Thursday, September 27, 2007

Great South African inventions

Being a South African living in South Africa, it is very easy to become bogged down by the negative - crime, inflation, crime, our neighbour across the border, did I mention crime?

Sometimes I find it helps to focus on the good that has come out of this country - I came across a list of South African inventions the other day and thought it was quite interesting. This is just an abbreviated list of some of the amazing inventions to have come out of South Africa – for a more comprehensive list, have a look at this website

Heart transplant - The first heart transplant was performed in South Africa, by Dr Chris Barnard on 3 December 1967.

Pratley Putty - A South African engineer, George Pratley, invented Pratley Putty in the 1960s. Pratley Putty is the only S.A invention to go to the moon, this happened in 1969 when the putty was used on the Apollo XI mission' s Eagle landing Craft

The CAT scan – The computed axial tomography scan, or CAT scan , which uses x-rays, radiation detectors and computers to produce images of planes through the body, 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

Kreepy Krauly - The swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier, a hydraulics engineer who came to South Africa from the Belgian Congo in 1951.

Wind-up appliances - Freeplay wind-up radios, torches and cell phone chargers

APS Therapy - The Action Potential Stimulation Device (APSD) was invented by Gervan Lubbe and is used for pain relief

Colindictor - the first device to record a telephone message

Fire – (quite a biggie this!) the first use of fire was recorded at Swartkrans cave some 1.5 million years ago. (and what would Survivor be without it ;-)

SharkPod - a shark-repellant device

The Speedgun - this is a device used to accurately measure the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls, it was invented by Henri Johnson and first formally used at the 1999 cricket world cup.

Automatic popcorn vending machine - Peter Ramsey and Mark Beagle from Kwa-Zulu Natal invented the automatic popcorn vending machine.

Dolosse were created by an Eric Merrifield of South Africa and were first installed in the harbour of East London. A Dolos is an unusually shaped concrete block that can weigh up to 20 tonnes, they are designed to separate wave actions and protect the harbour walls and coastal installations. They are now exported around the world.

Oil from coal - Sasol 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.

Cybertracker- This hand-held computer provides a high-technology method of tracking animals in the field. Louis Liebenberg and Lindsay Steventon invented the Cybertracker, 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 research.

Resources used for this post:

1 comment:

Wayfarer Scientista said...

ooo - this was quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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