A leader in science and technology
South African innovations
South African innovations are varied and many. The country is recognised for its contributions to technological innovation worldwide. South Africa is also a strong driver of science and technology on the African continent, where many South African inventions have helped improve the lives of the rural poor.
Sasol is the world's largest oil-from-coal refinery.
© South African Tourism
Innovation and creativity are as much a part of South Africa as biltong, braais and pap.
South Africa is known for its breakthroughs in the medical field, like Dr Chris Barnard’s heart transplant procedure and the development of the Computer Axial Tomography (CAT) scan by South African physicists Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield. Dr Percy Amoils adapted an electric toothbrush for use in corrective laser surgery.
Many South African inventions have been able to improve the quality of life of people living in rural South Africa, like the EEZE Bicycle-Powered Water Pump, the Lifeline Self-Powered Radio, the Turbo-Spiral Solar Heater, the Suncatcher Solar Cooker, the Mobi-Morgue and the Solo-Mobile Water Heater.
Although there are too many to list here, other important South African innovations include the Dolosse, a reinforced concrete block, shaped like a children’s jack, with anchor-like ends offset from each other. This provides immovable breakwaters that now protect harbours worldwide from the force of the open sea.
Ferdinand Chauvier invented the first fully automatic self-operating pool vacuum, and Sasol, the South African chemical and fuel company, is the world's first and largest oil-from-coal refinery.
There are many structures in place to support South African innovations, such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's (CSIR) Technifin subsidiary, whose primary role is the beneficiation of South African inventions. In addition to this, the Innovation Fund has a commercialisation office to support inventors in patenting, technology transfer and commercialisation of their Intellectual Property Rights.
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