Thaddeus Lebanon Muchuma is almost hitting his 70s but his innovative streak is not about to whittle. And for a man who has been around for so long he knows exactly how far Kenya has come as far as inventions are concerned.
When 69-year-old Thaddeus Muchuma first visited the Science Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1982 he was alarmed at all the inventions that many countries in the world had made. Kenya was there too but he was perturbed to see that the only invention that she had was the toy car made of wire that children play with.
He immediately knew that he had to take it upon himself to put his country on the map as an invention hub. So he combined the industrial experience he got after training in East London in 1975 and the training he got in Germany in ship building in 1982 to get into the invention world.
When five years ago he decided to build the hydro pedal plane, which is a boat that is propelled by cycling and does not require fuel to move, most people thought he was crazy to even think that it would work but he proved everyone wrong when education cabinet secretary, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi launched it last month.
The boat is patented under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). “There are few people like this in the world today. People who want to move the world, and we are happy to have one in the country.
We will make sure that he gets all the support needed in his various research work because in the end we are the ones who benefit from all the hard work,” said Kaimenyi.
The boat is manual, can use solar power and also be powered by an engine. The device when connected to the manual system, is designed for single cycling and double cycling system, meaning that one person or two people can cycle it.
The device also is designed with a double gearbox, overboard gearbox and aero gearbox or submersible gearbox, which rotates in the overboard gearbox to turn the boat while the propeller is running in water. The maximum rotation of the submersible gearbox or rudder is 360 degrees. “There are so many things that inspired my technology.
The first thing is that the human body needs exercise all the time in order to remain fit and the mind to also stays exercised and productive. The cycling will take care of that. Second, Muchuma says navy officers don’t need to go on the ground to exercise every day because they can use the hydropedal plane. “We can make this our own sport.
There are also many regions in Kenya that flood every year and the boat can be used in the evacuation exercise,” explains Muchuma. Muchuma’s strategy is to work on a green watercraft that will help tackle poverty.
The research and invention of the Hydropedal plane cost him and the government over Sh5.6 million and is now ready to be put to work. Apart from the watercraft, Muchuma also claims that this new technology can be used to propel aircrafts and big ships.
“It started from feathers, then to hot air balloons, then engines and now it is time to put the hydropedal planes to test as well. That is what science is about,” he adds.