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Engineering, Art & Tech

Mak Adds Thermal Imaging, 3D Printing to Fight Against COVID-19



Makerere University under the Department of Agricultural and Bio-Systems Engineering (DABE), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on Friday 28th August 2020 unveiled three new additions to help control the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces. The Thermal Imaging for detection of COVID-19 as well as Three-Dimensional (3D) printing of biodegradable face shields and components for the Bulamu Ventilator are all aimed at boosting the contribution of local content to the fight against the pandemic.

The Principal Investigator of the project and Chair, DABE Prof. Noble Banadda while welcoming participants to the unveiling acknowledged the support of Makerere University Health Services led by Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha and the University of Liverpool in helping to develop the Thermal Imaging component.

“Although the hardware already exists in the public domain, our academic contribution has been the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Language (ML) to develop an algorithm that can; unlike the temperature gun, take readings from four places – the throat, mouth, nose and forehead and come up an average temperature” he remarked.

Prof. Banadda shared that over 7,000 images obtained with the help of the University Hospital were used to train the algorithm which can enable the Thermal Imaging to detect people with flu-like symptoms unlike the temperature gun. He noted that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and partners had trained an algorithm that can identify COVID-19 from a cough and this would be integrated into the Thermal Imaging setup in the future.

He thereafter unveiled the 3D printing aspect with which the project had produced biodegradable face shields and components for the Bulamu Ventilator. “The shield component is made of acetate; a biodegradable polymer of wood and cotton, while the clasp was designed in consultation with a professor of medicine to ensure that it doesn’t form mist and is comfortable to wear.”

The reusable face shield also has antimicrobial properties, is easy to clean and is expected to retail for approximately UGX 5,000. The 3D Printer, said the PI can also be used to print three dimensional organs for disciplines of medicine, building models for architecture and any other programmes that rely on objects for teaching.

The Director of Quality Assurance Dr. Vincent Ssembatya and initiator of the Bulamu Ventilator innovation also made a brief presentation on how 3D printing has greatly aided the project. “Using the 3D printer, we are now able to print eleven components of the pneumatic system.”

In his remarks the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Prof. Banadda, Dr. Ssembatya and their respective teams for the efforts invested in contributing to the fight against COVID-19. “3D printing gives very accurate dimensions and has brought about a huge revolution in technology.”

The Vice Chancellor recognized the presence of the Chairperson Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) Board of Directors Dr. Jane Mulemwa and Representative of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) Lt. Gen. Charles Angina and thanked all partners for sparing time to attend the unveiling. “We are operationalizing the Intellectual Property (IP) office and are expecting to build a Science and Technology park where all our disciplines will work together to develop even more innovations.”

Introducing the Special Guest Lt. Gen. Angina, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba paid tribute to Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho and OWC for supporting the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) Annual Entrepreneurship Expo. “The expo has over the years nurtured a lot of innovations into small businesses where our young people have been gainfully employed as part of small scale industries and contributed to the country’s development.”

In his remarks Lt. Gen. Angina commended the University leadership for the continued innovations that prove that Makerere can be the number one Higher Education Institution on the continent. “By coming up with such innovations, you have been patriotic and contributed to the global call for the fight against COVID-19.”

Lt. Gen. Angina remarked that the Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) and other outstanding innovations have paved the way for new ones to follow in their footsteps. “With the manufacture of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Uganda we will be able to have a double score on cars that can be powered by petroleum products and electricity.”

The Deputy Chief Coordinator OWC tasked the Bulamu Ventilator innovators to quickly secure approval for the essential device and produce as many as possible so as to meet the demand not only in Uganda, but the rest of the Africa. He equally tasked the Thermal Imaging team to expand their scope to night vision devices so as to enhance the nocturnal operations of security agencies.

He concluded his remarks by appreciating the President and Commander in Chief of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his leadership that recognizes the contribution of the academia, research and innovations to national development.

Article by Public Relations Office

Engineering, Art & Tech

Collaboration between Mak & Strathmore in Renewable Energy



The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd L), Prof. Izael Izael Pereira Da Silva (4th L), Principal CEDAT-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (C), Deputy Principal CEDAT-Assoc. Prof. Venny Nakazibwe (2nd L) and other officials after the meeting on 13th December 2021, Makerere University.

Effort is on to enhance collaboration between Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) and Strathmore University in the area of renewable energy.

During a meeting held between the College management and Prof Izael Pereira Da Silva from Strathmore University on Monday 13th December in the College Boardroom, the two institutions agreed on a way forward to champion the establishment of a center for renewable in Makerere University drawing from the experience from Strathmore University.

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe while welcoming Prof. Izael Pereira Da Silva, observed that a number of organizations had contacted the University but the process did not get started for lack of a champion to propel the drive.

He commended Prof. Izael Pereira Da Silva for coming back to Makerere where he served over ten years ago to share ideas that would not only see the University lead the process  of  greening the campus but also start on a journey that would lead to reduced energy costs in the running of the University.

Dr. Dorothy Okello and her team in the School of Engineering were charged to take lead in the process with support from Prof. Da Silva.  It was noted that the School of engineering was in the process of strengthening the programming and therefore in position  to take the process ahead by starting on a small project.

According to Prof. Izael Pereira Da Silva of Strathmore University, there was a lot that Makerere could do towards realizing the needed partnerships in the area of renewable energy borrowing a leaf from his University which had realized a number of milestones in the use of renewable energy.

He said Strathmore University had started a program of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and that there was a lot that they could learn from the College of Engineering, Design, Art and technology and hence the need for close collaboration.

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Engineering, Art & Tech

Mak & Partners receive a grant worth EUR 6.9 Million



Kick-off meeting for the project partners held on 17-18th November 2021 at Universidad de Jaen (UJA), Linares, Spain. Courtesy Photo.

Makerere University, together with 28 other partners across Africa and Europe have been awarded funding of EUR 6,962,820 by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 to collaborate and implement a five-year project “Renewable Energies for Africa: Effective Valorization of Agri-food Wastes (REFFECT AFRICA).”

The project seeks to demonstrate innovative, reliable, and adapted sustainable energy solutions based on the valorization of biomass wastes from the agri-food industry. REFFECT AFRICA will build biomass gasification demonstrators at three African locations including Ghana, Morocco, and South Africa. The project will cover both urbanized and rural contexts in Africa, as well as the different socio-economic backgrounds. The demonstrators will be adapted and optimized to a wide variety of biomass wastes available in the specified locations, producing electricity for productive use.

Beyond electricity, the installed demonstrators will provide a range of secondary uses to communities to close the energy-food-water cycle. These include heating or cooling, biochar, steam for sterilization or food processing, water and pathogen analysis. Other business model approaches in REFFECT AFRICA include biomass supply and logistics. Beyond these, the partners in REFFECT AFRICA will take advantage of digital tools to;1) achieve more useful and profitable exploitation pathways for plant operators and entrepreneurs, 2) impact policymakers in order to boost the transition to renewables in Africa and 3) train and raise awareness on a new generation of African stakeholders.

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Engineering, Art & Tech

CEDAT Holds 10th Open Day, Celebrates 50 Years of MES



The Minister of State for Minerals-Hon. Peter Lokeris (2nd R) together with the Principal CEDAT-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe and UEGCL Officials hand over a dummy cheque to the best exhibitor of the 10th Annual CEDAT Open Day and MES@50 Celebrations held 19th-20th November 2021.

The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) held its Annual Open day on the 19th and 20th of November 2021 on the Theme; ‘Innovation and Technology in Combating Crisis’

The event which was also an avenue to celebrate 50 years of Makerere Engineering Society (MES) was characterized by a display of many student ideas and innovations in line with the theme of the event.

The Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero was Chief Guest at the event held at Makerere University Central teaching Facility II.  In her remarks Dr. Monica Musenero expressed her commitment towards building the future in partnership with the young engineers. She applauded the great work done by the students as seen from the exhibitions and expressed optimism that the future of the nation was assured with the kind of work the students were doing.

‘We are standing at cross roads, we are standing between the past and the future, standing between  what has been and what we want to be,  she said  adding that we need to choose whether we go forward and take our future in our hands or choose to sit down, lament and blame everybody else’.

Dr. Musenero noted that the young people were the face of the future and congratulated Makerere Engineering Society for the 50 year milestone whose success she said, should be used to reflect on what had been realized as seen from the number of Engineers and products nurtured. She emphasized to the students that they were privileged given that science and technology where engineering falls was a key component for development.

The Minister informed the gathering that her Ministry was ready to support ideas and innovations in areas that included digital technology such as electronics, infrastructure engineering like roads and railways, mobility, the pathogen economy, import substitution and creating products for export as well as space engineering. She charged the students to have the right mindset and determination and assured them of the support of the Ministry.

The 2021 CEDAT open day later in the course of the event hosted the State Minister for Minerals Hon. Peter Lokeris who not only inspected the exhibition of the innovations by the students but also handed over a prize of Five Hundred Thousand Uganda Shillings to the best innovator courtesy of the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL).

Hon. Lokeris informed the Engineering students that the Mineral Development sector had a big docket and urged them to continue striving to become big innovators as demonstrated in the exhibition.  He noted that the positive side of COVID 19 made it possible for certain innovations to be seen and that in times of crisis, the mind works at its best.

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