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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Students design dustbin for disabled

YOUNG INNOVATORS: The proud first-year Mechanical Engineering students, Anita Mpambo, Zipho Sithole, Palesa Kokwe, Mnoneleli Mbangatha and Yongamele Tshazibane display the automated bin they invented. YOUNG INNOVATORS: The proud first-year Mechanical Engineering students, Anita Mpambo, Zipho Sithole, Palesa Kokwe, Mnoneleli Mbangatha and Yongamele Tshazibane display the automated bin they invented.

First-year Mechanical Engineering students have developed an automated dustbin for people with disabilities.

The automated bin could be of great benefit to paraplegics.

The department’s coordinator, Luyanda Meyers, says the students were given a project to write an Arduino program that can control light-emitting diodes (LED), RGB globes that can flash red, green and blue colours, a buzzer and a button. In groups of five, they were required to design a simple electronic system where the four LEDs, two buzzers, two buttons, an RGB and a potentiometer component which can be utilised directly or interchangeably with each other. Meyers says it was also important to indicate where the program could be used to solve modern-day technological challenges.

“This was our first time introducing Arduino programming in the entire department of mechanical engineering for first-year students,” says Meyers. “I am proud of the students because they had to learn to code in a space of two months yet they manage to produce a project that has a potential solution in the society for disabled people. This also fits perfectly to the smart CPUT vision.”

One of the group members, Yongamele Tshazibane, says they started off by conducting a research on Arduino projects to get an in-depth view of what Arduinos are capable of. Arduino projects refers to a micro controller board.

The students decided to use a servo, an ultra-sonic sensor and a potentiometer. “We decided to make this dustbin after we had bought these components. Before that we did not have a clue as to what we were going to do,” Yongamele says.

During their research the students discovered that they could control lids using a servo, the component that opens and closes the lid which works with the sensor. “We then decided to make an automated dustbin for disabled people. We went ahead with this idea because we knew that it would be useful in the modern world.

“Paraplegic people cannot use their limbs so it is difficult for them to open and close bins. We felt that they need a smart bin like the one we built because almost every bin that has been invented does not work in their favour,” he says.

Yongamele thanks their lecturers for assigning them to the project, because the students would not have known what they are truly capable of doing.”

Another proud Physics Lecturer, Velaphi Msomi, says this project responds to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce