There is growing interest in the development of electronic designs and applications in Ghana and other parts of West African.
The country’s first Cadence Micro-electronics laboratory in Ghana by Texas Instruments Incorporation of the United States of America provides a further boost.This has led to successful design and fabrication of the first analogue integrated circuits in sub-Saharan Africa.
However, the pace of research in the area of Circuits and Systems (CAS) in Ghana has been slow.
Dean of the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering in KNUST, Prof Kwame Osei Boateng, says Ghana is poised to leverage studies into CAS which is in its nascent stage.
“For the engineer, it is about the design; when it comes to the fabrication, it is about the physicist, but the problem is that it goes with a capital-intensive outlay to have a fabrication established. So before you can go to the extent of doing it yourself, you must first build a market, have a community of designers who are actively working with great volumes so then it becomes economically sensible for anyone even the government or even a private entity to think of establishing a fabrication unit here,“ he said.
Prof. Osei Boateng was speaking at the 1st African Workshop on Emerging Trends in Circuits and System held in Kumasi. The event was held on November 13 and 14.
“We are at a stage where we are rather whipping up enthusiasm in the design so that as more and more people go into designs as we position ourselves so that we can even have some of the things outsourced. A time will come when it will become economically viable to actually have it established here,” he adds.
Perception and Analytics Laboratory Manager at Texas Instruments in the United States, Dr. Darnell Moore, said the growth of USA and China economies has been driven by research into Circuits and Systems.
“Those economies have been driven by by-products of these kinds of systems. It is essential for countries like Ghana to expand its economy so that it can participate in the new digital economy”.
He observes that the amount that has gone into traditional areas like agriculture has been largely influenced by circuits and systems.
“We are looking at the development of devices that can help farmers increase their productivity so that they can use resources like water much more effectively, and harvest energy like solar, wind etc”.
Dr. Moore urges Ghana government to take advantage of available technologies to improve the national economy.
“All of these are tied into circuits and systems, it is very important for Ghana to take advantage of these kinds of technologies and evolution”.
The next step, according to the scientists, is to educate local people about those opportunities so that the next generation systems will be designed here.
“It will be necessary because those in China, America or Europe may not know how to develop the Right capabilities for this market and environment. So we have to identify people here to know how to build these systems for Ghana.”
The workshop provided opportunities for engineering students of KNUST and Ashesi University to keep with the times in CAS on current applications in Africa.
It also created a platform for engagement and network with leading researchers into CAS from USA and European.
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