Self-Taught Sixteen-Year-Old Inventor Wows MIT

It's often hard to pinpoint the effects of genius, but for neighbors who listen to 16-year-old Kelvin Doe - AKA DJ Focus - riffing, rapping and sending out requested tunes from the tiny radio station he built using broken and discarded consumer electronics, they're all joined into a web of music, sports, and local news that wouldn't exist without Kelvin's irrepressible inventor gene.

Living in Sierra Leone, a poor African nation burdened by a barely functional electrical grid, lights briefly flickering on only once a week, if hyperkenetic DJ Focus hadn't Rube-Goldberged the neighborhood station onto the air, listeners know they'd be living quieter, more solitary lives. The station's generator, scavenged from an old, rusty, voltage stabilizer, even provides electricity for Kelvin's home and neighbors who drop by to charge their cell phones. Leaving Sierra Leone for the first time, Kelvin flew to the US to participate in MIT's fabled practitioner's program, where he demo-ed his soldered and duct-taped radio hardware to admiring undergrads.

What is the best way to nourish inventors?

Photos: various, THNKR

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Ellen's picture

Beautiful, especially after I just had a conversation at Thanksgiving where I found out there are well-educated, wealthy Americans who are afraid to send their children to Africa when they are old enough to travel. Kelvin is Africa, too. David's summer camp has the power to carry change throughout a country, present and future. Thank you!

Kent Harrington's picture

Glad you enjoyed the video. He's one impressive kid. I wonder what their fears are? I hope a college snatches Kelvin up and gives him a great education. Maybe it will be MIT.