Design Making Everyday Living Easy, this year’s University of Botswana Design Degree Show theme, could not have been coined at the right time following the launch of the new University strategic plan which seeks to, among others, make societal impact one of its key value propositions.
It was against this backdrop that the annual Design Degree Show organised by the Department of Industrial Design and Technology in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology on May 25, 2021 for completing students sought to showcase product innovations and designs geared towards solving societal problems.
The theme for the show was aptly captured by Ms Masango Gugulathu whose innovation, comprising an assistive device for a person with disabilities, emerged the overall winning product. Simply named Convino-Aid, the device resonated well with all the elements of the judging criteria being social impact, business or commercial capacity, usability or functionality of the product as well as sustainability (socio economic and ecological).
The Convino-Aid comprises two units, a back rest with a keyboard stand and laptop stand with a book holder, allowing the person it was designed for to type with her feet comfortably. The device allows the client, who doesn’t have upper limbs, to keep an ergonomically up-right posture while doing her work. The main function is to reduce the risk of lower back pain or discomfort.
Displaying practicality and convenience was another product, the Converto-Deck by Ms Carol Athanasius, who won second place. The Converto-Dec is a multifunctional device that helps those living in confined spaces to use it as an ironing board, dressing table and storage.
Another innovation was Mr Alan Dintsi’s poultry plucking station which came third place for its usability, commercial capacity and functionality. The device consists of a scalding bath and defeathering unit and it is handy for small scale farmers. Another plus for the unit is its mobility and it is environmentally friendly besides using less water.
Meanwhile, the guest speaker, Mr Mogomotsi Ollyn, Operations Director at ICL Botswana, spoke about the practicality of industrial design, saying it was through such practicality that society achieved efficiency in daily life. Mr Ollyn said by virtue of research being part and parcel of the industrial design discipline, people got a unique opportunity to realise their ingenuity hence translated it into convenience.
The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Professor Edward Dintwa, gave a vote of thanks and advised the completing students to use their problem-solving skills for the benefit of society. Professor Dintwa further encouraged them to constantly upgrade their skills and build on the foundation they received while at the University of Botswana to achieve more.