Remote Controlled Toy ATV

{ Posted on Jan 18 2011 by Bill Zimmerman }

Miniature versions of vehicles are as popular with kids in Cameroon as anywhere else. Adult craftsmen across the continent use materials such as wire, beads and recycled cans to create toy bicycles, trucks and airplanes—many of which transcend the level of children’s toys and are nothing short of art objects. Indeed, some of these creations are produced for corporate clients and international buyers.

No less ingenious and fascinating are toys created by and for kids themselves, usually from the simplest of materials and tools. This includes items like toy tractors (Kenya) and SUVs (Uganda) made from recycled plastic bottles.

Toy RC car made from recycled materials
School kids in Buea, CameroonAnother view of the car

In Cameroon, one such popular toy crafted by kids is a ‘remote controlled’ car or ATV. These are often built from discarded flip-flops (slippers), sardine tins, bamboo or raffia palm, electrical conduit (pipe), rubber and bits of string. Steve blogged a design in Bamenda that incorporates a split bamboo steering column and a full-sized wire steering wheel.

It’s not difficult to spot toy cars like this being piloted by kids in Cameroon—the trick is usually being able to catch up with them to photograph one :). A big advantage of this design is its ability to handle rough terrain when being driven at speed. The bamboo frame, chunky tires and rubber fasteners suck up bumps in the road like a 4WD Toyota. The proud builder of this R/C all-terrain vehicle paused long enough to demonstrate his creation for me.

I'm an engineer, ex-Microsoftie, founding board member of AfriLabs, co-founder of ActivSpaces in Cameroon and VC4Africa. Drawn to innovation, creativity & all things tech. More at splinter.me/billz

Comments

  1. Gabriel Scott Thomas says:

    I love this concept. It’s great that you’re reusing trash for enjoyment. Cleaning up and having fun.