Living on the edge of Nairobi National Park, in Kenya, 13-year-old Richard Turere first became responsible for herding and safeguarding his family’s cattle when he was just nine. But often, his valuable livestock would be raided by the lions roaming the park’s sweet savannah grasses, leaving him to count the losses. So, at the age of 11, Turere decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family’s cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions.
‘Simple and low-cost’
His light bulb moment came with one small observation. Turere realized that lions were afraid of venturing near the farm’s stockade when someone was walking around with a flashlight. He put his young mind to work and a few weeks later he’d come up with an innovative, simple and low-cost system to scare the predators away.
He fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward. The lights were wired to a box with switches and to an old car battery powered by a solar panel. They were designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.
And it worked. Since Turere rigged up his “Lion Lights,” his family has not lost any livestock to the wild beasts, to the great delight of his father and astonishment of his neighbors. What’s even more impressive is that Turere devised and installed the whole system by himself, without ever receiving any training in electronics or engineering.
The 13-year-old’s remarkable ingenuity has been recognized with an invitation to the TED 2013 conference, being held this week in California, where he’ll share the stage with some of the world’s greatest thinkers, innovators and scientists.
Were you impressed with Richard Turere’s invention? Do you think he will someday invent something even more remarkable?
Source: Teo Kermeliotis, CNN
Image: TED Blog