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From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi… these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up

From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up

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Durban – Students from UKZN’s electrical, electronic and computer engineering department have come up with solutions to real life challenges.

They were on display yesterday at an open day where industry examiners tested them at an exhibition which supervisor Mohamed Khan described as the “final step before releasing them into the world of engineers”.

Sengwayo Makhoba, from Inanda, designed a device to measure single-phase power with harmonics, especially for people facing power surges.

“People are susceptible to higher electricity power supply, and their appliances get damaged.”

Fed up with the effects of cable theft at his home in eManzimtoti, Callum Haggie developed cables that replaced copper with aluminium.

From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up
Sengwayo Makhoba with his device to make life easier where load shedding and cable theft have impacted on people’s appliances. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

“These aluminium cables would cost less than copper cables.”

He also said they would perform at the required level.

Prompted by having experienced power failures at his Bluff home during the April floods, Viashen Govender designed a system to protect electrical substations in the event of flooding.

From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up
After living through power failures during the floods, Viashen Govender has come up with a plan for rising water in substations. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

His model, simulating a substation, was equipped with floats enabling his device to automatically detect the rate of flooding while determining when best to de-energise the substation to prevent catastrophic damage to the plant and restore power once flooding subsides.

From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up
Nabeel Kara has ideas to improve wi-fi. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)
From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up
Callum Haggie, fed up with copper cable thefts in eManzimtoti, has come up with an asbestos alternative. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Sanele Radebe, who escaped harm from shack fires in his youth in uMlazi, has designed a wireless fire detection system to monitor the environment, provide alerts, and inform people via sirens in the event of a blaze.

Shivek Reddy's project involved lighting substations with LED floodlights instead of the traditionally used high-pressure sodium floodlights.

It won the award for the best electrical design towards the future energy grid as well as the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers award for the best electrical engineering power project.

From automatic pet feeders to solutions for wi-fi... these are the wacky ideas engineering students dreamt up
Praneesa Govender has a solution to reduce the risk to the environment when it comes to draining transformer oil bunds.Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Praneesa Govender, who presented a tool that drains transformer oil bunds to reduce the risk to the environment, especially during periods of increased rainfall or flash floods, won the most disruptive electrical engineering and computer engineering award.

Nabeel Kara displayed a device that would assist office parks in getting high-powered wi-fi that would allow people to send messages to different departments. It can make a wi-fi signal spread further than a normal router.

Mercia Pillay developed an automatic pet feeder device, the ChompBot, named after a stray cat, Chompie, that she adopted.

“It allows users to feed their pets at home when they are out, using a free App.”

The device is load shedding-proof as it is solar-powered and works as a dispenser for pet food.

She received the best final year in power systems award.

The Independent on Saturday

Original Article

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