It’s that time of year when the call goes out to all corners of our nation. The call is from the Technology Innovation Agency, and it’s to find new Seed Fund recipients – those who have the idea, and the vision, but need the financial bridge to get from one to the realisation of the other. To do so, TIA has given grants of up to R650 000, depending on the requirements of the recipient
If you think you’re worth it, and meet the right criteria for funding, you will find yourself in great company, because 2017 has already seen four strong projects being granted that extra boost they need to build their businesses into a commercial reality.
The first was Cargo Telematics, who developed a dynamic cargo strap monitor, which stop loads shifting during long-distance truck hauls. This innovation constantly measures the tension of the strap holding massive containers to their mounts, and immediately makes adjustments whenever that tension changes. This keeps the load’s balance constant, and the tonnes of stacked containers firmly where they’re supposed to be – all in less than a second. It combines this information with braking and cornering data from an in-built accelerometer, meaning that the Cargo Strap Monitor knows exactly what’s going on, even if the driver doesn’t. Cargo Telematics received a generous amount of funding from the TIA Seed Fund to make our roads safer.
The team behind the upscaling of Sceletium production received a substantial grant, which will help them find a way to establish a commercially successful biotechnology business, which will be built around a unique method of producing plant alkaloid material. Sceletium, a plant, is used traditionally to alleviate hunger, relieve pain and can have significant effects on mood, stress and tension (for the better). Thanks to the small scale bio-reactor the team wants to build, the bio-actives (the active ingredient in Sceletium) will be more accessible, and will reach industrial levels of production.
Third we have an innovative approach to in situ photovoltaic monitoring. This is less complicated than it sounds, and more important than you may think. Most solar (photovoltaic) power plants are unmanned, and all experience dust accumulation on the surface of their cells. This reduces the effectiveness of the cells and reduces the amount of power generated. This invention will be installed in situ in PV power plants to monitor the performance of individual cells, and optimising their output.
Lastly, we have something this writer will be investing in as soon as it hits the shelves – the Smart Kettle. In alpha stage right now, the kettle aims to use a rapid boiling system to boil a certain amount of water faster, which saves energy and time for the user, as well as being what the inventors call ‘functional art’ – it must look good. Their ultimate aim is to create a collectable 3-piece set that will adorn kitchens and boardrooms throughout the world. And, with the well-deserved seed funding from the TIA, their chances of achieving it are significantly increased.
This year, however, there’s more in store for the worthy beneficiaries. The funding amount has been increased from R500 000 to an impressive R650 000 cap. This will further help innovators and researchers change the world and, in doing so, change their own lives. Who knows; this could be you.
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