Iddris Sandu: The 21-year-old Ghanaian Who Has Coded for Uber, Instagram

Iddris Sandu, photo:

January 9, 2019//-21-year-old Iddris Sandu has already achieved a lot in his years as a coder. He is currently working with top music artists, including Kanye West and Jade Smith to create augmented-reality (AR) experiences around music and politics for the tech festival ComplexCon next year in Chicago.

Iddris told CNN about his work with Jaden, saying “with Jaden, we are getting more young people to vote and creating experiences around that.”

Iddris Sandu was born in Ghana and then his family moved to the United States when he was 3. He learned to code at the age of 13, he learned during a work experience at Google about 8 months after the company moved into Frank Gehry’s “Binoculars Building” in Venice, California.

Within the first two years of the period he spent at Google, he created an app to help students find their classrooms easily.

He also received a Presidential Scholar Award from President Barack Obama, who was the sitting president then. The award earned him a trip to the White House.

“That was one of the most awesome moments of my life,” Sandu recalled. “I had an afro at that time, so I remember him saying, ‘I like your afro’, he said.

Sandu was not able to go to college, “I couldn’t afford it, being a minority,” he said. I didn’t want to “wait four years; I wanted to make an impact now.”

For Instagram, he soon wrote a program that would filter key sites or activities by a user’s location to identify possible interests. The design has since been overhauled, but it led Iddris Sandu to Uber, where he created a software called Autonomous Collision Detection Interface to help detect a driver’s hand motions and positions.

“We use a sensor to measure your spinal position in a car,” he explained. “And then we also use a device to measure your hand position, so we can tell where your hands were in a car.”

Iddris Sandu has eyes on Africa

In 2019, Iddris plans to host student workshops in some of the most populous cities in Africa starting with Lagos, Nigeria.

“Kids aren’t given the skills and the raw information to create on a high level,” he explained. In the future, Sandu wants to teach African kids to build platforms they also own, he said.

“What’s happening right now is we are all on Instagram, we are all on Facebook, Snapchat, all this tech giants, and we are letting them control the narrative of how our stories can be told,” Sandu said.

“If we want to really tell our stories the way they need to be told, we should focus on pushing forward platforms that we create so we can tell our best narratives,” he added.

By Bola Johnson

This article was originally published on


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