South African Inventions
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Innovative Inventions

CybertrackerThe 'Cybertracker' is a hand-held computer that provides a high-technology method of tracking animals in the field. Louis Liebenberg and Lindsay Stevenson invented the unit, connected to a satellite navigational system, in 1996. The graphic interface makes it possible for illiterate people to enter very detailed information, which helps scientists carry out their reasearch. Action Potential Stimulation (APS) deviceGervan Lubbe invented the Action Potential Stimulation (APS) device that electronically stimulates the body's natural nerve impulses to relieve pain. After building the first prototypes and obtaining approval from the health department and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, Lubbe's devices are today sold in 41 countries, including the US, Europe and the Middle East. In South Africa alone, over 40 000 people use these little machines to relieve pain.
DolosThe 'Dolos' is a unusually shaped concrete block weighing up to 20 tons and used to protect harbour walls from the force of the sea. Dolosse (pl) work by dissipating, rather than blocking, the energy of waves. It was designed by Eric Merrifield and first installed in East London harbour. Currently they are used all over the world. Pratley Putty'Pratley Putty' was invented by George Pratley from Krugersdorp, Gauteng in 1948 while trying to develop a glue to hold components in an electrical box. This sticky substance accompanied Neil Armstrong on the first moon landing in 1969 and kept parts of the Eagle landing ship together.
automatic microwave popcorn vending machinePeter Ramsay and Mark Beagle from KwaZulu-Natal developed the world's first automatic microwave popcorn vending machine. It dispenses a fresh hot-popped 100g pack of microwave popcorn at the push of a button. The Pop King stores 200, 100g packs of popcorn in four magazines, thus allowing four different flavours to be dispensed. The hygienic packs are sealed with popcorn oil and flavouring. On selection the pack is pushed into the uniquely-designed microwave and dispensed after 90 seconds. Hippo Water RollerThe 'Hippo Water Roller' is a classic example of design with SA conditions in mind. The roller is intended for use by communities without access to tap water. It enables people to pull a 90-litre drum of water (instead of carrying it by hand) with a minimum of effort.
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 invented the Speedball that accurately measures the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls. TellurometerBefore 1955, land surveying depended on time-consuming and complicated manual methods of distance measurement. Trevor Wadley revolutionised the world of map-making with his Tellurometer which could measure distances of up to 50km with an accuracy of millimetres. It was developed from radar techniques developed during World War II.
Kreepy KraulyThe 'Kreepy Krauly', the world's first automatic pool cleaning unit, was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs, Gauteng in 1974. CAT ScannerThe CAT Scanner was invented by Allan Macleod Cormack, from Cape Town, for which he won a Nobel Physics Prize in 1979.
 
wind-up radioThe 'Freeplay' wind-up radio was designed by Syzygy, a Cape Town company. Power for the radio is generated by a winding handle. The institute says the radio is not only useful in SA, but also in the entire southern African region, where access to electricity and the high cost of battery power are major stumbling blocks to radio access. plastic mini-oven Ken Hall has been given an accolade by Time magazine for his plastic mini-oven which he invented to reduce the risk of fires in squatter camps. He said he designed his oven, called the 'Cobb', after realising how people and children in squatter camps were burned because of exploding paraffin stoves. The "oven" uses six charcoal brickets which provide heat for more than two hours.



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