Solving school-gate congestion – one app at a time


Tjop-tjop. This is how quick the new smartphone app – aptly dubbed “TjopTjop” – can solve congestion problems at school gates caused by mandatory health-screening of learners who are returning to schools in a phased manner.


Developed by NWU engineers, this digital health-screening kit captures data about the identity of the learners, their temperatures, and whether they are wearing masks. The data can be viewed in real time on a web portal.


Click here to read more about this award-winning invention. You can also watch the video above to see how this nifty invention works.



The newly developed TjopTjop smart phone application will make Covid-19 screening and data-capturing at schools much easier and faster.

This award-winning app is one of the many inventions that experts from various engineering disciplines have worked on to address the life-threatening problems triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown.


According to executive dean Prof Liezl van Dyk, this is in line with their mission to change the world for the better.


“We are determined to find answers to the current and future real-life challenges of our industries and communities, through cutting-edge research. The implementation of this could only be to the benefit of humankind,” Liezl says.

 Prof Liezl van Dyk

“The Faculty of Engineering functions as a dynamic training hub for world-class, versatile and innovative engineers.


“We value our industry, academic and community partners, who enable us to develop relevant, sustainable, multi-disciplinary solutions. Through collaborations and expertise, we will make a difference.”


- Prof Liezl van Dyk, executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering





Manufacturing ventilators and face shields


South Africa desperately needs medical supplies and personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect healthcare workers and the nation at large, according to the Department of Health.


Products in high demand include masks, test kits, hand sanitisers, invasive ventilators and non-invasive ventilators, hospital beds and linen.


With these concerns in mind, the NWU team of engineers and collaborators have already developed products to relieve the healthcare system and protect healthcare workers who risk infection as they strive to deal with this pandemic.


Click here to read more about the manufacturing of ventilators and face shields.




Solving widespread hunger – two million meals at a time


Millions of citizens were unable to earn a living during the lockdown, leaving tens of millions of dependents not knowing where their next meal is coming from.


A disaster relief committee was recently established to provide assistance to some 13 000 households in the Potchefstroom area. One way of providing relief is to distribute dry porridge which can be turned into nutritious meals simply by adding water or milk.


This is where the NWU’s expertise comes into play. After decades of research and development in extrusion technology, complex extrusion machines have perfected the process of cooking ingredients (such as maize meal) in an extruder at high pressure and heat, to produce a cooked, dry product within seconds.


The faculty’s innovation resulted in the establishment of a spin-off company, CFAM Technologies, in 2002. Over the past few weeks, CFAM, with the assistance of volunteers and the business community, has produced more than two million dry porridge meals.


Taking their innovations to a higher level, CFAM also developed a food auto bank – a recycled shipping container filled with dried porridge and placed in a strategic location in a residential area.


Coupons bearing a pin number are sent to cellphones, and when keyed in on the autobank’s digital keypad a bag of dry porridge is delivered via the chute.


Click here to read how this life-sustaining food is made available at the press of a button.

TjopTjop, a digital health-screening kit and brain child of the Faculty of Engineering, has won an international award from the Covid-19 Innovation Challenge of the United Nations (UN) Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020.


for a better Covid-19 world