Kenyan Inventor Who Struck Gold With Scrap Metal

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Lincoln Wamae is an incredibly talented Kenyan innovator. Wamae’s interest in mobility saw him make numerous visits to junkyards in Nairobi in search of parts and scrap metal.

The self-taught inventor would go on to impress many around the world as he came up with a unique design for special electric wheelchairs which he began producing for disabled Kenyans, eventually starting a company, Lincell Technologies.

Wamae’s wheelchairs feature laptop batteries taken from dead computers as the main component. He sources parts locally from junkyards and only imports the electric motors from China.

His inspiring story has seen Wamae featured on international platforms including BBCBloomberg and Toyota Mobility.

Wamae built his first wheelchair in December 2018, taking the country’s rugged terrain into account. He has since built several more which he sells.

Wamae tests his wheelchairs by taking them out onto the road to mimic real-life scenarios.

“In my design, I had to consider the bad terrains we had, long distances we had from work to home and back.

“Again, I couldn’t design a chair that was using fuel because I am a good champion of green energy so I had to consider how I could use recycled material that included the batteries and the battery was the main component in the wheelchair,” he told Bloomberg.

By using batteries from dead laptops, Wamae also helps combat the rise of e-waste.

“My wheelchairs are powered by lithium-ion batteries. I source them from old laptop batteries. In the process I am saving the environment because I’m using e-waste,” he told BBC in a past interview.

The wheelchair seats are sourced from old, discarded chairs.

In future, Wamae hopes to expand his business to supply his wheelchairs across Africa.