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Inventor wins R1m in Cell C reality show

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Klerksdorp’s Christo Rossouw has escaped the noose and has been named the winner of Cell C’s thrilling reality show Hangman walking away with R1-million prize money.

The 35-year-old impressed the judges and viewers with his innovative mosquito repellent lamp and beat off strong challenges from the remaining two finalists – Bonex Mwakikunga with his diabetes breathalyser and Chelsea Anne Hornby who developed the Elle reusable menstrual cup.

Thanks to the TV series, Rossouw also has a distribution deal with Fever Tree, who will be testing his products in the market in three big supermarket chains, and believes the potential for his product is endless.

“I always focus on social innovations when entering competitions,” says an elated Rossouw. “There is a huge need to provide the underprivileged with affordable and effective solutions to problems that they are facing. One of the biggest issues in the world that poor people face is malaria. Mosquito-borne diseases are responsible for close to a million deaths annually, infecting around a billion people every year.

“I was looking to design a product that would be more effective and more affordable than products already on the market. Something that would act as a social innovation, but also have market potential.  My mosquito diffuser is three times cheaper than the cheapest electric heater on the market. It does not use additional electricity to work and is compatible with refills from all major brands.”

Says Jose Dos Santos, Chief Executive Officer of Cell C: “This show was a first for South Africa. The quality of the production was world-class and viewers really embraced the show and participated actively through the Cell C reality app. More so, we are delighted that we were able to provide talented South African innovators with a platform to realise their dreams.”

The Hangman “backers”, acting as judges, included economist Iraj Abedian, billionaire Quinton van der Burgh, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa Bonang Mohale, and businesswoman and entrepreneur Connie Mashaba. The show was hosted by Maps Maponyane.

A repeat of Hangman will be broadcast on e.tv on Saturday, December 16, at 13h00. It will also screen on eExtra (http://eextra.etv.co.za) on Wednesday (December 13) at 19h30 with a repeat on Thursday (December 14) at 10h00.

The complete Hangman series is also available – for free – on Cell C’s newly launched entertainment and content platform, black. South Africans, on any network, can download the GETblack Android & iOS apps using a tablet or smartphone. It is also available on a web interface at www.black.co.za.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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