Inventor. Innovator. Engineer. Ghanaian tech student, Barnabas Nomo, knows how to get things done – but not for himself – but for the people who desperately need it most.
During the height of the coronavirus, Barnabas was taken aback about the lack of ventilators needed for those dying from the novel virus. So he joined a team led by Dr. Fred McBagonluri, the president of Academic City, and other students to build algorithms that would help them create respirators (soon to be ventilators). It was a savvy move to address the shortage of breathing devices many countries lacked when the pandemic hit.
“During Covid-19, many countries that had ventilators weren’t selling them because they needed them,” said Barnabas to Bohten during an exclusive interview. “It happens a lot during a crisis. So what we wanted to do is build ventilators to give to those who were in need.”
Before he began work in the medical field, Barnabas was an ambitious young man who taught students about product development in his hometown of Koforidua while receiving mentorship from his mentors, Chelsey Roebuck, Sam Moorhouse and Julian Bennett.
Years later, he discovered that a University professor was working in a lab to build a satellite in the region and he jumped on the idea to help.
“I always wanted to build enclosures that could help communities so I was excited to be a part of it.”
Helping build the satellite reminded him of his days in junior high school when he worked with some friends to develop a product that could grow plants. In an agricultural program he was enrolled in, he noticed a large tree on a farm and observed that the tree could regulate the temperature and life of plants. He sought to find new ways to control the plants’ climate because “most plants are surviving but not flourishing,” he said. He knew if he did further research, he could help plants reach their further potential.
“That was a game-changer for me,” he said.
Fast forward to 2017, Barnabas was entered into a local competition to present his findings in engineering and technology and won. His win gave him the opportunity to visit Dubai, where he participated in a conference to expand his knowledge in computing, coding, electronics and electrical engineering. He also participated in the Robotics & Open hardware space in Ghana, and most recently, he helped Bohten, who had recently acquired a 3D printer at the time, utilize it for developing frame prototypes.
When Barnabas is not coding or hacking together independent projects, you can find him working for Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE), the U.S. based non-profit that first introduced him to engineering. At ELiTE, he uses Raspberry Pi laptops to assemble portable computer labs, bringing computer science and open source software to communities that can benefit most from this developer community. He is also under the wing of one of the most decorated Ghanaian Engineers, including Mr. McBagonluri, who has 50+ inventions and 24 patents.
He is passionate about development, interaction, and effecting change through STEM. He enjoys speaking at tech conferences, contributing to open source projects, and building Arduino powered maker projects. He is currently studying computer engineering at Academic City.