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Failure Doesn't Exist. It's Only a Change of Direction

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

What a week! So, the Monday presentations were cancelled and that gave us a breather. However, it was still a long tiresome week of learning, coding and implementing our solutions. The presentations would be held the other week. Every team was required to have at least one working prototype when presenting.

The week started off on a high note. We were given an entrepreneurship questionnaire to fill which we mostly did in the morning on Monday. The other time was spent on further research about our projects. On Tuesday, we attended an entrepreneurship workshop by Dineo Mkwezalamba from Dzuka Africa. The whole program was really interactive and fun and touched the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. I think one takeaway from the workshop for me was the saying “Entrepreneurship si Malonda”. Malonda is basically Chichewa for an exchange of good. Entrepreneurship is more than that, you can sell ideas, services and more! On Wednesday we had another workshop by Doug Sanyahumbi. What an experience! I feel the best part for me was the financial talk. Being a person that takes themselves as entrepreneur and some one that has attended a lot of entrepreneurship workshops, I feel most speakers dwell on the definition but don’t talk more on financial retention of the profits and knowing you aren’t making a loss and also making proper financial projects which was covered and I enjoyed every bit of the presentation.

On Wednesday we went back to working on our projects, however, we met some challenges moving forward. Initially we had found an ultrasonic sensor that we were going to use but then after researching online, we were unable to find the data sheet for the sensor. Research about this took us about a whole day as we were researching all the projects. However, we still did not find a lot of information After consulting Hillary, one of our advisors, we found out we could not find the data sheet mainly because that sensor was designed with a printed circuit board that was specifically for them. As such, we decided to use a readily available SGX-VOX oxygen sensor. However, this sensor would require a gain amplifier. To achieve all the tasks, we could whilst actually learning new skill; the tasks were shared. Doreen and I would work on the Arduino code, Charles would work on the 3D designs and Jacob was to design printed circuit boards. This particularly difficult for me personally because I have never been a fan of coding, mostly because I do not necessarily understand code. Therefore, it took quite some time and effort to firstly understand code and to code. I was however grateful, that I had help from all my colleagues whenever I was stuck and the internet too. Even managed to write a code for an ultrasonic motion sensor and program that on an I2C 20 by 4 LCD!

Everyone was pretty busy throughout the week just to at least come up with a working prototype. For three days, non-consecutively, we spent late nights in the design studio trying to finish our projects. The oxygen analyzer circuit worked but we remained with several things to do for instant the casing for our elements and the drip system. The codes (half-done for both codes), PCB and 3D designs were done but we did not have all the components. In addition, with each task seemingly possible, we ended up wanting more features. By Sunday night, we had a working prototype of the oxygen analyzer, a simple cardboard prototype of the drip system. We are on track with two of our projects but the vein finder. We hoped that we could be able to use IR sensors to help sense veins even on darker skin. Nervous for Monday’s presentations!

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