da Vinci, Tesla, and Turere


da Vinci, Tesla, and Turere

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to learn about in school was inventors like Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla and how their contributions shaped the modern world. It was always inspiring for me to know that all you need to change the world was a good idea and some hard work. The story of thirteen-year-old Richard Turere reminded me of this lesson.

Turere’s family are farmers who live near the Nairobi National Park in Kenya, and Turere’s job was to keep the park’s lions away from his family’s sheep, cows, and goats. He noticed that the only time the lions didn’t attack the livestock was when he would scare them by moving around at night with a flashlight.

After noticing this, Turere got to work assembling “Lion Lights.” He placed LED lights on the end of poles around the farm and programmed them to flicker to look like a flashlight; the whole system was powered by a solar panel and a car battery.

Since he used creativity to invent Lion Lights, Turere’s farm has not lost any more animals to lion attacks, and he’s been busy showing his neighbors how to set up the invention on their farms. Lion Lights are now keeping farm animals and farmers safe, and they are also helping to stabilize Lion populations (farmers no longer need to shoot lions on their property).

You can read more about Turere in this CNN article, and watch him speak at a TED conference in Nairobi.

– Chris Russ