Swahilipot Hub, located in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa, 483 kilometres south of the capital Nairobi, has got another star of recognition and significance in supporting careers in technology and innovation.

This is after an Anthropo-Biometric Body Machine was launched at the facility on December 9. The new machine, which uses Artificial Intelligence, helps in the generation of human metric values and presentation into 3D human body channels and models, will be used to interpret, analyse and predict careers 30 years in advance.

With a price tag of Ksh15 million, the super machine is a donation by the African Federation for the Gifted and Talented (AFGT) in conjunction with World Talent. It has now become the fourth in the country with data showing there are only 14 such machines in Africa.

The machine works by using modern powerful white lights camera, which takes a 3D internal image of a person, within a few seconds.

The information generated by the machine is called human metric values, which are the signal paths that determine one’s intelligence values. This information is transferred to a computer system, which displays the results on a screen. Reading, analysis and interpretation of the results are done within 45 minutes.

Prof Humphrey Oborah, the Secretary-General of World Talent and the president of AFGT, who gave explainers and answer questions from the excited attendees at the event said the machine’s accuracy stands at 90 per cent. In developed countries, it is at 99 per cent.

“It is crucial we know who the learner is before we put them in any learning system. Just like in the medical field, by the help of this machine, we establish the cause of sickness, before giving prescription,” Prof Oborah said.

He blamed the current rates of unemployment on Kenya’s education system and said that with the machine such frustrations can be greatly minimised.

“With this technology, we can professionally and scientifically assess the talent of a child as early as four years of age. That way, a parent can know where to put their money without any guesswork,” he said.

Prof Humphrey Oborah, the Secretary-General of World Talent when he gave an in-depth explanation of how the machine works at Swahilipot Hub, Old Town, Mombasa, Kenya on December 9, 2021. Photo/Steve Mokaya

He lamented that once again, the Kenyan government got it wrong by rolling out the competency-based curriculum (CBC).

“Competency, interests and passions are just signs of talent, not talent. What CBC is doing is like treating symptoms of a patient, rather than the real disease,” he said.

“But with this technology, experts build learning systems around the person, which are in sync with the results found out.”

The technology was first introduced in Kenya in 2010, but the government was hesitant to take it up, he said. However, even with the slow acceptability by the government, it has since assessed one million people. Professor feels that the number is so low, and suggests that the government should scale it up.

“I’m only a private citizen who saw something good out there and brought it for our people. We cannot afford to donate it to every school in the country. That is upon the government to do,” he said.

The newly-launched technology in Mombasa will start operations on January 4, 2022. During its first month, people will undergo tests for free, after which a fee will be installed. The main reason for this new machine in Mombasa, Prof Oborah said, is to recover the lost youth and direct them to channel their energy into something whose success is guaranteed.

Nadia Ahmed, the CAS for Youth Affairs lauded the new technology and termed the Mombasa people as “lucky” to have it. She said that it will give the youth a new meaning to what they want to do in life.

Nadia Ahmed, the CAS for Youth Affairs addresses attendees during the launch of the machine. Photo/Steve Mokaya

“This is a great move towards talent development. We should stop thinking of going abroad to look for opportunities. We can do anything within our country, and you can start from anywhere,” she said.

Anwar Ahmed, the County Chief Officer for ICT in Mombasa County said that the launch of the new technology is crucial in the endeavours to make the city a technology hub.

“The data that we will be getting from this machine will help us to make Mombasa a technology hub in the region. You know that we no longer depend on the port and sea economy as it were before. Times are changing and we need to embrace change,” he said.

“The country’s sea internet cable lands here and we should utilize it.”  He said the county government is keen to use the technology on the 30, 000 ECDE learners in the county. Besides, the technology will be used to assess the abilities of the disabled people in Mombasa County.

Mr Ahmed promised to help AFGT to set up clinics in the six sub-counties of Mombasa, for maximum talent development.  Prof Oborah said that with the government backing, Kenya stands to be a beacon of light in the continent.

Anwar Ahmed, the County Chief Officer for ICT in Mombasa County said the machine will be used in clinics in Mombasa in 2022. Photo/ Steve Mokaya

“If we can have good support from the government, Kenya can be the leading light in Africa in this technology,” he said.

The first Anthropo-Biometric Machine was manufactured after World War Two. It was meant to match government workers with the right jobs, such as cooks, drivers among other psychomotor skills-oriented jobs. Later, it was adopted into the education curriculum and other learning institutions in developed countries.

Today, technology Is used in various fields, such as in the film industry and games. In the film industry, it is used to determine which person fits a certain role best, for best matching and execution. In sports, it is used to know the part that a player can play best.

“In professional football abroad, how do you think clubs know the exact period that an injured player will stay off the field? It’s because they use such machines, and they can project precisely,” Professor Oborah said.

People who undergo an assessment of the machine are recommended certain learning models which can help them achieve their absolute potential.

Those who go through the recommended learning models can, in the long run, graduate from a recognised university in the world, without necessarily going through the traditional education.

“A learner gets credits, which can be converted to marks. Upon completion of the recommended model, they can graduate even from Harvard University,” Prof Oborah said.

“Big universities like Havard don’t concentrate much on grades. One can be poor in class but upon being assessed by this machine, you realise that they have great potential. Such are the likes of people that Harvard takes for training,” he explained.

He said that this machine will demystify and disabuse the notion that when one can’t remember what they have learnt in class and reproduce it in an exam they get labelled as failures.

The results from the new station in Mombasa will be sent to Nairobi, where there is a command machine, which can then send the signals overseas. A command machine costs Ksh34 million.