If President Jacob Zuma wants more positive news reports from South Africa he should look to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its team who have made a revolutionary breakthrough in laser technology.
GREG NICOLSON speaks to Professor Andrew Forbes and PhD candidate Sandile Ngcobo to find out what a "digital laser" is and the challenges they faced as they beat international competition to transform the laser industry.
Professor Forbes and his team had been trying to revolutionise laser technology for years. They wanted to create a device that would be simpler to use. Experts can spend a year or two trying to get the right beam in a laser for a specific purpose.
Such a laser is only of use for that application. "My gut feel was it probably wouldn't work," said Forbes on Wednesday. Experts across the globe had tried to create a digital laser, which would be more efficient and effective, but had all failed.
Ngcobo, part of the CSIR's Laser Centre team, took up the project with some pointers from his boss. "They kind of gave up because this thing really doesn't work and a lot of people had actually tried to get...