November is recognized as National Science and Technology Month. The acronym STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is a popular buzzword in conversations about Jamaica’s prospects for development, with many convinced that these knowledge areas will be vital to the nation’s future. In observance of the special occasion of Science and Technology Month, diGJamaica wants to highlight local progress in the field of Technology. For this feature, the innovations highlighted are the Sorrel Harvesting Machine and UWI’s Cardiac Surgery Simulator, created to solve problems faced locally, but that fortunately have global applications.
Sorrel Harvesting Machine
Created by husband-and-wife team, Oral and Allison Turner, under their company, Turner Innovations Limited, the sorrel harvesting machine aims to bring a level of efficiency to the agricultural industry never experienced before. Traditionally, in the harvesting of sorrel the separation of the calyces from the seed pod (used to make the sorrel drink) is labour-intensive and tedious. To remedy this, the sorrel harvesting machine uses two motors to operate a cutting implement that strips the the sorrel from the seed pod.
The invention has been met with a warm reception, after being demonstrated at the Denbigh Agricultural Show and gaining the support of the Branson Center for Entrepreneurship, the Development Bank of Jamaica, and First Angels Jamaica. As the sorrel drink is popular not only in Jamaica and the Caribbean, but also parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the opportunity for this innovation to transcend national borders is great. Check out this video to see this Jamaican innovation at work.
The UWI Cardiac Surgery Simulator
In 2013, UWI celebrated a monumental development, as it announced that a piece of medical technology created there would go into commercial production. A true STEM invention, the UWI Cardiac Surgery Simulator developed through the collaboration of professors Dr. Paul Ramphal, Dr. Daniel Coore, and Dr. Michael Craven of the Medical, Computing and Engineering faculties respectively.
The machine articulates the heart of a pig using artificial blood, prompting the heart to behave as a human heart would during cardiac surgery. The simulator so closely mirrors surgery on a human that it connects the heart to monitors to show vital signs. This invention allows medical students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the rigours of cardiac surgery and has already been used in the training of doctors internationally.
What do you think of these two technological advances pioneered in Jamaica? Want to learn more about Jamaican innovations? Then check out our post on 5 Jamaican Inventors and Innovators You Need To Know About.