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Home » Volume 55 Issue 4- February-March 2018 » Feature » Article Details

BIUST inventions that will blow your mind

History has proven that great men took first steps to tap into unfettered terrains armed with nothing but desire and a clear vision. With sheer gusto, they pursued their vision against the odds. They trusted their journey even in the phase of adversity. The results were innovations that made life a lot easier for generations to come.

When Wilbur and Orville Wright invented their first airplane in 1903 in North Carolina, America, initially the general notion was that it was impossible until it happened. The first motor vehicle was also considered a far-fetched dream. Many other inventions mushroomed years later in various fields, which made life much easier for humanity.

Consequently, a century later humanity built on these noble ideas and advanced to information age where one can get information at the click of a button. International banking transactions worth billions can be executed within a split of a second.

The narration is the same for Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). They are keeping up with global technological developments and developing home brewed solutions to local problems.

Two project prototypes were recently patented by BUIST which are being produced and administered by the Electrical, Computers and Telecommunications department of the university- The Smart Home and the Smart Farm projects.

Under the BUIST Smart Home, the institution wants to produce a system that would enable one to switch on lights in their homes at their convenience without using the light switch on the wall.

“The Smart Home will enable you to twitch your fingers or make any movement, or sound that will correlate with your electrical system. You will be able to switch on the lights even from outside,” says Electrical, Computers and Telecommunications Department, chief technician Ms. Lorato Mohutsiwa.

She discloses that once complete, the innovation will also enable consumers to use a remote control, a cellular phone, or a sound system to also switch on their hot water geysers using a cellular phone, or email or whatever communication devise a client chooses to link to the smart home system. She divulges that the complicated lifestyles of today need to be made much easier for the people, “For example when you are at work you can switch on your geyser from there rather wait to get home and wait for the water to heat up,” she shares excitedly.

Ms. Mohutsiwa notes the system is capable of ensuring one’s security and wadding off criminals.

“When we designed the system, we looked at issues of security. We lost a colleague Dr Sehurutshe of the University of Botswana who was killed by criminals right at his gate. This is one of the reasons why we came up with this project,” she says.

She discloses that the new technology will use electronic sensors. Other components involve use of infrared lights such as the scanning system. “Sensors will be programmed to detect movement using one’s choice of mode.”
As for the BUIST Smart Farm, she says is targeted at making life easier for the farmers. She refer to the innovation  as “Modisa yo o Molemo” to guard against any malpractice by herdboys.

“With the smart farm, a farmer will be in a position to communicate with his kraal. A text message can be sent to your phone or email to alert the owner of how many cattle have entered the kraal and which ones are missing,” she explains.

She notes that a telecommunications network, which will include a camera, will use infrared light to detect, for example, a cow by correlating information with its ear tag or identity. The Information will be sent to the counting unit as information is programmed such that at a specific time cattle should be in the kraal.  If not it will show.

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