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The FEBE DFC UJ Makerspace in partnership with the library is an international concept that allows students space to think 3-dimensionally and to share thoughts, ideas, questions and projects around specific topics of interest. The space allows students to work across different disciplines ranging from Science, Technology, Engineering, Health Sciences, Hobbies, Crafts and many more.

According to Prof Saurabh Sinha: “The Makerspace inevitably also connects the cyber- physical world and thus one of the facilities taking forward capacity development for The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).”

UJ’s Makerspace, being the first of its kind at the University of Johannesburg, is equipped with 3D technologies and robotics. The equipment serves as a technical prototyping platform for innovation, invention, entrepreneurship and a catalyst to promote community educational outreach. In this new space, learning occurs in an open-minded approach, as students find solutions to everyday challenges and bringing their ideas to life.

Mohamed Sameer Hoosain, a UJ Elec Eng Masters graduate, a senior tutor who created the Makerspace at the Doornfontein Campus (among other projects) under the guidance and supervision of Prof Saurabh Sinha.

The space is run by trained senior student tutors, library staff and Dr Mashinini Madindwa, Head of Department: Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Technology (MIET); Other Partners include Michael from the Technolab who brought the concept of Robotics to the Makerspace , NSTF ProSet and the IEEE South African section.

Dr Mashinini Madindwa

Mr Mohamed Sameer Hoosain

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a professional association (IEEE), its South African Section in 2015 developed a project, “Light (Sun in a Bottle)” that helped solve a major environmental problem in the informal settlement of Kathrada Park. This settlement is home to some of Johannesburg’s poorest residents. Without access to electricity, kids are unable to study and complete their homework unless they use candlelight, which poses a serious hazard. Recognizing the need to improve on the community’s living conditions.

An Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS)-in-IEEE project was implemented at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) through the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.

EPICS in IEEE not only assists communities with local community improvement goals but also empowering students to pursue engineering for community improvement as a career.

A grant from the IEEE was awarded in-order to complete this project provided the EPICS criteria were followed.

As EPICS-in-IEEE requires, the partners in this project included a UJ post grad member, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Engineers without Borders-UJ (EWB-UJ) who are primarily engineering students and secondary school learners (the pre-university component) from UJ Metropolitan Academy.

As the name suggests, “Light (Sun in a Bottle)” involves a glass bottle with water and suspending it on the roof of a shack to provide a working, energy-efficient lighting system. During the day, sunlight strikes the bottle. Due to the reaction and refraction of light as it goes through a change of medium, from air to water, light rays are scattered evenly throughout the inside of the shack. In the evening, a small solar cell is fixed at the top of the bottle. This solar cell is connected to a circuit that charges a rechargeable battery, which then powers small numbers of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) inside the bottle. With a simple flick of the switch, the solar-charged LED units, with the aid of the refraction property of the water, can shed enough intensity to illuminate the household.

Engineering students and high school learners worked together in completing this project.

Mohamed Sameer Hoosain a Masters graduate in electrical engineering led the initiative under the guidance and supervision of Prof Saurabh Sinha.

With technology for humanity in mind and as we move in the direction of industry 4.0, The EPICS in IEEE concept contributes towards taking engineering to the broader community and empower students for careers in the private, public, and non-profit sectors.