WORLD’S BEST| Six Life-Changing Inventions By South Africans
Over the years, South Africans have risen to be global icons in different fields like politics, acting, art, music, and of course, the field of invention.
Few inventions have come out of Africa, mainly due to the technological gap between the global North and the global South. However, of the few that Africa has churned, South Africa has given the world a considerable number.
Some of these inventions are part of everyday life now across the world, thanks to Mzansi. Here are five life-changing inventions in the world created by South Africans.
A then South African PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Sandile Nqcobo, invented the digital laser in 2013. The laser is mostly used in the health sector.
His invention and doctoral study were premised on how to control the size and shape of a laser beam using a computer. His investigation was on “controlling the light inside lasers.”
Economic Solar Power
In 2005, a physicist from the University of Johannesburg, Professor Vivian Alberts, developed sun power technology that uses a micro-thin metal film instead of the much thicker and considerably more expensive silicon photovoltaic cells.
Because of this technology, solar power became five times cheaper in South Africa than the global average.
Dr Chris Barnard famously performed the world’s first heart transplant in 1967 on Louis Washkansky, who volunteered for the novel surgery.
Dr Barnard became a global celebrity after the heart transplant became successful. He performed ten more transplants throughout his career.
After the transplant, Louis Washkansky lived for 18 days but then passed away in the hospital from pneumonia.
Benoni’s Percy Tucker transformed the events and entertainment industry by inventing the world’s first computerised, centralised ticket booking system – Computicket – in 1971.
This invention meant that people no longer had to stand in theatre queues for hours before film screenings.
Computicket soon secured Ster-Kinekor as its first client, and the service took off across South Africa and the globe.
The world’s first commercially successful pool cleaner, the Kreepy Krauly, was invented by South African Ferdinand Chauvier in 1974.
The Kreepy Krauly is a vacuum cleaner for a swimming pool.
Speed Gun Sports Technology
In 1992, South African engineer Henri Johnson transformed cricket and tennis when he invented the world’s first radar gun to measure the speed and angle of fast-flying balls.
The gun works by sending out a radio wave, which is then reflected by any object in its path. The gun receives this echo and then calculates the speed of the ball using the Doppler Shift principle. The radar gun is now used at the Cricket World Cup.