Makerthon thermometer team demonstrating how to turn an image into bitmap into code via the Arduino IDE, and into pixels on the OLED display

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa has received tools and materials to build and test winning innovations from the COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge. The initiative is a joint innovation challenge launched in mid-April by UNDP Global and As an extension to South Africa UNDP partnered with Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct to challenge innovators to make selected innovations. “By working with global tech partners and local innovation spaces in this effort, UNDP is hopeful that this challenge can help speed up response and recovery efforts, getting countries and communities a bit closer to the new normal” said Mr Gabriel Dava, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP emphasing the importance of innovation,and youth and women's involvement in responding to COVID-19.

The innovation challenge provides innovators, makers, and developers with an opportunity to identify open-source, low-tech, and inexpensive hardware solutions to respond to COVID-19. Many of these innovations cost less than R500 to build, and some as low as R20. Most can be built from easily sourced components, with instructions available and are expected to include touchless soap and sanitiser dispensers, oxygen-level detectors and contactless thermometers. The Makerthon will also give the builders the flexibility to adapt the innovations. “This is about  creating local solutions that work and exploring how to support international innovations that work” said Ms Lesley Williams, CEO of Tshimologong.

The week-long Makerthon,which took place at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct was launched on Saturday, 12 September and ends on Sunday, 20 September 2020 when the complete assembled devices will be presented.

For media queries, please contact:

UNDP, Rhulani Lehloka: 0663071827/

Tshimologong, Kendal Makgamathe: 0767526111/

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct is a 100 percent Wits University-owned Digital Hub based in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein, where the incubation of start-ups, the commercialization of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth takes place.


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