BIUST Savant: Mr. Lucky Mohutsiwa nominated for a two weeks DARA training in Ghana

Mr.Lucky Mohutsiwa

Mr.Lucky Mohutsiwa is currently pursuing his Masters in Engineering in Mechatronics, Industrial Instrumentation under the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Energy Engineering, in BIUST. Mr. Mohutsiwa’s main research interest is affective computing, specifically using EEG brain signals to actuate different mechatronic devices and systems like UAVs. He also highlights that his recent research contribution entailed the use of EEG signals of brain activity to correctly discriminate different human emotions elicited by specific stimuli. Apart from my masters work, I am part of the BIUST-BDF drones project team working as a Mechatronics Engineer for the project”,he explained.

The enthusiastic scholar explains that his thirst to know more about science and engineering lead him to join STEM and the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) training program.These are initiatives tailored to equip young Africans with quality knowledge and skills of acquiring, processing and interpreting radio telescopic signals. He further highlights that it is within these initiatives that his skills and passion was noticed.

The beholden engineer stated that this nomination comes with the main goal is to build telescopes located in selected countries in Africa.They will be then connected together to form a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) network as part of the bigger project of square kilometer array (SKA). "Since Botswana is one of those selected countries (AVN member), I will be able to use my knowledge and skills attained from DARA training to contribute to the project of setting up the telescope which will be connected to other telescopes erected in other member countries, forming a long baseline”,said Mr.Mohutsiwa.

He further delineated that this two weeks training in Ghana compliments the DARA basic training sequence which is divided into four units; in which each unit is held at a different AVN member country with the selected students from those countries forming a cohort. For UNIT1 which was held in Namibia, the goal was to equip the student with basic knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics. UNIT 4 was held in Botswana and it was aimed at teaching students state-of-the-art softwares that are used in receiving, processing and interpreting radio telescopic data. Due to Covid-19 situations, UNIT 2 and UNIT 3 had to be merged into 1, which we are now attending in Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory (GRAO) in Accra, Ghana for two weeks.

According to Mr. Mohutsiwa the aim of this unit is to equip the student with hands-on skills on how to operate a radio telescope  and Different critical parts of the telescope  studied. We learn each stage that the radio signal follows as it hits the telescope to when it is interpreted or identified. “In summary we get to interact and learn the hardware and the software parts of the radio telescope”,he concludes.