We were invited by UNIDO to present at the 2017 UNIDO General Conference Plenary session in Vienna, and to also participate parallel UNIDO LKDF 4th Donor Conference.
Together with UNIDO, we had previously worked on a project to address chainsaw operations and use, as part of a broader training programme in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
UNIDO asked us to showcase this work during the Plenary session, as a part of a presentation on the project
In late 2014, the City of Tshwane and EON Reality (a leading US VR Company) signed an “IDC Agreement” to establish the Tshwane Interactive Digital Centre, one in a global network of other IDC’s.
Naledi3d Factory was tasked in the Agreement as the local, experienced entity to establish, and to manage the Centre.
The Centre launched in April 2016 in Hatfield and was a first for Africa. It comprised a training centre (Virtual Reality Innovation Academy – VRIA) and that enrolled 50 young interns a year and offered training in the art of VR content development and entrepreneurial skills – a eleven-month programme. Around 85% of those that completed the programme found employment within weeks of completion.
The Development Studio created new VR content to address local needs. The 500m2 showroom showcased all VR technologies available at the time – from mobile to Cube and all points inbetween.
In mid-2019, the Centre was handed over to the City of Tshwane as a working Centre and the Centre was moved to TLMA (Tshwane Leadership and Management Centre) in Pretoria West.
Asked by UNIDO to evaluate the impact of a diesel engine training App – “LKDF Interact” – used at the Volvo Selam Vocational Training College in Addis Ababa).
In the same way that both learners and educators in 2004 came out very strongly for VR in the classroom, so too with the technical students at the TVET College in Addis Ababa.
100% of the students, and lecturers wanted more content, and in a wider range of subject areas.
Once again, as in 2004, learners and students in Africa, irrespective of social backgrounds have spoken up for more VR content to support their curricula.
Building on 15 years of VR experience, and the learning insights that we had gained, we created a “funky” style for short, fun, and engaging 3D animated videos. This medium and style is also be a powerful way to get important messaging across, as it is designed to capture the audience’s interest, and keep them engaged.
The base-premise was that if you can keep an audience engaged, whatever the medium used, then the messaging is not only easily internalised, but also easily memorised – and that is after all the end goal.
By using a video format, it also means that the messaging can be distributed far and wide, using devices from phones to TV and harnessing the reach of today’s social media.
We’ve since created several stories, ranging from how a business works and the roles of shareholders, managers and workers; the role of innovation in a municipality; to explaining the SI measurement system for kids; explaining the importance of the Quality Infrastructure (QI) for SME owners across Africa; to the importance of accurate measurement (working with NMISA).
Our latest work, with UNESCO, is looking at the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of how do we safely return to work, how do address stigma, and looking at ways to get the messaging out in not only the minority languages across Africa, but also in sign language.
Registration of I3dlo’s (Interactive3d learning objects) as a learning concept, and as an international trademark, with help from SAFIPA (South African Finish Partnership SA).
The learning concept of the “learning object”. A Reusable Learning Object is the chameleon of eLearning and can be reused time and again in a variety of different eLearning activities, modules, and courses. Each has its own learning objective.
Our big breakthrough with i3dlo’s was in fact to also develop a process to localise VR content – not only to localise, but in a way that anyone can change the language, without having to use the base proprietary VR software – and only using a tool like WINZIP.
We were invited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to write a paper on our VR work in Africa – a paper that is still referenced by researchers worldwide. We are also proud of this one…
“Using VR for Human Development in Africa”. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications ( Volume: 28 , Issue: 3 , May-June 2008 Link to IEEE.org Computer Graphics digital library .
SciFest is South Africa’s biggest youth science event with tens of thousands of young people attending every year.
It was extremely rewarding to be able to have an opportunity to open so many young minds to what is possible…
Hon. Joyce Mujuru Vice-President, Zimbabwe
HE Phumzile Mlambo-Ncguka Deputy-President SA
HE Luìsa Diogo Vice-President Mozambique
As part of their visit to The Innovation Hub, we had the pleasure of hosting three Southern African Vice Presidents in our office to present our work. A big thumbs up for Southern Africa as not only were we hosting three VP’s, but three female VP’s nogal. This was yet another proud moment on our journey.
Funded by UNESCO, this empirical study looked at the reaction to VR in schools (both educators and scholars), in Ugandan and South African schools. This research study is documented in a research report that can be downloaded from UNESCO’s library.
“Evaluation of Virtual Reality In Africa, An Educational Perspective”, UNESCO, Paris, 2004. (CI-2004/WS/1)
The study drew on VR acceptability and usability surveys in schools in South Africa (Mamelodi and Soshanguve) and Uganda (Buwama, Makerere College, Nakaseke, Ndejje, Saint Henry’s schools).
For the first time, the potential for VR in African schools and colleges was tested and proven. More so, because the learners only complaint was that there needs to be much more content, and over many more subject areas.
Virtual tours allow potential customers or donors to explore a facility or location from the comfort of their own home. This can be particularly useful for organizations with limited physical locations or those that are not easily accessible.
Virtual tours can be less expensive to produce and maintain than traditional in-person tours, and do not require travel expenses for potential customers or donors.
Virtual tours can be interactive and allow users to explore a location at their own pace, potentially increasing engagement and interest.
Virtual tours can be shared on social media, the company’s website and other platforms, increasing visibility and reach.
Virtual tours can be a great way to provide accessibility for people with disabilities who might not be able to visit the location in person.
Virtual tours and digital twins allow architects, engineers, and construction professionals to visualize and communicate project designs and plans in a highly interactive and immersive way.
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Digital twins can be used for asset management and maintenance to optimize operations and reduce costs.
Virtual tours allow facilities managers to access and inspect buildings remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits and minimizing disruptions to building occupants.
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Virtual tours can communicate information about a building’s layout and features to occupants, contractors, and other stakeholders.
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Virtual tours can help to bridge the gap between online and in-person travel planning by providing potential travellers with a more realistic view of the destination, hotel or property.
Virtual tours can be a cost-effective way to showcase tourist destinations, hotels and other properties and attract more potential travellers.
Virtual tours can allow potential travellers to view destinations, hotels and other properties from any location and also help increase accessibility for travellers with mobility issues.
Virtual tours can save potential travellers time and effort by allowing them to view destinations, hotels and other properties without visiting them physically.
Virtual tours can help to increase the visibility of tourist destinations, hotels and other properties to a broader audience, as they can be easily shared online and viewed on different devices.
Virtual tours can be a marketing tool for travel agencies, hotels and other tourism-related businesses to showcase their properties and attract more customers.
Virtual tours allow travellers to make informed decisions on whether a destination, hotel or property is suitable for them before arranging a physical visit.
Virtual tours allow insurance adjusters and claims managers to assess damage to a property remotely, reducing the need for in-person inspections and minimizing disruptions to policyholders.
Virtual tours can provide a detailed and accurate record of a property’s condition, which can help insurance adjusters and claims managers make more accurate assessments of damage and determine the cost of repairs.
Virtual tours can help streamline the claims process, reducing the time and cost of inspections and allowing claims to be processed more quickly.
Virtual tours can communicate information about a property’s condition to policyholders, contractors, and other stakeholders, improving transparency and trust.
Virtual tours can help identify potential safety hazards and help insurance adjusters and claims managers plan for emergency situations.
Virtual tours can be used to document a property’s condition over time, which can help track changes and identify patterns.
Virtual tours can be used to plan and document the progress of restoration work and to ensure that the work is completed according to the insurance adjuster’s specifications.
Virtual tours allow potential tenants to see commercial spaces from all angles, giving them a better understanding of the space’s layout, features, and details.
Virtual tours can create a more engaging and interactive experience for potential tenants, allowing them to explore the space at their own pace and in greater detail.
Virtual tours can help to bridge the gap between online and in-person property viewing by providing potential tenants with a more realistic view of the space.
Virtual tours can be a cost-effective way to showcase commercial spaces and attract more potential tenants.
Virtual tours can allow potential tenants to view commercial spaces from any location and help increase accessibility for tenants with mobility issues.
Virtual tours can save potential tenants time and effort by allowing them to view commercial spaces without physically visiting them.
Virtual tours can help increase commercial spaces’ visibility to a broader audience, as they can be easily shared online and viewed on different devices.
Virtual tours can help potential tenants visualize how they will use the space and ensure it meets their needs.
Virtual tours allow potential tenants to make informed decisions on whether a space suits them before arranging a physical visit.
Virtual tours allow potential buyers to see properties from all angles, giving them a better understanding of the layout, features, and details of the property.
Virtual tours can create a more engaging and interactive experience for potential buyers, allowing them to explore the property at their own pace and in greater detail.
Virtual tours can help to bridge the gap between online and in-person property viewing by providing potential buyers with a more realistic view of the property.
Virtual tours can be a cost-effective way to showcase properties and attract more potential buyers.
Virtual tours can allow potential buyers to view properties from any location and help increase accessibility for buyers with mobility issues.
Virtual tours can save potential buyers time and effort by allowing them to view properties without physically visiting them.
Virtual tours can help increase properties’ visibility to a broader audience, as they can be easily shared online and viewed on different devices.
Virtual tours allow people unable to visit the physical location to experience the museum or heritage site from the comfort of their homes.
Virtual tours can help to preserve fragile artefacts and historic sites by reducing the need for visitors to handle or disturb them physically.
Virtual tours can provide additional information and context for visitors, enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the exhibits.
Virtual tours can create a more engaging and interactive experience for visitors, allowing them to explore the museum or heritage site at their own pace and in greater detail.
Virtual tours can be a cost-effective way to promote a museum or heritage site and attract more visitors
Virtual tours allow customers to see products from all angles, giving them a better understanding of the product’s features and details.
Improving customer experience:
Virtual tours can create a more engaging and interactive shopping experience for customers, allowing them to explore the store or product in greater detail.
Virtual tours can help to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping by providing customers with a more realistic view of the products and store.
Virtual tours can be a cost-effective way to showcase products and stores to potential customers and increase sales.
Virtual tours can allow customers to view the products from any location and help increase accessibility for customers with mobility issues.
Virtual tours can save customers time and effort by allowing them to view the store and its products without having to visit the store physically.
Together with World Links Zimbabwe and WK Kellogg Foundation, we worked with farmers in 5 districts on agricultural skills development (Mutoko, Mandedza, Rio Tinto, Rio Mubira and Rusike) – starting with beekeeping, expanding into soil conversation, plough settings, pests, sorghum – and “growing” from there…
The most important part of our work is impact; and in this project, this was our best and most rewarding project at the time.
Because of the visual nature of VR, after the 2-day workshops with local farmers, the impact was immediate (the next day) as farmers effected a change in their farming practices.
Seeing is, it seems, is truly believing.
Working with Dr Fay Chung (IICBA Director, past Minister of Education in Zimbabwe, Dr Fay Chung and a well-known champion of education and didactic principles during the Zimbabwe liberation struggle / second Chimurenga in the 1970’s).
Individual projects with Fay and IICBA focussed on addressing issues around HIV-AIDS, and on empowering educators in Ethiopia to better understand the issues around the disease, including stigma.
Follow-on projects looked at the connections between maths and science and HIV. This was a great opportunity to make STEM and HIV relevant to everyday life.
Despite having few IT resources in the classroom, educators had a better understanding of the underlying issues around HIV and the AIDS syndrome, and thus were better equipped to teach their young learners in class.
Another proud moment for us was the fact that after less than two years in operation, we were showcasing innovative VR content on three exhibition stands at the Ubuntu Village, a part of the prestigious Summit held in 2002 in Johannesburg. These were:
• City of Johannesburg – Moroka Dam rehabilitation
• ESKOM stand – sustainable energy technologies
• Hewlett Packard stand – showcasing our UNESCO basic hygiene simulation – with Virtual Nakaseke
Ubuntu Village was one of the venues established to host the 40 000 plus visitors to the Summit. Sited at Wanderers Stadium, Ubuntu Village included the erection of “Tensile 1” – the world’s biggest tent structure at the time.
Working with AngloGold Ashanti, we worked on several projects addressing safety related issuescontent – which led to saving lives. We showed many hazards, such as fall of ground, travel way vs non-travel way, mud rush, triangle of death, safe offloading of ammonia the impact of the various forms of energy on safety, for example.
It was while working on this programme that we came to understand the true value of SHOWING what can happen if you do something wrong or take shortcuts in a deep mine.
Showing someone how they could die does tend to lead to an immediate change in behaviour.
Visualising new and innovative sustainable community power generation technologies – and also larger solar, wind turbines, concentrated solar power (all now a reality in SA) as well as hydro power generation (using disused mines).
We also visualised the visual impacts of using proposed wind and solar power generation on Robben Island as a replacement for imported diesel fuel.
In our first project with UNESCO, we addressed basic hygiene in the District of Nakaseke / Luwero, in Northern Uganda.
The project ran through the local multi- purpose community centre in the village of Nakaseke, which had electricity, but no running water. The VR content was later taken by the Centre to outlying communities, where there was neither water nor electricity…. And it was well received.
This work led to a significant drop in reported dysentery rates in the district and was still being used fifteen years later by the Nakaseke Centre.
This is a project that we are still immensely proud of, but also a project that shows the power of visual and interactive communication.
Afternoon workshop – “Virtual Reality – An opportunity for education in Africa”.
Supported by UNESCO, this was the first time that we had an opportunity to put our ideas and vision forward to an audience in Africa. The response was inspirational. As the workshop finished, we were interviewed by CNN for the weekly CNN Africa in Focus slot.
We opened our doors on 1st November 2000 and the second new SME company to join the new Innovation Hub, which was at the time starting up, based at CSIR Building 43.
A time spent introducing VR to both industry and state organisations across South and Southern Africa, working through the ten CSIR Divisions. This was also a time of musing and reflection, looking at how could VR, impact on education, training and learning, and especially so in Africa. Delving into this was truly innovative at the time, with acknowledgement also being given to the inputs of Dr RS Day, then of the CSIR Meraka Institute.
Paper presented “the potential for VR in Africa, and in particular, on learning and education”.
It was at this conference that we caught the attention of UNESCO (John Rose, CI Division. Paris); and was the start of a long-term relationship with UNESCO that continues to this day.
Tshego studied IT at the Tshwane University of Technology, specialising in Multimedia, he also holds a certificate in The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing through Google Digital Skills for Africa.
He joined Naledi3d in 2015 as an intern, left in 2019 to spread his wings and to explore other opportunities out there. He came back to naledi3d in 2020 as an independent contractor.
Tshego is a very passionate coder and started having a strong passion for VR when he realised how much of an impact it can have, especially in education. He strongly believes in harnessing 4IR technologies to enrich the way our children learn.
Besides coding, Tshego spends his time reading and these days, upskilling on Udemy
Ofentse (or Dr Dire as he is affectionately known) studied Information Technology at Tshwane University of Technology, specializing in Multimedia design, Multimedia Programming and Software Development. Always the snappy dresser (with a fondness for colourful trendy shoes) he displays a creativity and attention to detail in his work that is hard to match. Ofentse is one of our star VR Developers, creating and programming content for interactive 3D simulations.
As he says: “I thought Virtual Reality was something out of Science Fiction movies until I started working at the Naledi3d Factory as an intern in 2007. Now I realize that education and training through interactive visual media is the future…”
Lesego is a VR developer with Naledi3d Factory and holds a BSc degree with her specialization being Software Engineering.
Following a post-degree 11-month course in VR development at the Tshwane Interactive Digital Centre (T-IDC) in 2016, she was employed the following year at the Centre as a VR Developer.
Following the move of the IDC to the City of Tshwane in 2019, she moved to the Naledi3d Factory.
She believes the world of 3D/VR/AR has not yet caught on in South Africa, but when it does, it will revolutionize how things are done in our country, especially in the education and TVET training spaces – and this is where her passion starts.
Henri studied software development at the Tshwane University of Technology. Before joining the Naledi3d Factory in 2008 Henri worked at the Centre for Creative Technologies in Pretoria where he created highly detailed 3D models for the platinum mining industry.
In our industry low-polygon modelling is essential to keep real-time interactive simulations as small as possible. This requires particular skills that Henri has honed over time.
However, there’s much more to our star modeller. As a bachelor Henri has become quite a dab hand at cooking and he enjoys (in no particular order) good weather, good music and being outside in nature.
Lucett Ramokgopa is the Chief Operations Officer and Business Developer for Naledi3d Factory.
Her background is in Civil Engineering as a researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as well as director in Transport Planning at the Limpopo Department of Transport and National Department of Transport of South Africa. She has also worked as an independent consultant for multiple organisations in the private sector.
Her involvement with VR / AR with Naledi3d Factory dates back to 2004, when she first recognized the potential for, and application, in technical as well as the vocational training and education fields.
Dave founded the Naledi3d Factory in 2000. He holds an MSc in Transportation Engineering and BA (Hons.) Geography and has over twenty five years’ experience in the ICT field. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, is a Senior Member of the Association of Computer Mechanics as well as the Computer Society of South Africa.
He worked at CSIR for almost 20 years. During his time as co–Director of the CSIR VR Centre from 1998 to 2000, his passion for VR grew after starting to develop his ideas on how powerful VR could be for training and education in Africa – and especially its’ potential for the development of our poorer communities – thinking that was unique world-wide at the time.
Dave describes himself as a “social entrepreneur”. He rails against the still prevalent “industrial paradigm” that still seems to dominate our economy and dreams of the day when a true “knowledge-based society” comes into its own.
However, he has never lost his sense of humour and can often be heard laughing uproariously from his office.
A time spent introducing VR to both industry and state organisations across South and Southern Africa, working through the ten CSIR Divisions.
This was also a time of musing and reflection, looking at how could VR, impact on education, training and learning, and especially so in Africa. Delving into this was truly innovative at the time, with acknowledgement also being given to the inputs of Dr RS Day, then of the CSIR Meraka Institute.
Paper presented – “Interactive Virtual Reality (IVR) methodology for community education”
Virtual Reality in practice – Safety Awareness in Mining… (Virtual Presentation)
Naledi3d / EON joint Reality presentation at Skills Show, UK: 14-16 Nov 2013.
Paper presented – “VR / AR in Education and Training – An African dream, enigma or reality?”
Paper presented “VR / AR and Metrology in Africa – Is it imagined, or a reality?”. Keynote address with NIST Director, Dr Willie E. May (US)
Vienna, Austria. 2017 UNIDO General Conference (plenary), and parallel UNIDO LKDF 4th Donor Conference.
Presentation and demonstration of chainsaw operations Apps.
Paper presented “VR / AR in Africa, is it imagined, or is it a reality?”
Paper presented – “Virtual reality, to be or not to be” May 2019
Paper presented – “Virtual Reality as a training tool” May 2019