Guest Post: BugLabs + Barcamp Nairobi = <3

Editor’s Note: This was supposed to go live on Friday! Apologies. Pictures are live now.

We’ve been having a great time with the BUGbundle this week in Nairobi. Two local Java gurus are creating a demo app for the upcoming Barcamp Nairobi, which looks like it will be an amazing success. Because we couldn’t get a GPS antenna in time, we settled on creating a game using the accelerometer. But, here are some of the ideas that we came up with:

  1. Pothole Mapper (we’ll likely hack this tomorrow at Barcamp once we get the antenna) How about one to figure out road conditions. One of the most stressful things about driving upcountry or within Nairobi on unfamiliar roads is potholes or unmarked bumps. If you’ve moving at high speeds and one just pops up suddenly… We can use the accelerometer to detect violent jerks, up-down-up-down movement (bumps) and/or use accelerometer+gps to detect the vehicle swinging to one side to avoid potholes, gps to figure out where vehicles slow down+jerks to evade something… then send this data to a central server for every other bug user to benefit i.e. the bug beeps wildly when a pothole or bump is coming up.
  2. A shopping price comparison tool
    You go around town Nakumatt, Uchumi, Chandaria and start taking pictures of goods. These get entered into a database and you can now start monitoring where it’s cheaper to buy goods. Could even be done in an open air market with a picture and price entry of goods. Then make that info accessible on the web as a service for other people who are going shopping. Maybe you can even create shopping lists at home and retrieve them with this device, pointing to the “overall best” grocery store to buy all your goods for the lowest price.
  3. Stolen Vehicle Monitor
    Point a camera to a vehicle’s number plate (like the cops do with the speed guns) – the registration number is extracted and the looked up against a database to determine if the car is registered or has been reported as stolen.
  4. Extortion Cop Monitor
    Closely related to #3, use the same idea in reverse, and use the camera for facial recognition of the police. We can then create a database of “likely bribery” levels and create a Nairobi heatmap out of it as we begin to know each policeman’s favorite hangout and “prepaid fine charge”.

Okay, that last one might not be realistic, but it was a fun thought, as we had just been extorted for 2000/= ($32) the night before, on our way back from hacking for the first night. Ahh, the dichotomies of living in Africa. :)

Erik Hersman
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One Response to “Guest Post: BugLabs + Barcamp Nairobi = <3”

  1. Ibradahasla Says:

    When’s the next nairobi barcamp? Kinda missed this one. Love the ideas (all three) especially the second one. Would love to get more details on it. Can anyone help?

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