Imagine a person without fingers using a computer mouse and keyboard like any other person. This has been made possible by two students who have developed a shoe-mouse customised for persons with hand disabilities.
Lipson Ochieng, 17, and Joshua Ouma, 18, Form Three students from the little known Obura Secondary School in Kisumu County, say the device called “Kachapchap” was born out of compassion after they visited a special school.
“It all started last year in May when we visited Joyland Special School in Kisumu Central Constituency. We saw two pupils who had no hands completely left out while others used the government-distributed laptops,” says Ouma.
And last week, the duo wowed the world and were honoured when they presented their creation in an innovation competition at the University of Delaware in the US. They were the only African students in top five in the overall score at the Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs.
Ouma says they had to figure out how to connect a Bluetooth receiver in a laptop and one installed in the shoe.
“An Information and Technology expert helped us to connect the two and that’s when our dream started to become true,” he says.
As the government implements the Digital Learning Programme in public schools, a number of students in special schools may now benefit from this innovation to enjoy computer lessons.
But there is a cost implication. Each shoe costs Sh2,967 to develop.
“We are calling upon well-wishers to help us so that we can produce the gadgets in large scale to reach many people,” says Ochieng.
The students currently depend on a local cobbler to make the shoes. Already, some five shoes have been distributed to Joyland Special School.
Obura Secondary School Principal Mary Oruko, who together with teacher Isaac Anjenjo accompanied the students to the US, said their presentation was excellent and they were able to answer difficult questions from judges.
“We were encouraged by judges to improve on the technology and present it in the 2019 challenge,” said Ms Oruko.