A record number of prototype designs were awarded at this year's Prototype Award ceremony, hosted by the Design Institute, a division of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). A total of 32 prototype designs were exhibited at the Reserve Bank Conference Centre on 2 September and received awards. Several prototypes also received sponsorship support so that the designers can commercialise their designs.
New product development is an essential part of any growing economy and South Africa is no different. The SABS Design Institute is the driving force behind design promotion in the country through various award schemes, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Prototype Award scheme was established in 1997. The Design Institute South Africa and the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law joined forces and initiated a support programme for prototypes as part of the then SABS Design Institute Awards. The Prototype scheme, aimed at assisting and encouraging new product development in South Africa, has since grown into an independent initiative and has gone from strength to strength.
The winning products serve as testimony for the ability of South Africa's people to identify and address challenges in imaginative and practical ways, as well as their skill to seek diverse opportunities to develop themselves, their communities and ultimately the country. The 2005 Prototype Award recipients are:
This well-designed animal-drawn cart for rural use is manufactured from first-grade material, requires little or no maintenance and has a variety of safety features such as reflectors and a hand brake system. The cart can be drawn by one or two donkeys or horses and comes complete with a harnessing system. Other features include a 120 litre water tank under the seat and front and rear dynamo lights. The cart is used to transport adults and learners, but could be converted for other uses.
Designer: Gawie Nortje
The Barrow Chair is a wheelbarrow with a convertible concrete pan that changes into a chair that can be used to transport sick or old people in rural areas and informal settlements. Two side wheels have been mounted next to the main wheel of the wheelbarrow to provide stability and safety on uneven road surfaces. Once converted into a chair, the barrow forms a comfortable and secure seat. The pan of the wheelbarrow is made of galvanised steel, fitting into a mild steel frame.
Designer: Richard Kgwahla
Berlen Interlocking Pipe Seal
The Berlen Interlocking Pipe Seal is used on rigid water pipes with socket ends and has been designed to prevent pipes from pulling apart. The Berlen seal is a moulded rubber ring that provides a joint seal between lengths of socketed pipes. A stainless steel spring is moulded into the rubber to provide locking, preventing the pipes from pulling apart under pressure. The pipe contains a groove into which the spring fits and the shape of the socket creates a wedge. This wedging action increases in force as the pressure rises, strengthening the locking action.
Designers: Bert Harlaar and Len Visser
CLAM Image Station
The CLAM (closed loop automated manufacture) Image Station is aimed at the rapid tooling online measurement environment. The unit provides for online imaging and measurement, designed to complement the Deckel Maho Laser Ablator. Glass panels enclose the work area to ensure that the user can experience the imaging cycle, consisting of a sequence of light patterns projected over the work piece. The unit can be shipped and assembled on-site in kit form and is fully scaleable. The unit was developed at the Soshanguve campus of the Tshwane University of Technology in close cooperation with Wits University, National Laser Centre, IntraCast Precision Foundry and Rapid Design Technologies. CLAM is an internationally patented tooling solution developed as part of the Department of Science and Technology Innovation Scheme.
Internal designers: R.J. Bond, I. Tlhabadira, D. Martin, A. Parrott, N. Dowsen, K. Land and A. Maringa
External designers: J. Fundudis, R. Nieman and A. Veenstra
Ezee Build Modular Building System
The Ezee Build Modular Building System consists of low-cost, easily assembled modules for building houses or other units. The standard wall modules can be used to construct any type or size of building, up to three storeys high. The system also consists of door and window panels. The modules are fixed with specially designed connectors, using a screwdriver. The modules are made of non-combustible material such as steel mesh, cement plaster and an expanded polystyrene inner core.
Designer: Brian Servant
The Game is an electro-mechanical gaming machine that can be used to entertain children. The game starts by inserting a card that exerts pressure on the components. The player has to match numbers to play. A little boxer then hits a container that can be filled with sweets. Once the boxer hits the container at the right spot, it tips and can release the sweets. The game is made from scrap material, is easy to install and requires little or no maintenance.
Designer: Jeremia Gabela
The Garden Res-Q unit utilises grey water from a home bathroom to irrigate a small to medium-sized garden. The irrigation process takes place immediately the shower is switched on or the bath is emptied, without the need to first store grey water in large tanks. The complete irrigation process is automated and as such, no intervention is required by the homeowner. Research has shown that grey water that is stored in tanks could well become pathogenic, whereas grey water utilised immediately poses no health risks to humans or animals, if used responsibly. The compact Garden Res-Q is connected directly to the outside drain pipes of an existing bath or shower where the grey water is filtered of hair and lint and a low pressure pump is activated to pump the water through a normal garden hose. Once the water has been turned off in the bathroom, the pump automatically switches off and ceases the irrigation process until the next bath or shower.
Designer: Mark Joubert
Geoff's Honing Jig
Geoff's Honing Jig is an aid for sharpening chisels and plane blades used in woodworking. It consists of a clamping mechanism mounted over a roller and as a separate item, a reference plate for setting the required honing angle. Once the jig and the reference plate are clamped together, the blade is inserted into the clamping mechanism and the tip of the blade is registered against the line on the reference plate at the required honing angle. Once the blade is clamped in the jig, the jig is run up and down an abrasive stone by means of its roller, sharpening the blade.
Designer: Geoffrey Evans
The Grand Mover has been designed to protect and to eliminate the handling of a grand piano by 95% during moving and transportation. The functional structure of the product forms a cradle with removable handles into which the piano is tied. The cradle can then be placed on the dolly to enable movers to push the piano. A smaller cradle holds the lid. Canvas covers provide further protection. The legs and pedal units are packed in a wooden container.
Designer: Carl Boonzaaier
Guarduct split duct cable installation and protection system
The Guarduct split duct is a high impact HDPE extrusion with a hinge and a snap closing system that makes installation and protection of buried cables easier, quicker and cheaper. The device is placed in a trench in a 'W' configuration and the cables are then laid into the duct, which is then snapped closed. This ducting system can also be placed above ground and comes in lengths of 5,8 metres. When buried, the Guarduct gives easy access to cables, without the need for manholes. The Guarduct split duct is highly suitable for fibre-optic cables that are very sensitive to tension.
Designer: Barry Howard
Incrementally continuously variable transmission
The incrementally continuously variable transmission (ICVT) provides an alternative for conventional transmissions, that is existing CVTs, manual and automatic transmissions, by providing superior fuel consumption and emissions, as well as improved acceleration. The ICVT provides a positive mechanical drive that maintains full mechanical engagement during ratio shifting, resulting in a very high mechanical efficiency incorporated in a simple robust design. The ICVT also features a large number of ratios, typically 32, that shift under load without the use of any clutch or torque converter and with no interruption in engine power. Applications for the ICVT are not limited to automotive, but include application in the truck and bus, construction, agricultural and industrial industries.
Designer: Dr JJ Naude
Kopykat Linear Profile Cutter MK2
The Kopykat Linear Profile Cutter MK2 has been designed to faithfully reproduce an external and/or internal two-dimensional shape from a template to a plasma or gas cutting torch in order to cut any kind of metal of various thicknesses. It can be fitted with a welding head, tig or mig for joining of metals or a router for woodworking. The product is unique in that it has two functions in one unit. It can either cut profiles or straight lines up to any length with added rail extensions.
Designers: Gerrard Thomas and David Esterhuysen
LineLock is a security device that is connected between the incoming telephone line at a user's premises and the telephone exchange. It offers a simple solution to the illegal jumping of telephone lines to make free calls. The LineLock sends a specific secure password to the telephone exchange once the handset is lifted to make a legitimate call. The exchange then automatically opens up the line for normal use. On hanging up the telephone, the exchange disables the line until a new password is received when the telephone is next used. A possible feature could be a line voltage sensing circuit that would trigger an alarm, once the line voltage drops.
Designer: Harry Bartelink
MATRIXRAP/MATRIXBOX is a gift-wrapping system through which a variety of gift boxes or containers can be shaped from a flat sheet of material. The flat sheet comes with an embossed matrix grid pattern at the back and décor print on the top, as well as instruction leaflets with patterns for making gift boxes in a variety of geometrical shapes and sizes. The entire gift-wrap system also includes matching ribbons that makes bows, stickers which alleviate the need for sticky tape, tissue paper and other accessories needed to create an exciting gift packaging in an all-in-one pack. All material used in the MATRIXRAP/MATRIXBOX can be recycled.
Designer: Laszlo Mayer
The MBRACE is a multifunctional muscle rehabilitation product made from inexpensive elastic material. It provides the user with a simple brace that can support various parts of the body. The brace has a pocket that can be fitted with a hot or cold element for improved rehabilitation. The packaging provides the housing for the hot or cold element before it is inserted into the pocket. The shape of the MBRACE allows it to be used in a variety of ways by users of any gender, age or size on most parts of the body.
Designer: Alewyn Botha
The Mini-Combo Laboratory is designed specifically for disadvantaged schools in rural areas, townships and informal settlements. It is a reduced version of a standard science laboratory and it is easy to carry, mobile, compact and lockable. A variety of experiments in chemical science, physics, life and living (biology) for grades 7 to 12 can be conducted. The laboratory provides versatile learning options, contains work kits and other specially designed equipment. It does not rely on infrastructure and has its own power source. It can be placed on a table, handled by a single learner, encourages group work (OBE friendly) and encourages hands-on learning. It is durable, with a material casing produced from SABS approved polyethelene plastic that is heat and acid resistant. The laboratory is safe and does not contain corrosive acids. It contains a specially designed fume funnel system to protect learners from inhaling poisonous fumes during experiments. A manual is provided to guide the teacher through the experiments.
Designer: Larsen Kamfer
OB Fractions Mathematical Model
OB Fractions is a mathematical device to be used by learners individually or in group context. It aids learners to understand fractions, one of the most critical topics in the Mathematics syllabus. It also illustrates the relationship between fractions, decimals and percentages. The product consists of a base tray with semi-cylindrical grooves, fitted with plastic cups of different lengths that represent the different fractional parts. The fractional denominations are displayed on the bottoms of the cups in normal symbols, as well as Braille. The set is covered by a transparent lid and also contains plastic beads to be used in calculating fractional parts of numbers.
Designers: G.G. Kriel, D. de Beer and L. Barnard
The Orbijet VacuRandomiser is an active dome-like accessory to use with a vacuum automatic pool cleaner to randomise its movements and to release the cleaner from problem areas in a swimming pool.
It is simply inserted between two hose lengths by its own connectors protruding both ends of the dome. It functions by using only the surge of water drawn from the cleaner through a mini turbine which pumps a stream of water through a propelling jet nozzle, constantly changing the direction of the pool cleaner and sending it in all directions at random. Because it is an active randomiser, it has a 100% success rate of releasing the suction type pool cleaner from sticking, without the use of batteries or a gearbox.
Designer: Andre du Plooy
PetalPocket is a transparent carrier bag for flowers with hydrated super absorbent crystals in the bottom. The crystals keep the cut flowers moist during transportation or if a regular vase is not available. The PetalPocket is available in three sizes to accommodate different bunch sizes. A drawstring secured by toggles enable the PetalPocket to hold the flowers, as well as hang them from a hook or peg. A zip lock across the lower half of the bag keeps the crystals from spilling and allows for re-use.
Designer: Inge Janse van Rensburg
The Putty Master is a simple tool for use in the building industry. It is a putty knife that sets the form of the putty when replacing windows. The tool consists of a wooden handle and a steel plate screwed together. The steel plate is bent at an angle. With the Putty Master the angle of the putty remains constant and the corners are neat and consistent. Use of the tool also results in even borders.
Designer: Kelvin Grant Moller
Respisense infant breathing monitor
The Respisense infant breathing monitor sets off an audible and visible alarm when a baby stops breathing for more than 20 seconds. It also has a built-in stimulator that gently rouses the baby to resume breathing before raising the alarm. This feature allows for an immediate response to dangerous periods of apnoea. The device is small and simply clips onto the baby's disposable nappy and can therefore be used wherever a baby may fall asleep. It has a single switch button and once activated, runs through a self-check routine to verify whether all systems are working.
Internal designer: Hans Pietersen
External designers: Greg Gallagher, Willie Saayman and Hugo Meyer
SAHACÉ Underwater Smoke Generator
This unit is a smoke distress signal aimed at the underwater sports or skiing market. It consists of a smoke flare in a sealed pressure-resistant shell that can be activated from approximately 30 metres under water or snow. Once activated, the smoke will be visible above water or will dye the snow, attracting attention from the surface or air for rescue purposes. The unit is easily activated by breaking the seal and pushing a button.
Designer: Sarel van Staden
The revolutionary secure window requires no burglar proofing as frames open at angles. The size of both frames and openings are such that human access is impossible. In an emergency, a master key is used to unlock the mechanism and open completely from the inside. The frames can be manufactured from aluminium steel, timber or PVC, fitted with normal glazing.
Designer: Hendrik Karsten
Sheperd's Gate (ASD)
This device has been designed to stop the unauthorised siphoning of fuel or other liquid from a holding tank or container. It is made to fit the inlet of the tank or container and requires no tooling to install. It locks itself in position, without hampering the flow of fuel or liquid into the tank. Once inserted, it cannot be easily removed. The device is manufactured entirely from stainless steel, is lightweight, maintenance free, electronically- and eco-friendly.
Designer: Michael Webster
Single handle master controller and vigilance system
This system consists of driving and braking control levers that have been incorporated in a single handle master controller, replacing the outdated two-handle driver controls for powering and braking suburban trains. This controller improves the ergonomics in the cab and is easy to operate with the left hand. It includes a new Deadman function with a vigilance system, which has to be reset from time to time to ensure that the driver remains alert at all times while the system is active. The entire controller can be easily integrated into existing systems.
Internal designers: Larry Vockerodt, Pan Swanepoel, Andries Laubscher and Corne Engelbrecht
External designer: Riaan van Heerden
Skwid Pressure Pool Cleaner
The Skwid Pressure Pool Cleaner uses jet propulsion as a primary force to randomise the movements of the floating pool cleaner unit and to send a strong stream of water towards the collector bag, jetting debris like leaves into the bag and stirring up other debris to be collected. It consists of a dome-like top-floating unit connected to the pressure outlet of the swimming pool after a number of pool hose lengths. A short length of rigid pipe runs through it, collecting some water running through. A rotating nozzle underneath pumps the water back into the pool, causing the unit to move around. Following the top unit, downwards pointing extension pool hoses ending in four strong jets pull along a triangle-shaped collector bag of open nylon netting. The speed of the bag movement is one metre per second and cleaning is done in less than two hours. Heavy particles like stones or even dust can be collected successfully. The cleaner eliminates algae growth against walls, resulting in reduced chemical use.
Designer: Andre du Plooy
The Smartbolt is a safety monitoring device for the mining industry. It is installed along with conventional carbon steel rock bolts in mining roofs and enables rock engineers to measure changes in sound velocity with an ultrasonic monitoring device. When stressed, this meta-stable bolt undergoes a micro-structural transformation, with its properties changing from non-magnetic depending on the degree of loading, resulting in a change in the longitudinal ultrasonic sound velocity that warns of changing mining roof conditions.
Internal designers: Robert Paton, Joseph Moema, Christopher Fletcher, Jonathan Kerr and Jones M. Papo
External designer: Duncan Adams and Sandor Petho
The Smart Case is a portable desk-aid for use by children in rural schools. It doubles up as a school bag and a desk. It has a hard work surface that fits onto a learner's lap. Once it has been used as a desk, the learner can pack it up and carry it away. It comes with comfortable straps and is lightweight so that it can be carried over long distances. Inside the case is an alphabet chart and a compartment for storing books.
Designer: Lauren Alexander
The Spin Doctor is a mountain bike chain tensioning guide system for most single chain ring downhill or dual slalom bikes. The chain device is a boomerang shaped item and is highly resilient and hard wearing. The B/B King pin prevents the device from swivelling around the B/B axis and the locking edge is tailored to the exact circumference of the B/B mount, resulting in no frame damage. The 10 mm aluminium arms are machined to 5 mm thickness only around the B/B area, to prevent lateral flex of the guide body, keeping the Rollas centred and running smoothly.
Designers: Vaughan Ross and Kevin Vine
Sure Blast-Long Life Fire Extinguisher
By standard, dry powder fire extinguishers have to be opened every five years to check whether the dry powder inside is still functional and an annual visual inspection is required without opening the fire extinguisher. With the Long Life Fire Extinguisher these processes can take place on a more regular basis, without the presence of a technician or having to open the cylinder. This Long Life Fire Extinguisher content is heat-treated for moisture reduction to eliminate powder agglomeration, therefore opening the fire extinguisher in the servicing process could allow for higher moisture content that can lead to erratic discharge and even malfunction. The extinguisher also has a perforated plastic sieve fitted to the end of the siphon tube, preventing any foreign matter entering through the discharge tube. Non-ferrous metal balls are placed inside the cylinder before charging. When the cylinder is shaken, these indicators make a sound, indicating that the powder has not caked up.
Designer: David Marais
The Vinestake is a stainless steel trellising system that facilitates growing vines or soft fruit along the trellis wires. It offers an environmental and commercially sustainable alternative to traditional wooden posts and is guaranteed for life. The stainless steel profile system provides for the use of the interchangeable components and allows for a variety of trellising configurations. The basic components cater for specialised trellising functions and allow quick and easy interchange as the vines or soft fruit produce grows. The plastic components clips are designed to insulate the trellis wires from the Vinestake, eliminating chaffing and electrolytic corrosion.
Internal designer: Jamii Hamlin (conceptual development and design)
External designers: CAD iteration: Mark Ruwiel, structural iteration: Peter Stephenson
ZerH2O Waterless Sanitation
ZerH2O is an environmentally friendly waste disposal device. It is a compact (1,6m x 0,6m), sealed, self-contained unit, effectively isolating the faeces from man, animals, insects, nature and weather, preventing the spread of most harmful organisms. The dome-shaped cover ensures airflow through the device, drying the contents and disposing of odours. No chemicals or additives are required. A urine diversion device located in the toilet pan diverts fluid from the unit. Males use a wall-mounted urinal. The unit is emptied by lifting the lid. A basket, containing the dried faeces, is attached to the lid. There is no direct contact with the contents of the basket. The device is suitable for urban and rural areas as an alternative to waterborne sanitation. It is ideally suited for daily use by six to eight persons.
Designers: Cecil Harris, Neville Harris and Janhendrik Badenhorst
For more information contact Jennie Fourie, Design Institute, 083 457 8682.