TWENTY FOUR-YEAR-OLD National University of Science and Technology student, Bernard Manzini, shed tears when his invention worked upon its first trial.
These were tears of joy for the lad who never in his dreams thought he would be a science student, but instead saw his future in volleyball.
But dreams change and sometimes one ends up where he belongs.
Manzini, a fourth year Computer Science student, invented what he calls “a Smart Home System” which in his words “makes our lives easy” just like many of these technological inventions.
So what’s this Smart Home System and how does it makes life easy?
“The Smart Home System is a system that allows the user to control household appliances using a mobile phone.
“It has two sections, the Bluetooth and the SMS section
“The Bluetooth section works in a range of up to 100 meters, the beauty of this section is that it also helps users with limited mobility.
“And with the SMS section you simply send a text message with your instruction, like bedroom lights off and the lights will switch off.”
He continued: “So basically it saves time and energy in a smart way.
“For Bluetooth there is an android application I made, it has lighting control, temperature control.”
“I designed the system to help the people of Zimbabwe to save energy, for example you check the status of your appliances whilst you are at work and discover that the geyser is on . . . you can notify people at home to switch it off.”
Bernard did not stumble on this idea while he was in the lab or when he was studying a chapter in one of their Computer Science books. It happened when he was in bed.
“I was lying in bed and was lazy to get up and switch on the light, and then I thought what if I could use a remote to light the bulb.
“I researched on the internet and discovered it was possible.”
Possible it was but not smooth sailing. He got discouragements and was called names; the one that stuck was “Bluetooth.”
“I got discouragements.
“Some of my friends started calling me Bluetooth, and some deemed it impossible.
“I got assistance from other students, like programmers, hardware engineers and I also consulted others till I gathered all the necessary ideas.
“Making the hardware was a challenge; I didn’t have the resources and money to buy the components so I had to ask for old components from other students, from the electronics guys.
“I also bought some components from South Africa using my own money.
He would sleep in the lab at times to complete his system which took two months before completion in April.
“I was shocked when we tested it, I couldn’t believe it and my colleagues couldn’t either.
“To switch on just one light was amazing.
“We used the android based system, I used my own phone to send the message, “bulb on”.
“I cried with joy as my colleagues started calling me a hero as the news spread all over campus.”
The next thing, Barnard was rubbing shoulders with dignitaries after his project was chosen to exhibit at this year’s ZITF where he got to meet Dr Amai Grace Mugabe and various ministers who visited their stand.
“I got to meet Dr Grace, Minister of Higher and Tertiary education Science and Technology development Oppah Muchinguri and many business people.
“It was a great experience as I never saw myself in the technology world.
“My dream was to be one of the best volleyball players in Zimbabwe,” said the former Mufakose High 1 and High 2 student who got 10 points studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry at the former school where his volleyball aspirations faded.
Manzini hopes for support in his project that it may grow and be successful.
“Obviously I would love to have my own company called Smart Base, but for that to happen I need support, funding to make this thing big and help my country,” he said.
“Right now I am working on another project which will use data to control appliances, just like WhatsApp.”
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