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Engineering, Art & Tech

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

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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

Integration of Building Information Modelling (BIM) into Construction Education; A stake holder engagement held.

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The Construction and Economics Department at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) is undertaking a study to explore the possibilities of mainstreaming Building Information Modelling (BIM) into the curricula.

A study supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MaKRIF) is conducted by a team led by Dr. Pamela Achieng, lecturer in the Department of Construction Economics and Management at CEDAT.  The Research team is comprised of Ms. Wesonga Rachael, Mr.  Semanda Julius, Mr. Odongkara Billy Brian, Mr. Tom Mukasa and the Departmental Head, Dr. Nathan Kibwami.

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Engineering, Art & Tech

MTSIFA gets into partnership with the University of Bergen

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The Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Art (MTSIFA) in the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) Makerere University has entered into a partnership with the University of Bergen (UIB), Faculty of Art, Music and Design to work towards internalizing and nurturing local indigenous knowledge.

The project will contribute to a multidisciplinary internationalization of higher education between global south and north with art, design, music, involving the two universities and independent enterprises linked to these disciplines.

Teams from the two Universities met at the College of Engineering to further discuss the implementation details and paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Principal, Dr. Venny Nakazibwe.

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Engineering, Art & Tech

Janet Goldner Fulbright Specialist Catalogue Department of Fine Art CEDAT Makerere University August 2022

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Janet Goldner

It was a pleasure to spend six weeks teaching in the Fine Art Department of Makerere University as a Fulbright Specialist. I want to thank Dr. Lilian Mary Nabulime and Mr. Edward Balaba for their vision for the project that brought me here, their faith in me, and their guidance during this successful program. I also enjoyed meeting and working with Ms. Fedelis Nabukenya, Assoc. Professor George Kyeyune, and Assoc. Professor Rose Kirumira. 

Dr. Nabulime’s and Mr. Balaba’s idea to focus on found and local materials as art materials is an excellent and timely one. As artists, this focus trains us to be sensitive to our daily surroundings. It guides us to look carefully at the beauty and utility of the “trash” that others discard. It becomes our job as artists to reclaim and repurpose it. The use of found materials as art materials is also important since more traditional art materials are expensive for any art student or artist for that matter. Finding these “gifts from the street” requires highly honed creative skills of observation and transformation. And the use of found materials has an important role in raising awareness about climate change. Use of found and local materials lends itself to examining social issues.  

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