NWU rewards young inventors
POTCHEFSTROOM – The innovative spirit of the North-West University (NWU) was once again demonstrated when the winners of the Young Inventors Competition, hosted by the NWU’s Innovation Directorate, were announced at a gala function held at the Gallery on the Potchefstroom Campus on 18 October 2007.
Hans Viljoen, a grade 12 learner of Gimnasium High School, won the first prize worth R2 000 for the perspex lamp he designed and manufactured.
Potchefstroom Girls' High grade 11 learners, Ofelia Andrade and Simone Pears were awarded second and third place, earning them R800 and R300 respectively.
“It is important for us to identify, encourage and develop young inventors at an early age, because they are our inventors of the future,” says competition organizer, Ms Susan van Rooyen of the Innovation Directorate.
For this competition, the young inventors were trained at the Open Café in Potchefstoom to use Linux software to design their lamps. The designs were then finalised at the Engineering Faculty’s fabrication laboratory (FabLab) on the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU, using Opensource software, after which the perspex was cut to precision by a CO2 laser cutter.
The Open Café is a non-profit internet café, specializing in Open Source software training, distribution and technical support, and the FabLab is a world-class facility where people – from school pupils to engineers – can use the unique equipment to design, develop, assemble and test almost any idea or product.
The Young Inventors Competition is conducted parallel to the Department of Science and Technology’s National Innovation Competition for university students.
At the award ceremony were, in the front row, from left: Mr Pieter Tolmay, FabLab, Jessica Brink, High School for Girls, Potchefstroom, Simone Pears, High School for Girls, Potchefstroom, Ms Susan van Rooyen, NWU Innovation Office, Ms Anna Dani, Open Café, Ofelia Andrade, High School for Girls, Potchefstroom, and Johan Heath, Potchefstroom Technical High School. In the back are, from left: Dawie Botha, Potchefstroom Technical High School, Sarel Coetzee, Potchefstroom Technical High School, Innes Coetzee, Potchefstroom Technical High School, and Hans Viljoen Hoërskool Gimnasium, (first prize winner).