Cool South African inventions that owned 2018

18 December 2018 - 09:55 By Odwa Mjo
Dr Dyllon Randall (left) from UCT's department of civil engineering with his students, Vukheta Mukhari and Suzanne Lambert, showcasing the urine brick.
Dr Dyllon Randall (left) from UCT's department of civil engineering with his students, Vukheta Mukhari and Suzanne Lambert, showcasing the urine brick.
Image: UCT

South Africans have made headlines across the globe for their recent innovations. From bricks and fertiliser made of urine to Africa's first private satellite, here are four groundbreaking South African inventions that had the world in awe this year.

From Africa to space

A team of female high school students built and designed Africa's first private satellite, which is set to make its way to space. 

According to CNN, the Cape Town teens have designed and built payloads for a satellite that will orbit over the earth's poles and scan Africa's surface.

The creation is part of project by the Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO) and Morehead State University in the US to encourage more females to enter the 'STEM' fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

'Liquid gold' fertiliser

Civil engineering student Tinashe Chipako created a fertiliser urine project to combat the water crisis that faced the city of Cape Town earlier this year.

Chipako found that while UCT buys four tons of fertiliser a year, the university could make seven tons of fertiliser simply by using urine collected from toilets on campus.

His work won the 2018 SA Institute of Civil Engineering's National Investigative Project Showdown.

The fire-proof shack

A scholar from Port Elizabeth invented a fire-proof shack that would not catch fire if it were exposed to flames.

Gabriella Mogale entered her project into the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. It uses insulation that acts as a barrier between the fire and the corrugated iron used to build shacks in informal settlements. The insulation is made of recyclable material and the outside with a mixture of cement and other products.

She said the wildfires that ravished Knysna in 2017  prompted her to create a fire proof shack.

The urine brick

Civil engineering students from the University of Cape Town made global headlines for creating a brick made out of urine that would serve as an alternative to concrete and clay brick.

The brick is made from a natural process called microbial carbonate precipitation, mixing the urine, sand and bacteria to make the brick.

Each brick requires 30 litres of urine, which they sourced from the male students on campus.


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