worry about recent reports that 3D technologies could be used to print guns saying use of the technology could be controlled through legislations. For more on this please go this link.

A sample 3D image.
A sample 3D image.

Speaking during the just concluded Inter-Ministerial conference on innovation, science and technology, the IEEE Kenya Chairman said his body had began talks with various organizations to finance set up of an engineering laboratory in Nairobi with modern equipment, including a state of the art 3D printer to facilitate engineering research and innovations. The facility, he said, will support collaboration among engineers and promote research.