Open-Space Fire Detector: KNUST Breaks Record by Developing World’s First Open Space Fire Detection System!

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has continued to set the pace as far as scientific and technological inventions and innovations are concerned. With numerous unique inventions in recent times, the KNUST students have in fact continued to prove themselves to be true pacesetters in Africa and beyond. Among the latest inventions to their credit are the Open-space Fire Detector and the Laser Smoke Detector.

The newly invented fire detection devices developed by the KNUST students came about in the students’ efforts to device lasting solutions to the incessant incidents of fatal fire outbreaks across Ghana.

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The open-space fire detector which is called ‘PySpy’ has been adjudged the first ever open-space intelligent fire detection and alert system in the entire globe; what a feat!

According to Professor Mark Adom-Asamoah, the College of Engineering Provost who briefed the Ghana News Agency on the inventions, the open-space fire detector was designed and built by InGineX Solutions, a student group from the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department comprising Derrick Brown Nabeel Amadu, Daniel and Peter Archer. Prof. Adom-Asamoah indicated that the ‘PySpy’ comes with a computer vision-based system that uses two cameras and other senses to accurately detect fire outbreaks, thereby alerting fire preventive authorities.

The Laser Smoke Detector which was developed by Charles Ofori, a Mechanical Engineering student, is also the first laser-based indoor fire detector device of its kind. The device uses imaging techniques to form a complete responsive mesh network across ceilings and top floors of rooms, making it easier and effective to detect early smokes before they cause much damage. It was developed to help increase responsive time of detection of smoke during indoor fire outbreaks.

The two spectacular inventions were discovered during the College’s Engineering Design competition dubbed “GESA Makers Faire”, a programme aimed at harnessing and showcasing the engineering talents of students at the College. The Provost said the workings of the laser smoke detector has been tested at the College, and appealed to policy makers to encourage the adoption of the technologies in the interest of the nation.

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These developments come at a time when the country has lost fortunes, including lives in numerous fire accidents. Ghana has always recorded high incidence of fire outbreaks annually, with the Kumasi Central Market being one of the most fire-prone spots. Records reveal that the market had since 1993 recorded 49 fire outbreaks which on each occasion, caused damage to properties worth millions of Ghana Cedis.

Statistics from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) indicated that more than 20, 500 fires were recorded between 2012-2015, with an estimated cost of GHC97 million. Available data also show that the Ashanti Region recorded 343 outbreaks just in the first quarter of this year.

One of the latest fire incident in the country is that of Paa Nduom’s Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra. It was apparent from all indications that the extent of damage done by the fire was one that would have been prevented if the necessary fire safety/fighting equipment and measures were in place.

It is hoped that these newly invented fire detection devices, as well as other safety measures will be employed to forestall the ugly fire incidents ravaging the nation.