South African inventions

first_imgMediaClubSouthAfrica.com reporter The dolos, a South African invention in which interlocking blocks of concrete are used to protect seawalls and preserve beaches from erosion, at the Coega deep-water port.(Image copyright Coega)Where would you expect to find the inventor of the CAT scan, the makers of the “speed gun” used in cricket ovals the world over, or the world’s first oil-from-coal refinery?There’s a wide range of innovative and entrepreneurial activity in South Africa, backed up by a number of organisations that provide support for budding inventors and innovators.Q20CAT scanOil from coalHeart transplantSpeed gunKreepy KraulyAPS therapyPratley PuttyDolosseQ20, a multi-purpose lubricant The product was developed back in 1950 in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, by a Mr Robertson, who reportedly had come up with an effective water repellent that kept rust at bay, eased squeaky door hinges, and made it easy to release rusted or seized nuts and bolts.Apparently Robertson did not know what to call it but he told his neighbour that it certainly had 20 answers to 20 questions, and the name Q20 stuck.Today the product, and others in the range, is used widely in South African offices, workshops and homes, and has set the standard for all subsequent similar products from around the world. It is also sold in the US and UK/Europe.According to Q20 manufacturing company Triton-Leo, the secret to the wonder substance’s efficiency is that unlike oil, it is heavier than water. Once Q20 is sprayed on water, it sinks to the bottom, where it acts as a water displacer and lubricant on the problem area.Triton-LeoCAT scanThe computed axial tomography scan, or CAT scan, was developed at Tufts University in the UK by South African physicist Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield of EMI Laboratories. Their achievement secured them the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.Cormack’s interest in the problem of X-ray imaging of soft tissues or layers of tissue of differing densities was first aroused when he took up the part-time position of physicist for a hospital radiology department.The two-dimensional representations of conventional X-ray plates were often unable to distinguish between such tissues. More information could be gained if X-rays of the body were taken from several different directions, but conventional X-ray techniques made this procedure problematic.In the early 1960s Cormack showed how details of a flat section of soft tissues could be calculated from measurements of the attenuation of X-rays passing through it from many different angles.He thus provided the mathematical technique for the CAT scan, in which an X-ray source and electronic detectors are rotated about the body and the resulting data is analysed by a computer to produce a sharp map of the tissues within a cross-section of the body.Nobel e-Museum: Allan CormackOil from coalSasol is the world’s first – and largest – oil-from-coal refinery. It is situated in Sasolburg in South Africa and provides 40% of the country’s fuel.The history of Sasol began in 1927 when a White Paper was tabled in Parliament to investigate the establishment of a South African oil-from-coal industry.It was realised then that, because South Africa did not have crude oil reserves, the country’s balance of payments had to be protected against increasing crude oil imports. After many years of research and international negotiations, the South African Coal Oil and Gas Corporation was formed in 1950.Major milestones include the first automotive fuel (1955), the construction of the National Petroleum Refiners of South Africa (1967), the establishment in 1990 of its first international marketing company, Sasol Chemicals Europe, and a joint venture agreement signed with Uzbekneftegaz in 2009 to establish a gas-to-liquids venture in Uzbekistan.Sasol has developed world-leading technology for the conversion of low-grade coal into value-added synfuels and chemicals.SasolHeart transplantThe world’s first heart transplant was performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town on 3 December 1967.Barnard was born in the town of Beaufort West in 1922. The seeds of his future career were sown when one of his patients delivered a baby boy with a heart defect which could not be remedied. The baby died, causing him to think deeply about the need for remedial surgery and the replacement of heart valves.A turning point came when Barnard was offered a chance to work in Minneapolis in the US under Professor Wagensteen, a great teacher of experimental surgery. The heart-lung machine was perfected, and this turned out to be the gateway to cardiac surgery.The idea of transplanting occurred to Barnard. If it was possible with kidneys, why not the heart? After more years of study in the US, he returned to South Africa with a parting gift from Prof Wagensteen – a heart-lung machine.Groote Schuur hospital was waiting his return in 1958 to start the first heart unit to perform a cardiac bypass operation.After performing the first successful kidney transplant on Edith Black, in October 1967 Barnard informed Professor Val Schrire, who had built up the cardiac clinic: “Everything is ready for a heart transplant. We have the team and we know how to do it.”In November 1967, Schrire called Barnard and told him that there was a suitable patient for a heart transplant. Louis Washkansky was suffering from heart failure and was prepared to take the chance. The rest is history.Barnard passed away in Cyprus, Greece on 2 September 2001 from an acute asthma attack.Speed gunThe South African-made speed gun, developed by Somerset West inventor Henri Johnson, was formally launched at The Oval in England during the 1999 Cricket World Cup.In 1992 Johnson, an engineer witha background in sonar and radar, invented the Speedball which was manufactured by South African firm Electronic Development House. The device accurately measures the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls.Generally referred to as a “speed gun”, Johnson’s gizmo is sold in cricketing countries and in the US and Europe. It has also been adapted for other ball sports such as tennis and golf. Johnson has since moved his company to Orlando, Florida, to better keep up with world trends.Kreepy KraulyThe swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier, a hydraulics engineer who came to South Africa from the Belgian Congo in 1951.Chauvier quickly realised that there was a huge market for taking the hassle out of cleaning swimming pools, and went about inventing a machine that would do the job automatically, efficiently powered by the ordinary operation of the pool’s filter.But it wasn’t until 1974 that the first Kreepy Krauly was born in Chauvier’s Springs home.He died in 1985, but Kreepy Kraulys continue to keep thousands of pools clean in South Africa and the world over.APS therapyGervan Lubbe was flicking through an American medical journal one day when he stumbled across an article about pain relief. After reading all he could on the topic, he wondered whether it would be possible to electronically stimulate the body’s natural nerve impulses to relieve pain.Lubbe, had always had a keen interest in medicine, but never thought he was clever enough to be a doctor. So in his spare time he studied human anatomy and physiology until he thought he knew enough about the causes of arthritic pain. Then he set out inventing a device that would alleviate the problem.After building the first prototypes and obtaining approval from the health department and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, Lubbe formed the company Tech Pulse in 1993 to produce, market and distribute the Action Potential Stimulation device.Today, Lubbe’s devices are sold in 41 countries, including the US, Europe and the Middle East. In South Africa alone, over 40 000 people use the little machines to relieve pain.APS TherapyPratley PuttyPratley’s famous glue is the only South African invention that has been to the moon. In 1969 the putty was used to hold bits of the Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft together.Krugersdorp engineer George Montague Pratley invented his famous sticky stuff in the 1960s while looking for a glue that would hold components in an electrical box.Pratley died in 1983 and today the company is run by his son, Kim. Hundreds of tons of Pratley putty have been exported all over the world, and the company has diversified into other products.PratleyDolosseDolosse are large, unusually shaped concrete blocks weighing up to 20 tons. The structures are designed to break up wave action and protect harbour walls and coastal installations.Designed by Eric Merrifield and first installed in East London harbour, they are now used all over the world.The Coega Project, comprising an industrial development complex and deepwater port 20 kilometres east of the city of Port Elizabeth, recently made history with the casting of the biggest dolosse on the African continent.A layer of 25 000 30-ton dolosse has been laid on the two breakwaters for the deep-water harbour of Ngqura.According to Deon Retief, the partner responsible for the Nqura breakwater design at Prestedge Retief Dresner Wijnberg, the dolosse comprise the top layer of the main breakwater which, at 2.5 kilometres long, is the “largest by far” in Africa.Q20 extract by Emily van Rijswijck. Other information taken from Great South African Inventions by Mike Bruton, published by Cambridge University Press in their Indigenous Knowledge Library series. ISBN 978 0 521 74663 2.Useful linksAcademy of Science of South AfricaCouncil for GeoscienceCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchDepartment of Science and TechnologyInnovation FundInnovation HubNational Advisory Council on InnovationNational Research FoundationNational Science and Technology Forum AwardsNational Science and Technology ForumPublic Understanding of BiotechnologySABS Designs InstituteSouth African Aids Vaccine InitiativeSouth African Biodiversity Information FacilitySouth African Bureau of StandardsSouthern African Large TelescopeSquare Kilometre Array South AfricaTechnology Top 100last_img read more

Apple Patents Destroy The Starship Enterprise [Video]

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Jawan killed as Maoists blast vehicle in Gadchiroli

first_imgOne commando was killed and 18 others were injured when an IED exploded in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on Wednesday night. The commandos were part of Maharashtra’s elite anti-Naxal Unit C-60. Maoists blew up the commandos’ anti-land mine vehicle with the IED, Inspector-General Shivaji Bodkhe of Maharashtra confirmed.Five of the injured have been airlifted to Nagpur and seven more are on their way. One jawan is said to be in critical condition.last_img

Fadnavis, Chandrakant Patil on BJP’s first list of candidates

first_imgThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday announced its first list of 125 candidates for the Maharashtra Assembly elections. The party declared tickets for 90 sitting legislators, while dropping 12 others in seats which are believed to free them up for deliberations with ally Shiv Sena. The two partners have confirmed they will fight the elections together. The expected names that feature on the list include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South West and State party president Chandrakant Patil from Kothrud in Pune. The BJP’s Central Election Committee had last week met under the leadership of party president Amit Shah to finalise the first list. The party also made space for several turncoats who left the Opposition ranks to join the saffron alliance ahead of polls. The prominent names from the Opposition ranks to be given a ticket include Kalidas Kolambkar from Wadala, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil from Shirdi and Harshvardhan Patil from Indapur. High profile names missing from the list were of controversial BJP leaders Eknath Khadse and Prakash Mehta. Both former ministers had faced charges of corruption during the party’s first term.Unrest in party ranksThere were murmurs of rebellion within the party ranks with the announcement of the list. Mr. Khadse held an emergency meeting with his supporters, while south Mumbai legislator Raj Purhoit landed at the Chief Minster’s residence.Mr. Khadse said, “I have filed my nomination today. My name is not in the list issued by the party, but the possibility of me getting a ticket cannot be ruled out. I do not know if this seat is going to be with the Shiv Sena or with BJP. What I know is that I have been loyal to the BJP for the past 42 years.” The list also featured the BJP’s candidate for the Satara Lok Sabha by-election, erstwhile NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale, who filed his nomination papers on Tuesday.Other opposition leaders accommodated on the list are Vaibhav Pichad from Akole, Jaykumar Gore from Man, Madan Bhosale from Wai, Ranajagjitsinha Patil from Tuljapur, Shivendraraje Bhosale from Satara and Sandeep Naik from Airoli. Notable names missing include Education Minister Vinod Tawde, Kalyan MLA Narendra Pawar, Kothrud MLA Medha Kulkarni and Mumbai MLA Sardar Tara Singh.last_img read more

In Other News Florence Left 55M in Damage at Ft Bragg Florida

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Fort Bragg suffered about $55 million in damage from Hurricane Florence, which dumped several feet of rain over parts of eastern North Carolina last month, the post’s garrison commander said Wednesday during the annual Greater Fayetteville Chamber State of the Community. About 600 buildings were damaged, Col. Kyle Reed said. As of Sept. 30, the post had received about $6 mission in assistance, leaving a $48 million hole. “I’m working on that,” he told the audience, reported the Fayetteville Observer. … Enterprise Florida is looking for a firm to advocate for the state’s defense installation and missions before DOD and Congress. The contractor, which will work under the direction of the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF), will need to implement initiatives designed to enhance and secure the long-term viability, retention and growth of Florida’s defense assets. Responses to the RFP are due Nov. 9. For more information, contact Terry McCaffrey, FDSTF executive director, at tmccaffrey@eflorida.com.Army photo by Jason Whittakerlast_img read more

Bank of Baroda shares plummet 10 on BSE Sensex rebounds to gain

first_imgShares of state-run Bank of Baroda fell more than 10 percent on the BSE on Monday in response to the second-largest Indian lender announcing disappointing quarterly results on Friday after market hours. Stocks of many other PSU banks, such as State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Dena Bank and Syndicate Bank, also ended the day with losses.The Bank of Baroda stock opened at Rs. 150, marginally lower from its Friday close, and embarked on a downhill path to hit an intra-day low of Rs. 139.80, but later trimmed losses to close at Rs. 142.20, down 8.23 percent from its previous close.  The bank’s standalone net loss was Rs. 3,230 crore for the March 2016 quarter as against a net profit of Rs. 598 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. A 227 percent rise in provisioning for bad loans resulted in the bank’s profit taking a hit.On the NSE, the Nifty PSU Bank was the only sectoral index to end with losses.The S&P BSE Sensex opened from its Friday close but rebounded later to close with a gain of 164 points at 25,653. The NSE Nifty gained 46 points to close at 7,860.”A recovery in oil and commodities sparked a late rally in metal makers, private banks and automobile stocks,” AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital Capital Market Services Ltd, told the Mint. Both foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net sellers of equities worth Rs. 79.84 crore and Rs. 127.91 crore, respectively, according to provisional data released by the NSE. Markets ignored The Indian rupee closed at 66.81 to the US dollar, recovering from the opening low of 66.91 to the greenback. “Following weak global cues the rupee opened on a weaker note but rose in the intra-day session after rebound in domestic equities,” IFA Global said in a note. Gold gained Rs. 25 to close at Rs. 30,050 per 10 gm while silver edged higher by Rs. 335 to end at Rs. 41,260 per kg in the Delhi bullion market on Monday.last_img read more

ACC seeks harsher punishment for Khaleda

first_imgBNP chairperson Khaleda ZiaAnti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Sunday filed an appeal seeking tougher punishment for BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in which she was earlier sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. ACC lawyers submitted the appeal to the office concerned of the High Court in the morning. reports UNB.“We have completed the affidavit of the appeal seeking harsher punishment for Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust Graft case,” said Khurshid Alam Khan, one of lawyers for the ACC.On 19 March, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court stayed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s bail till 8 May in the graft case.The SC also allowed the state and the ACC to file petitions against HC order that granted bail to Khaleda fixing 8 May for next hearing.It also ordered the ACC and state to submit the concise statement of appeals within two weeks and BNP within four weeks.On 12 March, the High Court granted a four-month interim bail to Khaleda Zia.On 8 February last, the Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the BNP chief and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the case.Khaleda was then sent to old central jail at Nazimuddin Road in the city.The court read out a 632-page summarised version of the verdict on that day and it released the full 1174-page copy of the verdict on 19 February.last_img read more

Oikya Front gets nod for Chattogram rally

first_imgJatiya Oikya Front rally in Sylhet. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe Jatiya Oikya Front, a newly formed political alliance, has obtained permission to hold its rally in Chattogram.The Front held its first rally in Sylhet on 24 October to mobilise public support in favour of the alliance’s seven-point demand, including holding the 11th parliamentary elections under a non-party administration.Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) gave the permission asking them to restrict their rally on a part of a road along the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) office in the city.CMP commissioner Md Mahabubur Rahman told Prothom Alo that the permission was given on conditions.The Front leaders were asked to finish the rally within 5:00pm.On 13 October, the BNP together with Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, JSD and Nagorik Oikya launched the Jatiya Oikya Front to press for their seven-point demand, including holding the next polls under a non-party administration.last_img read more

IKEAs New MicroLiving Collection Inspired by Mars Mission

first_imgStay on target Sure, it would be great to forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and move to Mars.But for those folks who can’t telecommute, IKEA is researching the next best thing.The Swedish retailer joined NASA and students from Lund University School of Industrial Design to “use space knowledge for a better everyday life on Earth.”For nearly two decades, Master’s students have traveled to Houston, Texas, to study at the Johnson Space Center, where they design intergalactic products for astronauts on a three-year mission to Mars.Now, IKEA hopes to gain some inspiration for a “new curious collection on space.”“We love doing the impossible, and what is more challenging than exploring space?” Marcus Engman, design manager at IKEA Range and Supply, said in a statement. “Small-space living is a fact in space, and we want to learn from that as this is a reality to more and more people.”Anyone residing in a crowded city understands: Micro living is here to stay. According to the United Nations, as reported by IKEA, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas by 2050. Which means more people vying for less room.IKEA to learn from space journey to Mars (via IKEA)Space flight, meanwhile, has always been cramped. So IKEA hopes to learn from future missions to Mars and apply those discoveries to products and methods for everyday life on Earth.“We are curious to see what makes a space travel homey, what boundaries and restraints you need to work with and bring that knowledge into our product development,” Engman said.Men and women in blue-and-yellow striped shirts, however, will not be on board the first rockets to the Red Planet.“This collaboration is not about IKEA going to Mars, but we are curious about life in space, the challenges and needs, and what we can make out of that experience for the many people,” Michael Nikolic, creative leader at IKEA Range and Supply, said.“When you design for life in a spacecraft or planetary surface habitat on Mars, you need to be creative yet precise, find ways to repurpose things and think carefully about sustainability aspects,” he continued. “With urbanization and environmental challenges on Earth, we need to do the same.”As part of this joint project, IKEA will examine NASA’s planned Mars habitat and determine how the furniture maker can contribute its “experience and knowledge about what makes a home feel like home to people, even if it is on Mars.” Elon Musk’s Cheeky ‘Nuke Mars!’ Post Is Taking Over TwitterNASA Tests Mars 2020 Rover Prototype at Icelandic Lava Field last_img read more