HACKER 16: Uganda’s space rocket & robot with bombs, teargas to fight al-Shabaab

Horus Mwaka holding Hacker 16

HACKER 16, is the name of Rukungiri inventor Horus Mwaka’s new spy robot laden with bombs, teargas and a fire extinguisher.

Mwaka who now owns “Magic Hackers Uganda”, a company that supports local inventions, made his first robot and spy drone in his early years at Kyambogo University back in 2014/15.

“My robot is a security robot and I gave it a name HACKER 16,” Mwaka told edge.ug.

He added: “It is designed to fight insecurity like terrorism, theft and other crimes.”

The gadget

Hacker 16 has an arm with a hand for picking bombs or any other dangerous object.

Horus Mwaka with his robot that has bombs and teargas

It can switch off bombs without touching them and make them harmless. It has explosives and teargas for self-defence and fighting off criminals.

Hacker 16 also has fire extinguishers for firefighting and is designed to move both on the ground and fly in space.

“Everything on it is remote-controlled including fire extinguishers, explosives and teargas,” Mwaka told edge.ug.

Asked what inspired the youthful inventor to come up with such a technological device, Mwaka said he was inspired by the 2010 Kampala bombing.

He believes if his robot had been in operation, security would have easily sensed the presence of the bombs in Kampala and neutralised the threat, hence saving the many lives lost in the twin blasts.

“Hacker 16 has sensors for testing chemical composition of any substance. It has two spy cameras that can identify people’s faces by comparing with pictures in the national data of NIRA,” he explained.

In that case, Mwaka’s robot would have picked out the terrorists before they could even carry out their horrible act.

Making the robot

Mwaka used mostly plastic materials from scrap computer parts and old printers to make the robot.

The fire extinguishers are made from clay casing. Inside is a mixture of saw dust, sugar and sodium chlorate.

To make tear gas, he used a plastic bottle and inside it is a mixture of charcoal, hot pepper powder and potassium nitrate.

To create the explosives/bombs, Mwaka used plastic bottles and inside them, he put charcoal powder, sulphur and potassium nitrate.

The wheels of the robot were made from a toy car.

The remote-control system is a combination of circuit boards from toy cars.

The motors that move the robot’s parts were made from old photocopying machines.

Other inventions

Mwaka has an automatic security light switch, automatic security alarm, fireworks and a phone call operated power switching system.


Mwaka improved his earlier drone into a space rocket that uses charcoal as fuel.

—no recognition, no award–

Mwaka like all youthful Ugandan inventors has limited technological knowledge and resources to achieve his full potential.

He pursued an Ordinary Diploma in Mechanical and Production Engineering at Kyambogo University. He would need more exposure in that field.

“When I was at Bukedde [Vision group sister paper and TV] they [space rocket and robot] failed to be switched on by remote,” he told edge.ug.

Mwaka operating the space gadget with a remote

“I am now trying to fix that problem.”

Despite all his inventions and creative energy, Mwaka finds himself in a country that doesn’t appreciate its own for achieving what ordinary minds cannot even dream of.

“I don’t have a single award although I was nominated in the Intellectual Property Award on the World Intellectual Property Day under the category of Industry and Mechanics,” Mwaka lamented.

He said the ceremony was organised by Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

Mwaka explains how the gadget works at Bukedde offices

Then Uganda Communications Commission [UCC] organised its Annual Communication Information Awards (ACIA) but the discouraged Mwaka never participated.

“UCC only exhibited the picture of my robot to advertise its 2017 ACIA awards in newspapers like New Vision and Daily Monitor and on its own website.”

Mwaka only relies on local materials because they are cheap and easily accessible.

To move to an advanced stage, he will have to make another robot and another drone using accurately measured, strong and well balanced materials. Only if he had the funds to do so!

Mwaka’s story is not any different from that of Joseph Nkaheza, a Mbarara town based primary seven leaver who made Uganda’s first private helicopter and a motorbike.

Edge.ug serialised stories about Nkaheza and how his country has looked on as he struggles to take its space science to another unimaginable level.

ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze has since said all inventors would benefit from the “Innovation Fund” set aside by President Museveni to boost science and technology—but alas!