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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

3 Mak Teams in Efficiency for Access Design Challenge Grand Final

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Efficiency for Access Design Challenge 2021 Grand Final, 23rd June, 11:00 AM BST (1:00 PM EAT).

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge is a global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access.

To provide universal energy access, we urgently need to enhance the efficiency and affordability of high performing appliances for off and weak-grid settings in low to middle income countries. The Challenge
invites teams of university students to create affordable and high-performing off-grid appliances and supportive technologies. 

This year, 21 universities from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda, Sweden and the UK will participate. Three teams from Makerere University are taking part in the Challenge.

This year’s Grand Final will be happening on the 23rd June at 11:00am BST (1:00pm EAT) includes:  

  • A showcase of some of the amazing submissions we have received this year.
  • An awards ceremony for teams with the most innovative designs  
  • Panel discussion: ‘How do we truly achieve inclusive energy access?’, giving you the chance to hear insights into the future of the off-grid industry

The event also gives participants the opportunity to network with specialists working in the off-grid appliance sector.

You can register here to attend the event.

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CEDAT Annual Report 2020

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The Principal-Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (3rd L), Deputy Principal-Dr. Venny Nakazibwe (2nd L), with Deans R-L: Dr. Kizito Maria Kasule, Dr. Moses Musinguzi, Dr. Dorothy Kabagaju Okello and Heads of Department at a meeting in the CEDAT Conference Hall, Makerere University.

Africa Centre of Excellence in Materials Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO). The Center was developed out of the need to strengthen research and training in the thematic areas of materials science and engineering, nanotechnology and nanomedicine in order to develop human resource capacity in applied science engineering disciplines for the development of the great lakes region.

MAPRONANO ACE offers highly specialized short courses in welding technology, health safety engineering, Oil & gas, Monoclonal and Nanobodies generation, Bioinformatics & Next Generation sequencing techniques. Nanomedicine Program is implemented in partnership with College of Health Sciences (MakCHS).

The centre is supported by the World Bank to the tune of USD 6 million.

The centre has registered a number of success/ achievements during the last 3 years, some of which include;

Student Training

  • 1 PhD student & 110 MSc students were enrolled in the academic year 2019/2020.
  • 50 students attended the Short Course in Tablet development of which 22 were regional students from University of Nairobi.

MOUs generated

  • 3 MOUs with Vaal University, Sefako Makgatho University of health Sciences South Africa and industrial partner CODEK Engineering Ltd have been signed, budgets and work plans submitted

Peer Reviewed publications

  • 7 peer reviewed publications in high impact journals have been published and 4 conference papers have been presented by the faculty and students.

Industry Engagement

  • MAPRONO ACE conducted industry engagement and student placements in the Eastern and Western region to promote University-private partnerships. A total of 30 manufacturing industries have participated and over 20 internship placements have been secured for the students.

Gender Awareness and Career Guidance in High School

  • MAPRONANO ACE conducted career guidance and gender awareness in high schools in Eastern and Western Uganda to encourage students mostly girls to take up STEM subjects. Over 35 high schools and over 1,500 students participated.

Revenue Generation (Grants/Contracts at Various Stages)

MAPRONANO ACE won several grant awards from Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF) and COVID19 Emergency Fund for:-

  • Viral load determination and antibody profiling among Covid-19 patients UGX 60,000,000 ($16,216.2), Prof. Charles Ibingira (PI)
  • Perfecting the design and testing the feasibility of disinfecting gloves (D-Gloves) UGX 60,000,000 ($16,216.2) Prof. John Baptist Kirabira (PI)
  • Valorization of cassava peels for abatement of active pharmaceutical contaminants from water systems in Uganda UGX 219,720,000 ($59,383.7) Prof. John Baptist Kirabira (PI)
  • Up-cycling plastic wastes by incorporation of agricultural residues for the development of environmentally friendly packaging products, UGX 104,310,000 ($28,191.9) Dr. Michael Lubwama (PI)
  • Nanobody based point of care diagnostic kit for cervical cancer UGX 194,000,000 ($52,432) Prof. Charles Ibingira (PI)

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CEDAT Swears-In New Student Leaders

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Incoming members of the Makerere Engineering Society (MES) Cabinet take oath during the Swearing-In ceremony for Student Associations' leaders on 21st May 2021, CEDAT Conference Hall, Makerere University.

The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) on Friday May 21, 2021 witnessed the handover and swearing-in of new student leaders of the various associations at the college.

The college has 6 associations each with a president and a cabinet.

The associations include Makerere Engineering Society (MES), Makerere Association of Construction Management (MAC), Makerere University Fine Art Students Association (MUFASA), Makerere University Association of Surveying Students, Makerere University Planners Association, Makerere Architecture Student Association.

The handover was witnessed by the Principal, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Dean of the School of the Built Environment, Prof. Moses Musinguzi, Dr. Eng. Anthony Rucukye, who represented the patron of MES, the Deputy Principal, Dr. Venny Nakazibwe, the Principal Communication Officer, Ms. Betty Kyakuwa and the Web Administrator, Mr. Mark Rujumba as well as parents of the new student leaders.

In his remarks, Prof. Alinaitwe thanked the out-going leadership for working with the college to improve student welfare and also organize academic events.

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