"The Home Guard" an advanced security System That I showcased in Cairo, Egypt

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Taking part at the Maker faire africa cairo where 'I stole the show'

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Sunday nation 8th January 2012

Teacher’s big strike against insecurity

Sunday Nation 8th January 2010

When he decided to develop a security system for alerting him each time callers approached the entrance to his house, Robert Gitahi Mburu was responding to a security crisis.

It was in 2009 and burglars had just broken into his house in Free Hold Estate in Nakuru town and made off with his television set and a stereo system.

Since the robbery occurred when he was fast asleep with his family, Mr Mburu, who is familiar with electronic devices, decided to devise his own security system that would notify him whenever someone approached his gate.

His new invention, which he calls a Security Master, took him almost a year to develop. The gadget has won him awards and international recognition and is also a source of income.

At first, the high school teacher used his basic knowledge of electronics to develop a simple security system. He recycled electronic components he retrieved from old mother boards.

“I struggled to develop a touch switch which I later attached to the gate and connected to a beeper circuit so I would get a beep every time someone touched the gate,” he explains. He further advanced it into a security master.

A statement posted on the website of ICT Innovations Award Kenya describes the system: “The system is linked to a camera that takes over all electrical gadgets in the house, including your TV set, and records intrusion at instances. It comes with an eight-hour power back-up.

The alert system is connected to the GSM, texts the owner and, if an SMS remains unread, the system calls the owner of the premises and, if not available, calls two other sets of numbers.

The system can also take commands and execute them when texted; e.g. “switch on lights”.

Already, residents of Nakuru are engaging him to instal the security master at their premises at a fee. And they speak highly of it.

Supervise staff

Patrick Mwangi, a businessman, describes it as the most effective security system for keeping intruders away. He also uses it to supervise staff at his Menengai Grain Millers.

“This system is so elaborate. It informs us any time an intruder enters into our compound, even at night when we are away, by sending a security alert in the form of a message and a call through to our mobile phone,” Mr Mwangi said.

The unit, Mr Mburu says, is linked to a homemade optical, motion and laser sensor, which detects any movement within 15 metres from their positions.

And a touch switch is attached to the gate or the main entrance. It also informs the owner of the exact location of the intruder.

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The New Version of the ‘Security Master”

The electronic house security system in this invention disclosure employs a combination of security system detectors and warning system composed of a central system of made of electronic integrated circuitry linked to capacitors, inductors, resistors, diodes among others which can be retrieved from electronic waste therefore contributing to environmental health and safety. On this unit are linked home-made motion detectors, improvised laser beam sensors, electric shock generators, sirens, programmed warning voice commands, camera, lights, binary display unit, television , radio, computer and mobile phone among other gadgets as appropriate to subject premise capable of warning the owners or security personnel of eminent danger and the degree of the danger. The system has an inbuilt mechanism of sending warning and documentation of the security situation around the subject premise to a remote location.
How it works
In the preferred embodiment disclosed, the central unit which is the electronic console is an intelligent circuit that receives signals processes analyses and transmits digital impulses to specific warning systems in specialized ways. On this unit is linked motion detector which detects any movement within 15 meters from its position. In a home or business premise, this is positioned around a strategic position in the compound while touch switch is attached to the gate or main entrance door. Contrary to the conventional systems that only detect intrusion after break-ins, the security Master gives you alert before the bad guys make a break in. The System also has a digital display which shows you the threat levels in percentage terms. It also zones out your compound and thus will tell you exactly where the intruder is in the compound.
For example;
When one touches the gate the console in the house gives you a beeping sound which will increase in pitch and frequency if he/she opens the gate. Once in the compound, the intruder is picked by laser sensor or PIR sensor or optical sensor. The signal impulse is transmitted to the console which announces to you through programmed voice modules what kind of a threat is outside and from which sector e.g. “warning perimeter breach in sector one”. It then switches the TV on if it was off or changes the channel you are watching to the security channel. At the same time, it powers the camera and sensor unit’s robotic mechanism which picks your position and moves if intruder moves stops if intruder stops this means you will be able to follow the intruder on the live video without any effort. If you are away, the system’s GSM unit is activated and sends you a default text alert which you should respond to by beeping back to the system as a confirmation of your receipt of the text failure to which the system then dials your number. If you are not available, it dials two other numbers of people you have decided on during installation. During this time, the systems digital display figure increase, they are most high if the person under question did not pass through the gate like jumping over the wall. The system announces “code red alert” or “intruders” or screams out. These modules are intelligently picked out of the memory by micro-controllers. The micro-controllers also gives you verbal security briefing after every one hour. The most vulnerable place are guarded by dozens of laser beams which if broken trigger the system so they acquire burning property thus zapping the intruder or even blindening if you look into them. The laser diode which I simply acquire from old DVD drives work wonders. The system also takes over the lighting system. It turns on the security lights at dusk and off after 11 o’clock during which time ti makes an announcement that it has activated anti-burglar system. This means that anyone coming home after this time and touches the door or windows or tries to master the locks or cutting the window grills, immediately earth’s charges and triggers a one minute count-down timer which will be zap the intruder with 1000 volts of power. I decided on this due to the fact that In the convetional security systems one has to press an alarm and wait for help which may take ages. Therefore the security master ensures that you are alerted, shows the videos on instant and even if you were asleep it wakes you up, switches on the tv for you and insulates you from the eminent danger as no one can get into the house. As opposed to the convention security systems which only power the alarm unit during power outages, the system power the whole house for up to 5 hours during outages thus you are not in the risk of losing even the security lights. If thugs cut your mains power, the system has a way of knowing if its an outage or vandalism and thus triggers the siren before switching on the back up. With a DVR, you will be able to dial the IP and monitor your property from virtually anywhere in the world over the internet.

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Best ICT innovation for housing & Urbanisation Awards 2011

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Media Release

Maker Faire Africa: Ingenuity for all to see
Main photo: Robert Mburu, winner of the GE award, with his home alarm system.At this year’s Maker Faire Africa inventors from throughout the continent showed the world the vast talent that exists in Africa’s informal sectors. By MANDY DE WAAL.

More than 200 “makers” and some 85 projects were showcased at this year’s event with innovations that extended from creative reuse of waste material through to new manufacturing methods for producing sisal rope. “A highlight was the winner of an award sponsored by General Electric. Robert Mburu created a new alarm and monitoring system that can be activated and deactivated via a mobile phone or the Internet. What’s unique about this home alarm system is that it was entirely made by hand, all the way down to the circuit boards.” A young physics teacher, Mburu’s alarm system incorporates motion sensors, a digital display showing the number of intruders and has an efficacy of 98% up to 15m. Mburu’s prize is a week that will be spent learning from top GE scientists in Bangalore, India.

Photo: Uganda’s Norbet Okec shows off his solar powered traffic lights.

Maker Faire Africa is in its second year and is organised by volunteers that include Hersman together with TED Africa producer Emeka Okafor, Mark Grimes from Ned.com, Henry Barnor of GhanaThink and social designer Emer Beamer. The idea behind the event is to create a platform that showcases the ingenuity in the informal sector or what is called Africa’s second economy. There’s a great phrase to describe this in Kenya where this sector is called the “jua kali”. A Swahili term for “hot sun”, this phrase refers to those people who sit in the sun on the side of the road making goods for sale.

“There is a huge need for more local manufacturing in Africa. If you take Kenya as an example, the economy is beginning to improve, and a lot of this is driven by technology and big business such mobile operators, ISPs and technology companies. But underpinning almost every single African economy is this ‘jua kali’ sector, the informal manufacturing base that makes it work. There’s definitely more need for platforms that showcase the innovation that happens in this sector,” says Hersman.

Most of the people who find work in Kenya do so in the “jua kali”, which is where a huge amount of trade takes place. “What needs to be done is to see how we can support this sector. How policies can be established to make it much easier for people to go from being micro-entrepreneurs to becoming medium-sized businesses,” Hersman says.

At Maker Faire Africa workshops are run alongside the event to teach inventors the basics of business and marketing. Media, businesses and investors who attend the event also offer  opportunities.

“Maker Faire Africa gets loads of media attention and was covered this year by the likes of Popular Mechanics, Fast Company and the BBC. What’s more important to us though is the local media and business attention it gets. This focuses on the people who are fabricating and making things locally and because of this coverage the makers find business partners, investors and sell more goods. This event is all about what these inventors get out of Maker Faire,” says Hersman.


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Media release

The Makers
Meet the makers of Maker Faire 2010

Maker Faire Africa is a celebration of African ingenuity, innovation and creation. Here you will find the Makers who showed their work at the 2010 event in Nairobi Kenya. Work ranges from time saving devices for agriculture to alternative energy sources from design with recycled objects to social media applications for mobile phones. Per maker you will find a short synopsis of their work, their contacts details plus a possibliity to collaborate with them. Match your skills with one of the Makers.


Robert is also the winner of the GE experience Award

MOBILE: +254 (0) 720 974 694
E-MAIL: gitahir@yahoo.com


An improvised security system that incoperates motion sensors, alarm, photo switch, digital display showing the number of intruders, 450 volts DC electric shock antiburglar system, and a gsm. It has an independent power back up. All home made gadgets from radio shacks and other materials.
Offering Experience in DIY circuitry electronics Robert is looking for support to make a better prototype of his invention and would like to have more training in electronics.

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