Nigerian software developers are in excitement frenzy as the Unity Board IoT a made-in-Nigeria Education Technology Platform hardware which is also an embedded AI / IoT STEAM Education Kit to drive learning and teaching of IoT, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence to accelerate local content development and indigenization of technology through human capital development in emerging technologies arrives.
Unity Board designed with Nigeria in mind is a creative medium for advancing teaching and learning, designed specifically as a hands-on learning tool to help today’s students build skills for the creative and digital economy through critical thinking, collaboration, communication, curiosity, problem-solving, and invention. It teaches Physical Computing combining hardware and software by focusing on the teaching of computer science and computational thinking creating a perfect way to introduce middle school and older students to physical computing that opens up a world of opportunities in the fields of robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), engineering, fashion, medical industries, environmental sciences, performing arts and more; ensuring better preparedness to enter the workforce of the future.
The driving force behind the Unity Board IoT Platform philosophy is Dr. Agu Collins Agu who the Director of the Corporate Planning & Strategy Department of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Agu Collins Agu holds a top-level Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences from National Technical University at Kharkov City, Ukraine where he invented a hydrocarbon-based solid substance for combined processing of materials using electro-conductive abrasive tools (Ukraine Patent № 58078, 25th March 2011).
He is a passionate leader in IoT technologies, open-source technologies, and local content policies too. A cross-functional professional, Agu Collins Agu remains a vision-driven individual with many years of hands‐on experience in the upstream ICT product design. Collins has also led the development of IoT Systems, for example integrating functions to help people from lower-income to interact with the Unity Board IoT with their mobile phones.
He has worked as a Design Engineer for Kharkov Electro-technical Equipment Plant in Ukraine responsible for the modernization of railway systems, General Manager, Ajaokuta Steel Company (under Reprom Ltd) that saw to the reactivation of the steel complex after more than 15 years of redundancy. He served as the Technical Director, UKRKHIMEXPORT (UKRAINE) LTD that manufactured power transformers for the PHCN distributions zones.
In 2008 he joined the Federal Civil Service as a manager and established the Research and Development Dept. for Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd and later accelerated to the position of Assistant General Manager & Head of Microelectronics Centre of Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. In 2014, he was made General Manager, Technology Convergence & Support Serv8ices (TCSS) Dept. of NIGCOMSAT Ltd. He was seconded to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), where he became the Director, Zonal Offices Coordination Dept, subsequently becoming the Director, Infrastructure & Technical Support Services (ITSS) Dept of NITDA.
He is also a keen researcher into Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), Education technologies platforms for capacity development in emerging technology, and has an interest in integrated Bluetooth functions.
Some of his projects and publications include the following
- Design & development of Sampson Board based on 8-bit PIC18F4550 MCU
- Design & development of NFC/RFID Reader based on PN532 with USB interface
- Design & development of IoT board ( Ruwatronik) based on ATmega 328 MCU
- Design & development of RFID Biometric Naija Reader ISO14443A, B
- Design & development of 4-port USB transparent hub based on FE1.1S
- Design & development of LED Scrolling Message Board based on PIC16F628A
- Analysis of the cutting surface of diamond wheels during the process of grinding tungsten-less carbide-tipped alloys” published in the Soviet Union scientific journal.
- Analysis of Energy Intensity of Diamond (spark) electro-discharge grinding of Hard Alloys using MQL (Minimum Quantity Lubrication) Technology.
- Peculiarities of Diamond (spark) Electro-discharge grinding of Hard Alloys with minimal utilization of Solid Hydrocarbon Lubricants
- Dissecting RFID Technology, African University of Science & Technology (AUST) March 2014
He founded the first non-profit IoT Hub in Africa TD4PAI IoT Hub and an innovation charity that identifies with cutting-edge technologies and in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their commercial applications.
Collins is a member of several professional bodies in Nigeria today including Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers (NIME), Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria(ISPON), Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe (NIDOE) – Ukraine Chapter.
While working on various innovative development programs in emerging technologies including the establishment of an affordable Private Technical University with strong international affiliations to facilitate students and lecturers exchange programs with a strong focus on technical research to strengthen the linkage between the industry and academia.
“Spent my weekend mentoring a team on IoT based Remote Farm Environment Monitoring System that measures Moisture, ph, Temperature of the soil and also Air humidity, temperature, Light intensity including Red Green Blue components. Air quality measurement – CO2, Methane, and Smoke Level measurement. It will drive a Smart Irrigation System with its autonomous energy system and could communicate via satellite in areas with GSM Blackout. It has an onboard 6-DOF Inertial Measurement Unit capable of reporting the physical status of the system, a kind of early warning system against vandalism. More sensors could be retrofitted making it a fully functional weather station.
Such is the power of the UNITY BOARD AI / IoT Platform!”. – Agu Collin Agu
The IoT applications bring a particularly tight convergence between hardware and software components, requiring developers to account for myriad details in each domain. The UnityBoard creates a single platform designed to facilitate that convergence through an ecosystem that provides a unified platform of components and services designed to address the entire IoT application hierarchy. Unity Board reduces bread-boarding and adopts a modular and scalable architecture that addresses challenges facing the IoT adoption, adaptation, and deployment in Africa; in diverse areas such as 1. Government 2. Healthcare 3. Fleet management and telematics 4. Security 5. Utilities & Service Providers 6. eAgric.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technological revolution that enables pervasive interaction between objects, people and environments. Data will be gathered by embedded sensors and actuators, which are then sent to specialised applications to create actionable information. Unity Board will spark the spirit of innovation in learners, and ignite great things! When students are free to invent and create, they begin to see technology as a means for solving real-world problems and taking their learning to the next level.
Unity Board is the perfect platform that brings both Professionals and Students (Industry and Academia) together; a made-in-Nigeria IoT (internet of things) fully-featured Development Board & Educational Kit bringing the internet of things at your fingertips with the possibility of talking to the cloud, creating great opportunities to assimilate smart technologies, design the next big thing and solve a unique problem.
Collins is currently working on putting together and mentoring a team to develop a solution for the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon project initiated in May 2020. (Smart Meter Project)