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HomeGrown innovations

Technology and innovation is more often than not synonymous with the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. With companies such as Tesla, Hanson Robotics and Amazon continuously pushing the boundaries in disruptive technologies, it would be fair to make these sort of conclusions.The “Coca cola culture” which is essentially the mass globalisation and integration of all things American and European in other cultures has shifted the mindsets of people to believe that any product whether novel or not coming out of those regions is far more superior than those coming out in other regions.But the continent of Africa is known for more than just its hospitality, heartwarming cuisine and breathtaking geography as over the years, people have shown that ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurship are vigorously bubbling within our communities.In this blog, we take a look at some African made inventions that just might leave you amazed.



1.First heart transplant


Not so much an invention as it was a procedure but nonetheless, the third of December 1967 marked to be an important day for the medical industry when Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first human heart transplant.Considered a Frankenstein fantasy once upon a time,Dr. Chris Barnard performed the successful transplant on one recipient, Louis Washkansky, a patient suffering from heart failure who received the heart of Denise Darvall who died from a head injury. Though the operation proved to be a monumental success, Washkansky would pass away 18 days later from pneumonia complications


Origin:South Africa



2.SavvyLoo


In 2015, an estimated 2.3 billion people still had no access to basic sanitation services and among them, approximately 892 million people still openly defecate. Moreover, according to StatsSa, 270000 households still used buckets as a sanitary method. John Caulton Jackson seeks to remedy this with the SavvyLoo. SavvyLoo is waterless toilet for rural areas and temporary settlements in Africa. It is designed to separate liquids from solids and dry solids using solar heat and dehydration thus eliminating harmful pathogens. The dry bio-waste is then used to generate energy.This extremely useful innovation has already been rolled out and helped communities in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.


Origin:South Africa



3.Hippo water roller


If you've ever taken the time to go to a rural area within any African country and wondered why women and children travel long distances with spine compressing buckets to reach water sources it’s because within Africa, two out of 5 people have no nearby water facilities. These long journeys to water source not only have adverse effects on people's health but their education as children can not go to school and general safety as many women have reported being raped. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker invented the Hippo water roller for the purpose of hauling large volumes of water (90 litres) in an easier and faster fashion. This innovation is made to reduce physical stress as it has a steel handle that can pull the drum in any terrain all while increasing the amount of portable water from one person.


Origin:South Africa



4.Drybath
Breaking News! Ludwick Marishane has invented a method for 2.3 billion people without access to clean water to wash without water.That's right, wash without water!Now you can already imagine the benefits that this little product would not only have for Africa but for the world as water sources are rapidly depleting and being contaminated. Drybath is an innovative gel that cleans your body and removes odours without damaging your skin's natural protective barrier with germicides. Due to its time and water saving benefits, Drybath has managed to save approximately 8000000 litres of water and replace 100000 showers since its in inception.

Origin:South Africa



5.Mellowcabs


Just its name alone is enough to make you feel like you're about to venture off into the whimsical world of a musical. Neil du Preez has developed high-tech electric pedicabs made from recycled materials.These cabs are primarily designed to offer the public affordable and flexible transport in high density areas within an urban radius of 3-4 km.Unlike other sources of public transport such as trains and buses, Mellowcabs feature regenerative brakes, hydrogen fuel cells and illuminated body panels with on-board tablet computers. Eco-friendly and trendy, these cabs are sure to offer a whole new experience to public transport.


Origin:South Africa



6.Cardio pad


Heart disease affects 1 in every 4 men within their lifetime and it’s estimated that a total of 17.7 million people die from cardiovascular diseases each year, the equivalent of every citizen in Delhi,India or Lagos,Nigeria dying.Interesting fact:these two cities are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in the list of the world's most populated cities. With poor healthcare facilities and a general lack of access to basic health care, countless people in rural areas around the world need to travel hundreds of miles to receive check ups and consultations in urban areas. Arthur Zang, a Cameroonian engineer has modelled a programme that operates via tablet to bring medical care to rural areas by collecting signals generated by the rhythmic contractions and expansions of the heart.The results from the test can then be transmitted to cardiologists for analysis resulting in decreased expenses and travel time of patients.


Origin:Cameroon



7.Speed gun

Howzat!? As South Africans, we inherently love leisure and the only thing more enjoyable than our love for braai’s and lagers is our love for sports.I mean what's better than a sweetly stroked 6, finely placed soccer goal and a determined rugby try right? So it would only make sense that a sports crazy nation such as ours would birth the speed gun. Henri Johnson invented the Speed gun that is currently used to measure the speed and angle of fast-flying balls more specifically those thrown from the bowlers hand in cricket or ball served in tennis matches.


Origin:South Africa



8.Smart Lock safety syringe


Doctors and health care professionals constantly face occupational hazards of cross contamination and infection in the workplace.With today's precautionary measures, infection via needle stick is highly improbable but a likely occurrence. Being pricked by a needle is extremely dangerous and can lead to the transmission of various diseases between people who are infected and people who aren't. Conceptualized by a team of researchers and designers at the Vaal University of Technology, this live saving smart lock needle is a three piece single use syringe that provides protection against needle-stick infection and contamination.The smart lock syringe makes it nearly impossible to be pricked by a needle as the needle retracts into the barrel following injection.This needle greatly reduces the chances of exposure to HIV, Ebola, Hepatitis and other viruses.


Origin:South Africa



9.CAT scan


I don't know about you, but when I was a child going in for a CAT scan,I remember the technician telling me not to be afraid because this machine was just like a ride in Goldreef City.

Maybe not the initial idea Allan Mcleod Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield had for the machine. The computed axial tomography scan uses computer-processed combinations of X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional images of specific areas of a scanned object. So in simpler terms, the CAT scan takes pictures of your body’s insides without cutting you open. This invention has proved to advance science and medicine to the point that the two won Nobel Prizes in physiology and medicine.


Origin: South Africa



10.Retinal cryoprobe


If your invention has been used in successful operations on Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher, then you've probably invented something that works pretty well I’d say. Percy Amoli invented the retinal cryoprobe which is used cryosurgery. Cryosurgery is the controlled removal of unwanted tissue by the precise application of extreme cold and using the cryoprobe, doctors are able to use this instrument to deliver with pinpoint accuracy, a dose of nitrous oxide at face freezing temperatures of -80 degrees Celsius under 725 psi without destroying the healthy tissue.


Origin: South Africa



11.Mubser


In Ancient Egypt, blistering heat mixed with sandstorms only meant that a person's eyesight was continually impaired. With no Raybans or proper medical care, people(peasants) would unfortunately succumb to blindness. Most people back in those days would have loved Khaled Abo Shady, the creator of Mubser. Mubser is a wearable device that assists visually impaired people by identifying obstacles and naming common objects as they come into the path of the user.Can you imagine, here's this normal everyday pyramid worker hauling a 2.5 tonne block who happens to be blind and his Mubser says “ WARNING:YOU'RE ABOUT TO HIT A PYRAMID AKHENATEN.” Okay, so the device doesn't work quite like that. A set of sensors activate the vibration motors on the belt which alert the users to be aware by capturing infrared depth through a Kinect camera system that recognizes oncoming objects and transcribes them into shape.


Origin:Egypt



12.M-Pepea

If you've ever been in a situation where your car broke down in the middle of nowhere with no cash or airtime on your phone then David Munga was the man you were looking for. David Munga,creator or M-pepea, provides a service that enables mobile phone users to have access to  ‘emergency credit’ in the event you don't have access to credit cards or bank loans. Its system distributes these small micro loans based on a registered customers employee salary and imburses according to this figure. Applied in Kenya predominantly, loans of the system range from 58 to 350 USD. David Munga and his team have stated that M-Pepea is not meant to provide a substitute to traditional micro-lending but to lend a hand to people who are in need of emergency funds to fulfill immediate objectives.


Origin:Kenya






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