Ugandan students design smartphone

Students at the University of Makerere in Uganda have finalised designs for a smartphone, in an attempt to localise production and create a specifically Ugandan device for the market.

A prototype of the device, which is to be known as the Pearl, will be available by June.

The Pearl will display a number of special features including GPS-tracking, data analysis, biometric security, and a mobile weather station, reports the New Vision.

“We completed the design late last year. The prototype will be out in June,” revealed Cosmas Mwikirize, assistant principal investigator working on the project.

“Uganda, like most of the other African nations, has always been a consuming country for foreign technologies. We want to prove that these things can also be done here,” he added.

Makerere University has gleaned particular attention for its technological enterprises over recent months, having designed and launched an electric car – the Kiira EV – in November 2011.

The Ugandan government provides funding to the university’s college of technology to enable the ongoing and numerous technology projects taking place. The university enjoys USh154 billion (US$57.5 million) of funding to cover the current twelve projects.

The college of technology has also received in excess of USh1 billion (US$374,000) from external development sources over the past year – in support of the two flagship projects, namely the Pearl and a project to create a solar-powered electric bus for public transport, to be known as the Kayoola.

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