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Jac van der Merwe Competition for Innovation celebrates 25 years

Innovation competition celebrates its diamond anniversary! On 26 November 2019 the annual Jac van der Merwe Competition for Innovation was presented in the Faculty of Engineering for the 25th time. This Competition, sponsored by MultiChoice, rewards the Maties engineering student with most innovative final-year project. This year’s winner was Gareth Ramsay who won R20 000 with his project Tracheostomy heat and moisture exchanger for improved patient experience. His project leader was Dr Mike Owen.

The Competition was named after an alumnus of this Faculty who was a founder member of M-Net and who was known for his creativity and innovativeness. Unfortunately, Jac was killed in an aeroplane crash in 1994. To commemorate his creative spirit, M-Net established this annual competition in 1995 whereby the Maties engineering student with the most innovative final-year project is selected. Since 2013 this prize is sponsored by MultiChoice with total prize money of R30 000. This is the biggest prize in the Faculty of Engineering.

Six candidates, representing the six BEng Programmes offered at the Faculty of Engineering, had 15 minutes each to do a presentation on their final-year project in front of an evaluation panel. The panel comprised Engineering’s Vice-Dean: Teaching and Quality Assurance, two representatives of MultiChoice and a lecturer from each of the BEng programmes.

The other candidates were:

Mechatronic: DP Kramer – Project leader: Peter Blaine (The conversion of a normal wheelchair into a user operated and controlled system through the development of a retro fitted motor pack).

Civil: Stephan Olivier – Project leader: Chris Jurgens (Alternative Energy Storage for Grid-tied Solar PV Systems).

Chemical: Matt Findlay – Project leader: Sunél Nortjé (Energy generation from municipal solid waste).

Industrial: Ané van Schalkwyk – Project leader: Dr Louzanne Bam (Development of a concept demonstrator decision-support system to facilitate kidney chain transplants in South Africa).

Electrical and Electronic: Tessa Hall – Project leader: Dr Herman Kamper (Towards Using Machine Learning to Improve Human Arithmetic Learning).

The above-mentioned candidates received R2 000 each for their participation.

On the photo from the left are DP Kramer (Mechatronic), Ané van Schalkwyk (Industrial), Bevan Bates (MultiChoice), Gareth Ramsay winner (Mechanical), Sibulele Qina (MultiChoice), Tessa Hall (Electrical and Electronic), Matt Findlay (Chemical) and Stephan Olivier (Civil).