PM’s Inventor of the Year competition: Special Merit Awards

  • The first honoree was Felix Groenewald of Centurion for his clever wind generator, a helicopter with groundbreaking rotor head technology and a small but extremely versatile utility vehicle.
  • PM’s second honoree, John Abel, is the inventor of a patented trailer hitching system that enables a vehicle driver to reverse a trailer without risk of jack-knifing, causing it to behave like a third set of wheels.
Date:7 November 2012 Tags:, , , , , ,

 
About FutureTech | FutureTech conference 2012 | Programme/Speakers 2012 | Previous conferences | Previous Inventor of the Year winners

At last year’s PM Inventors Conference, we named Dr George Vicatos of the University of Cape Town as South Africa’s Inventor of the Year and gave him a substantial cash prize (which he later shared with his two collaborators). We also acknowledged the work of three other inventors who made us proud to be South African.

We retained the Inventors Competition as part of this year’s inaugural FutureTech initiative and succeeded in attracting dozens of entries from all over South Africa. However, despite their best efforts, the judging panel was unable to come up with a title winner, so instead they exercised their discretion to create Special Merit Awards in recognition of outstanding individual talent. Each of these comes in the form of a certificate and a cash prize of R10 000.

First up was Felix Groenewald of Centurion, a self-effacing but highly competent inventor who charmed the FutureTech delegates with his descriptions of lateral thought processes and engineering challenges overcome with very limited resources. His trio of devices included a clever wind generator, a helicopter with groundbreaking rotor head technology (working prototypes of each were  displayed at the venue) and a small but extremely versatile utility vehicle. Although these machines needed some work to become commercially viable, commented editor Alan Duggan, “there was strong evidence to suggest that Felix was destined for wealth and fame”.

PM’s second honoree, John Abel, is the inventor of a patented trailer hitching system that enables a vehicle driver to reverse a trailer without risk of jack-knifing, causing it to behave like a third set of wheels. Commented Duggan: “This is an absolute boon to people like me, and when it eventually hits the market, it will bring a smile to the faces of many thousands of other motorists. John Abel represents all that is admirable about South African inventiveness, and he makes us proud.” Catch Abel’s auto-sensing, anti-jackknife trailer in action

* PM’s annual “Inventor of the Year” competition will evolve next year into something completely different, and undoubtedly better. As they say, watch this space…

About FutureTech | FutureTech conference 2012 | Programme/Speakers 2012 | Previous conferences | Previous Inventor of the Year winners