Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Young Motswana genius invents first fingerprint telephone

Botswana telephone owners will no longer have to memorise long numbers to ensure that no one uses their phone without their consent.

This follows the invention of a fingerprint application added to a normal model of the landline telephone that will ensure security and accurate authorization from the user.

The application replaces the pin-code application which was a well-known measure of security for landline users, especially in work environments.
The locally-invented telephone that “made headlines in the United States” was tested at the Botswana Telecommunications lab in 2007 and was approved and recommended for use in Botswana.

The first ever fingerprint model received coverage from an-established and reputable magazine based in the United Kingdom called Communication Africa.

Countries such as South Africa, Ghana and Australia, amongst others, sent inquiries to learn more about the invention.

Pule Mmolotsi, a 33-year-old certified graduate of Biometrics Studies from Morwa Village, is the mastermind behind the new invention, which has been exposed to suppressed growth potential due to insufficient funds.

Mmolotsi revealed that his idea to invent the user-friendly technology sprung from the BTC chaos that erupted in Botswana around 2004, when many people were complaining about the mysterious hikes in their telephone bills.

Recently, Mmolotsi, who describes himself as “underprivileged” received a proposal for his brilliant invention from a United States-based association called the International Biometrics Group(IBG).

Although it offers an expandable career opportunity, the hefty requirements of the proposal are a problem for Mmolotsi to meet because he is required to pay an amount of US $40 000 for the phone to be standardized.

Mmolotsi, who is also the founder of the Investors Association of Botswana (IAB) says that funding poses a serious challenge to the success of the model. He blames the fact that there are no research and development facilities in Botswana for the hold back.

“Development costs are now over the roof, I am in dire need of funding for my invention to make a profitable venture. I have traveled from pillar to post, been to different companies seeking their sponsorship but to no avail or to little assistance. I have been to BOTEC, BTA, RIPCO, BEDIA, even traveled out of the country to South Africa asking for funding,” says Mmolotsi.

In collaboration with a Malaysian-based company called Neural Manufacturing, Mmolotsi was able to add the fingerprint application and connect the parts together so as to produce an excellent sample.

Mmolotsi revealed to The Sunday Standard that though the project has taken up most of his investments and savings, he has faith that things will all fall into place at some stage.
“It’s probably even my life,” says Mmolotsi.

Botswana’s genius started off as a normal student at Our Lady Primary School in Morwa, and proceeded to Borwa Junior School.

He went against the norm of proceeding to senior secondary school and decided to join Kumakwane Technical College where he then majored in Computer Science in 1993.

In 1995, the eager and hard working Mmolotsi started a small operation called Mochudi Printing Services and later became a computer instructor at St Michaels College for a year.
Taking a different route, he started working on a joint venture and formed a company called Data Kard Botswana while doing projects for various banks and railway companies.

Mmolotsi was the first Motswana to initiate Netstar into Botswana in 1998.
Netstar is a vehicle tracking and recovery company.
The man, who now owns a company called Worldwide Technologies Ltd, was first introduced to biometrics through television.

“It was a movie called Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith and I grasped the concept. My friends told me it was crazy to look into it because it was just a movie but I didn’t relent,” says Mmolotsi.

He later realized his dream and studied biometrics, which was very much a technological science, in India.
After successfully completing his studies in India he then went to New York to enhance his biometrics knowledge at an advanced learning institute.

His next stop was Malaysia where he received formal training in biometrics.
This was also where he met Neural Manufacturing employees who had a big role to play in the new application.
Nedbank from South-Africa even visited Botswana so as to see the services the relentless young man could offer them.
According to Mmolotsi, the phone is quite easy to use.

“First, one picks up the phone and presses their finger on the fingerprint application, if it doesn’t recognize your print then you can’t do anything with it.

If it recognizes your print, it will welcome you and write your name in text format and from then onwards all is smooth,” says Mmolotsi.

The inventor, who lives with his 5-year-old daughter, says he has to succeed for her future’s sake and hopes the business community out there could see the benefits of getting a “biotel”.

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