Richard Turere, a 13 year-old from Kenya, has been making waves at the TED conference with his innovative invention — a LED system that prevents lions from killing livestock (and also humans). Richard, whose family lives within the Nairobi National Park boundaries and raises livestock, had always seen lions as a threat to their livelihood. As such, Richard said he always “grew up hating lions”. However after taking part in a global talent search last year, Turere came up with an ingenious solution.

At first Richard used lion’s natural adversary-fire, however that backfired when he noticed “it was helping the lions see through the cowshed.” Next Richard tried a scarecrow, but that had a limited effect.

“I was trying to trick the lions. But lions are clever,” Richard said. “On the first day, the lions came, saw the scarecrow and left. The second day, they came and realized it wasn’t moving, and killed the cows.”

Richard then discovered that lions were afraid of moving lights, so he hooked up a bunch of lights to an old car battery and connected it to an indicating system. It worked

“The lights flash and trick the lions that I’m walking around the cowshed when I’m sleeping in my bed.”

Richard’s invention was so successful that other farmers asked him to install similar systems for them. Now, it has been put into use all over Kenya to scare animals that might harm the livestock. Richard has also been rewarded for his efforts and has received a scholarship to the best college in Kenya.

“A year ago,” said Richard, “I was a boy in a savannah grassland. I saw planes fly over and I said I’d be inside one day. I had a chance to come by plane for the first time for TED. I got to come by plane to come to TED. My dream is to become an aircraft engineer and pilot when I grow up.”

Unsurprisingly the 13 year old genius received a standing ovation after talking at TED! Deservedly so.



Images © TED and blieusong