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Mathurin Oboukangongo

African Inventors

November, 2009
Mathurin Oboukangongo was born in the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), but spent just over 20 years of his life in Canada, his second homeland, where he studied automotive mechanics (fuel injection), industrial mechanics and architecture.

Mathurin Oboukangongo has been fascinated by invention since childhood. At age 9, he already wanted to build a robot for the administration of drugs to disabled people. At age 19, he started working on this childhood dream by designing the mechanical part of the robot. However, he was forced to stop this work in order to devote more time to his scientific and technical studies.

One of his first industrial achievements in Congo has been the manufacturing of a boat (a trawler) named Alpha PN. The trawler is 6 m long and 4 m wide. The trawler's hull is supposedly composed of wood (Sapele), metal sheet, plastic and fiberglass. Four (4) and a half months of hard work were necessary for Mathurin Oboukangongo and his team to complete this made in Congo boat for which 80% of the components are available in Congo.

Regarding imported materials or components, Mathurin Oboukangongo believes that they can be manufactured or produced locally. This is particularly the case of the trawler's Mercury brand engine (125 hp), as well as all the chemicals he needed to manufacture the hull's fiberglass.

The main stages of a boat's value chain have been apparently quickly assimilated. They began with the hull, then the cabin, the engine and finished with the wiring. A team of 14 people was mobilized to work on this boat. Most members of the team were not skilled workers. Mathurin Oboukangongo had to train them in all building trades (electricity, welding, glassworks, etc.). The trawler's manufacturing cost was about €35
,060 (23 million CFA francs) fully funded by the inventor and generous donors, mainly Canadians.

Mathurin Oboukangongo and his team organized the first trial trip on September 20, 2007 and made even more trials to test the trawler's stability. Today, only the trawler's wreckage is visible on the Côte Mondaine beach in Pointe-Noire. With this boat, Mathurin Oboukangongo could reveal to the Congolese that Chinese vessels were catching fish using dynamite off the Congolese coast, which fish was then sold in Congolese markets at the expense of consumer's health.

In March 2008, the inventor embarks on another challenge: building a helicopter. After several months studying books on the maintenance of military helicopters, Mathurin Oboukangongo could finally understand how they work. The two-seater helicopter being built is 75-80% completed. Alpha 516, the name of the helicopter, is manufactured with carbon resin obtained from the mixture of chemicals made by the inventor himself. To date, the helicopter's manufacturing cost is about €20
,000 (13.1 million CFA francs). Finishing costs vary between €15,243 and €30,487 (10 and 20 million CFA francs). The lack of funding and support has considerably slowed the initiative.

The helicopter will also be able to land on water and will be equipped with a GPS, infrared cameras and other devices capable of recording marine reefs. The 125 hp engine from the trawler is used to propel the blades of the helicopter. Instead of kerosene fuel, the engine runs on petrol! The Congo National Agency of Civil Aviation (ANAC) will need to give its go ahead for the helicopter to fly in Congo.

Mathurin Oboukangongo is also known for having manufactured a remote-controlled electric gate. It is in January 2008 that he showed the invention to the media (TV and Radio stations) in Pointe-Noire, the economic and industrial capital of the Congo. This gate allows its users to remain in his car when he enters or exits his private car park.

The whole mechanism was designed by Mathurin Oboukangongo, with the exception of the engine and equipment for the remote control that have been imported from Canada. The gate may not be revolutionary, but this is the proof that Africans do not need to import this type of equipment that can be mass produced on the continent. Each gate is sold € 4
,600 (3 million CFA francs). To date, three (3) customers have already purchased and installed the gates. The portal is made of wood, but can also be made of metal.

Before returning to Congo, Mathurin Oboukangongo designed a safety kit (briefcase) with detectors connected to a landline phone. It can also be connected to a mobile phone. The briefcase is a kind of guardian which, once programmed with a code, signals the fraudulent intrusion of a person in a house as detectors are placed at different locations in a house, building, etc. The briefcase has a memory chip that automatically dials the telephone number of the owner to alert him of any intrusion in his habitat, regardless of the country in which he is located. But the invention has not been commercialized yet.

Mathurin Oboukangongo designed this invention with his brother who still lives in Canada and is developing highly sensitive electronic systems. According to Mathurin Oboukangongo, his brother is even cleverer than him as he simply describes him as a true genius in electronics.

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