Kenya’s first open makerspace for design and rapid prototyping — Gearbox.


When Erik Hersman a.ka. WhiteAfrican and the iHub team were prototyping BRCK –a smart, rugged device that could connect to the internet in some of the most unfavourable conditions. They faced a plethora of problems, simple as they seemed, they didn’t have locally available solutions.

Derived form the frustrations  with BRCK, Erik pushed for a Nairobi based open makerspace called Gearbox –a hub for developers in Kenya to learn hardware and build things.

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By definition, a makerspace/ hackerspace/hackerlab is a center of unique communities, each supporting the individuals there to explore and do what they love, each an inspirational source of true education where anyone can learn empowering hands-on skills, each a vibrant hub of local community.

Gearbox seeks to be a unique space for members to showcase their innovative ideas, as well as share skills while providing a platform for capacity building in line with the integration of hardware skills with the vast software expertise available.

Gearbox is geared towards bringing about a shift in the way techies work by nurturing a community of members working on projects in computer technology, industrial art, robotics and electronics.

I’ve said for a long time that I think we in Africa have an advantage in making things. It’s a culture that’s never been lost, and we’re used to improvising, adapting and overcoming challenges that come our way. This is our first foray into that meeting of the worlds between high-tech and low-tech making, and I’ve not been this excited about something for a long time. — Erik Hersman

For self-dependence, the newly opened makerspace will be open to all at $12 monthly subscription.

Although the hackerspace and maker faire movements are growing rapidly, many people are still not familiar with them, where they are located, or what they do. TechPost will be bringing to spotlight the less-known hackerspaces and fablabs.

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