While some youths are busy waiting for handouts, others are busy solving problems. This article is about some final year Mechanical Engineering students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) whose research has brought about remarkable solutions to problems militating against their society.
These students unveiled their engineering projects at the annual Mechanical Engineering Open Day at the Howard Campus.
The revealed projects comprised of an electric transporter powered by solar energy, an archery device for quadriplegic athletes, a device that includes the illusion of fruit growing on trees and a bunch of others.
The Dean of their Faculty, Professor Glen Bright, revealed that these projects took 10 months, where groups worked together to research, innovate and design and produce a product.
He added that all these projects have specific purposes and are intended to be monetized. He revealed that about 20 percent of these products have hit the market over the years.
In an interview with independent online, Professor Bright eloquently revealed that, “We want to run something that has value and it must be functional,” He added that -“What is unique is that we are the only university that does projects like this in groups. Having a group gives you a better product, it gives you a product that’s functional.”
“We are also aware that some of our projects must help and impact the community. So we are critically aware that we want to assist the community where we can. So we balance our projects with community awareness projects, we balance them with research, design, innovation projects and we also balance them with pure mechanical, which are the vehicle mechanics,” he said.
The good thing about their project is the vision of monetizing them. The professor stirred up the entrepreneurial spirit in these students and made them see a commercial future of their inventions.
One other good thing about this university is that the inculcate the culture of continuity. That i, they keep developing researches unlike some who don’t revisit researches.
A team working on the SERAFF Solar Furnace Capability Enhancements inherited the project from past years.
Based on reports from Independent online, Payal Dhunlal, a group leader for the project, said their project is one of those projects that are ongoing and can be developed further and it is very impactful in society.
Quoting her, she further explained that “This project is situated on the Cato Manor reservoir which is an eThekwini Municipality site, so there are regulations which did make it a bit difficult but we did manage to overcome them and also the scale of the project, it required a lot of manpower and because we are breaking new ground and it’s research and it’s something new, it hasn’t been done before, this is the first dedicated solar furnace in South Africa, we always learning and we don’t have much to build upon.”.
We believe African colleges and Universities can learn one or two from UKZN research strategy for the sake of the continent’s economy.
Watch s they unveil their amazing inventions