Simon Petrus: The Nambian prodigy who invented a sim-less and airtime-free phone using scraps

In 2016, Simon Petrusa Nambian student made headlines after his invention made the news in all spheres of the continent. The prodigy invented the country’s first-ever locally made sim-less phone that does not require airtime to make calls.

The young and talented Simon Petrus whose parents were unemployed at that time says he wanted to create something that will be free for all and make Africa proud. The phone works with radio frequencies, with no sim card nor airtime credit required; and calls can be made to anyone, anywhere, without interruptions, as long as they are done in an area with radiofrequency. 

The invention, which took two years for him to complete, was put together using scraps of old television and mobile phones, and required over $2,000 in funding from his unemployed parents who sacrificed a lot to ensure their son’s project was successful.

Other than the sim-less phone, Petrus’ invention is a whole unit comprising of the working radio, television, light bulb, a fan, and a socket. According to reports, the phone is not Petrus’ first invention. In 2015, the young man won first place at a competition for young innovators in Namibia for creating a machine that doubles as a seed drier and a cooler.

 

Simon Petrus clinched and won first place at the regional level for his “free-to-call” phone in 2016. “When he won in 2015, some judges thought that there was an engineer at home who was helping him. But the only help he has is from us the teachers here at school. He came up with his project,” Taimi Vatileni, Petrus’s science teacher told New Era. Vatileni also described the young inventor as an average student “in general”, but one who led his peers in the sciences. Petrus aspires to become an electronics engineer after school.

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