Announcing the African Robotics Network (AFRON)
Technology is shaping the way Africans live and learn. Mobile devices contribute to better healthcare. Infrastructure fuels business innovation. Web platforms connect those at home with family abroad. Add robotics to the list of innovative concepts shaping the continent. Not only can robotics solve problems impossible to achieve with the human body, but the resulting automation drastically increases economic capabilities.
The following is a press release from the African Robotics Network, a group devoted to bringing robotics to the continent (especially at the institutional level).
The African Robotics Network (AFRON) is a community of institutions, organizations and individuals engaged in robotics in Africa. AFRON seeks to promote communication and collaborations that will enhance robotics-related education, research, and industry on the continent. To achieve this, AFRON organizes projects, meetings and events in Africa and at Robotics and Automation conferences abroad.
Established in April 2012, AFRON hosts a website, Facebook page, and moderated email list. There are no subscription fees or dues. To join, please visit the website above and click “Membership”.
For the purposes of AFRON, “Robotics” is broadly defined to include related areas such as automation, computer vision, signal processing, machine learning, and other related topics.
Inaugural Project “AFRON USD 10 Robot Design Challenge”: This is a competition to develop an extremely low-cost programmable robot for education. More information will be announced in June!
Institutions and individuals may join AFRON as regular or affiliated members. Member institutions are represented by a contact person.
- Regular institutional and individual members are engaged in robotics education, research or industry and have direct links to Africa. Examples of such institutional members include universities, research labs, non-profit organizations and companies in Africa. Examples of such individual members include university faculty and researchers; individuals running robotics programs for tertiary, secondary or primary students; African roboticists in the diaspora, and so on.
- Affiliated members are supportive of the AFRON initiative but may not have direct links to Africa or may not be directly engaged in robotics initiatives on the continent.
Ayorkor Korsah, Asst. Professor, Computer Science, Ashesi University, Accra, Ghana
Ken Goldberg, Professor, IEOR, EECS, Information, UC Berkeley