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Border breakthrough for solar car

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The kick-off on the 18 June 2015 of The 2015 African Solar Drive is the start of a Sub-Saharan adventure which sees Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar powered electric car, cross the border into Namibia and Botswana.|The kick-off on the 18 June 2015 of The 2015 African Solar Drive is the start of a Sub-Saharan adventure which sees Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar powered electric car, cross the border into Namibia and Botswana.

Aside from the adventure of the drive, an important focus of The 2015 African Solar Drive is to raise awareness and promote green technology.  By showcasing Ilanga II and hosting public lectures, the UJ Energy Movement aims to educate schools, researchers and people that are interested in pursuing a career in the fields of science and engineering, specifically relating to alternative energy.  The lectures will be taking place in Kimberley, Upington, Windhoek and Gaborone.

During the 4 160 km educational road trip, engineering students will also be collecting and analyzing data to optimise the performance of the vehicle.

Mechanical Engineering Science lecturer and the UJ Energy Movement Programme Manager, Nickey Janse van Rensburg says “The UJ Energy Movement programme was established in 2010 to help promote skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology innovation. We are really excited to be taking Ilanga II on its longest trip yet and introducing the programme to our neighbours across Africa.”

Spectators can look forward to seeing Ilanga II along the route and at specific pit stops; the solar powered electric car was awarded the Technology and Innovation Award at the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and is one of the most advanced solar powered vehicles produced by UJ students and industry partners to date.

Team and Technology Manger of the Energy Movement programme, Warren Hunter, explains that there are a lot of logistical arrangements behind The 2015 African Solar Drive. “A team of engineers and academics has been involved in the technical planning of this twelve day road trip to make sure operations run as smoothly as possible. We are also happy to announce that Mitsubishi is the official transport partner of the ground patrol team.”

The 2015 African Solar Drive route and lecture dates are as follows:

·         Tuesday, 09 June:                    Johannesburg (Public Lecture and launch of African Solar Drive)

·         Thursday, 18 June:                  UJ Solar Lab  – Kimberley (Public Lecture)

·         Friday, 19 June:                         Kimberley – Upington (Public Lecture)

·         Saturday, 20 June:                   Upington) – Hakskeen Pan – Rietfontein Border Control – Keetmans Hoop

·         Sunday, 21 June:                      Keetmanshoop – Mariental – Rehoboth

·         Monday, 22 June:                    Rehoboth – Windhoek (Public Lecture)

·         Tuesday, 23 June:                    Windhoek– Swakopmund – Walvis Bay

·         Wednesday, 24 June:             Walvis Bay – Swakopmund

·         Thursday, 25 June:                  Swakopmund – Windhoek – Buitepos

·         Friday, 26 June:                         Buitepos – Kang

·         Saturday, 27 June:                   Kang – Sekoma – Kanye – Gabarone

·         Sunday, 28 June:                      Gaborone Day (Public Lecture)

·         Monday, 29 June:                    Gaborone – UJ Solar Lab

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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New kind of business school

At a recent meeting, ALLON RAIZ, founder and CEO of Raizcorp, realised that in order for today’s youth to become entrepreneurs, teachers, the curriculum and the parents need continually expose them to entrepreneurial thinking from a young age.

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Several years ago, I found myself in a meeting with my business partner and two of my staff members. In front of us was a client who was sharing some of the frustrations in his business. At the end of the meeting, my partner and I were extremely excited about the prospect of two massive opportunities we had both independently identified while listening to the client. My two staff members, on the other hand, completely missed them. This led me to wonder what it was in my own and my partner’s backgrounds that allowed us to so easily spot opportunities while my two staff members remained oblivious … I realised that the difference was that my partner and I both had an early exposure to entrepreneurship while they didn’t.

Not long afterwards, I was delivering a lecture about how Raizcorp grows and develops small businesses at Oxford University’s Said Business School in my role as their Entrepreneur-in-Residence. I mentioned the above incident and spoke about my intention of going into children’s education with a view to providing an entrepreneurial perspective.

One of the professors in attendance asked me if I’d ever heard of a piece of research by Henrich R Greve called Who wants to be an entrepreneur? The deviant roots of entrepreneurship. It’s a pretty unfortunate title but a fascinating piece of research nonetheless. It highlights how certain contexts in childhood result in a much a higher probability of becoming an entrepreneur. For example, kids who participate in solo sports such as tennis or athletics are more likely to become entrepreneurs than children who play team sports like soccer and cricket. Conversely, your mother’s participation in the parent-teacher association has a negative correlation to you becoming an entrepreneur. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the professor’s office discussing other research papers that unequivocally proved that context during your childhood has a massive influence on whether or not you will follow the entrepreneurial route.

Another member of the lecture audience was a double-PhD from the USA who was completing her MBA at Oxford. After the lecture, she approached me and volunteered to help build a framework to incorporate entrepreneurship in the school curriculum without interfering with the formal requirements of the CAPS curriculum.

She spent nine months in South Africa working with me to build out a practical framework. The next phase of the plan was to find the right school at which to embark upon this journey. In December 2015, Raizcorp purchased Radley Private School and we began our entrepreneurial education adventure in earnest in 2016.

At the centre of the Radley philosophy is that the school (the physical building), the teachers, the curriculum and the parents are the “marinade” in which the kids need to soak in order to be continuously exposed to entrepreneurial thinking from a young age. The aim was that if, in future, the kids found themselves sitting in a boardroom with me and my partner, they too would be able to identify the opportunities that we did.

A big shift this year has been the launch of our Entrepreneurial Educator Guide (EEG) programme where we have been training our Radley teachers (whom we call guides) to understand entrepreneurship, business language, business concepts, financial documents and the like. (The EEG training makes use of Raizcorp’s internationally accredited entrepreneurial learning and guiding methodologies.) We have also employed a full-time staff member to ensure that these concepts are imbedded into all lesson plans and classroom activities.

Through my network at Raizcorp, I have been pleasantly surprised by the massive support we’re receiving from prominent entrepreneurs and businesses who want to participate in our Radley Exposure programme, where we take our kids of all ages on visits to different types of businesses so they can understand the difference between retail, wholesale, manufacturing, logistics and so on. Prominent businesspeople have put up their hands to come to the school and tell their stories of hard work, resilience and perseverance. This ties in beautifully with the 17 entrepreneurial concepts that we are instilling into our Radley learners (such as opposite eyes, lateral thinking and opposable mind), while never compromising on our quality academic offering.

As parents, we’ve all heard the terrible statistics about the probability of our kids finding jobs in the future. At Radley, we’re working hard to ensure that our kids have a legitimate and lucrative alternative to finding traditional employment and that is to become an entrepreneur. Radley is all about producing job creators and not job seekers!

To enrol your child or find out more about the school, please visit www.radley.co.za.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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