UMaT Female Students Develop Alcohol Detector to Reduce Drink Driving at the 4th Innovation and Career Fair held at the University
Two 3rd year female students of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, namely: Mercy Adoley Quaye and Irene Okai have displayed ingenuity by developing an alcohol detecting device that will help curb drink-driving. The device was showcased at the 4th Innovation and Career Fair organised for students of the University.
According to Mercy Adoley Quaye and Irene Okai, they developed the device because driving under the influence of alcohol has caused and is still causing much danger to lives and property in the society. They also believe that drunk driving does not only put the driver at risk but also innocent passengers, pedestrians and other road users. According to the two students, the device has a mechanism that detects the presence of alcohol and takes measures when the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) crosses the acceptable threshold. A Short Message Service (SMS) would then be sent to relatives or the station master (in the case of commercial vehicles), when the presence of alcohol crosses the threshold value. The system will then lock the engine and prevent it from starting when the presence of alcohol is detected.
The Innovation and Career Fair is organised to provide a platform and an impetus for students to transform what they study in the University into feasible and scalable projects that would impact positively in communities and the country at large. In addition, it is to unearth the entrepreneurial potential among the students. The Fair brought together engineers, researchers, students, consultants, business executives, service providers and all those who are interested in innovation in Mining, Petroleum and related disciplines.
Welcoming the participants to the fair, the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, indicated that the innovation and career fair was one of the flagship programmes of the University and therefore continues to be one of the main pillars in the training of the students. “The quality engineering education we give to our students continues to make them critical thinkers and this is, therefore, an occasion and platform for those ideas to be unearthed and displayed for the whole world to see” he emphasised.
Prof Kuma reiterated the University’s support for His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s policy of a Ghana beyond Aid. According to him national development should centre on creativity and innovation and that would be the only way to make the policy of a Ghana beyond Aid very possible. He further indicated that, to be able to achieve a Ghana beyond Aid, therefore, the creativity and innovative ideas of the students needed to be supported with the required skills to improve on their projects. This, according to Prof Kuma, will help them to be able to implement their projects so as to become employers of other graduates to help solve the unemployment problem currently confronting the country.
Prof Kuma called on the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and other agencies interested in helping young people to create the enabling entrepreneurial environment to help fund, train and support the innovators to find space to learn about entrepreneurship and how to position their businesses for growth.
The Special Guest of Honour for the day was Ing Kwame Ababio, an Alumnus of UMaT. Ing Ababio is the Chief Executive Officer of Green Afro Palms, an agro processing Company dedicated to helping smallholder palm farmers to increase their yield using improved technology and make more money. He told the gathering that, in Ghana, 80% of oil palm cultivation comes with low output and that the method of production was also archaic. According to him, with Green Afro-Palms’ technology, smallholder farmers now process nearly 3 times more oil from their crops, and earn 3 times more.
Ing. Ababio encouraged the innovators to put passion and drive in their projects in spite of the challenges they may face as they try to get funding to implement their projects. He told the students that his motivation for venturing into agro processing, especially in the oil palm sector, was influenced by the fact that as a trained Geomatic Engineer from UMaT, he realised that there was a huge problem in the oil palm sector in Ghana so he decided that he will help find a solution to the problem. He said as engineers they are trained to be problem solvers and so encouraged the students to work hard to achieve their dreams.
Ing. Ababio also stated that engineering was to be seen not only as a discipline, but also as a lifestyle which should run in the system of those who graduated as engineers, something that is needed for their engineering to be of value to the society. He thanked the Vice Chancellor and the Management of the University for inviting him and also commended them for their efforts in giving students the platform for them to showcase their talents and passion – an action Ing. Ababio says will go a long way to help UMaT as a university, Ghana as a nation and Africa.