Hard work pays off for the first Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality master’s student to graduate at UWC

Mfundo Andrew Maneli is the first university’s ARVR Master’s graduate. Picture: UWC

Mfundo Andrew Maneli is the first university’s ARVR Master’s graduate. Picture: UWC

Published Sep 19, 2023


Mfundo Andrew Maneli is celebrating his master's degree in computer science, marking a landmark milestone as the first Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (ARVR) master's student to graduate from UWC.

He celebrated his MSc computer science degree, marking a significant milestone for the Department of Computer Science, the UWC Innovation Hub, and the entire campus community.

Maneli also completed the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in e-Skills Development, which equips students to understand the digital divide and develop innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide in developing countries.

Maneli further said that the institution’s Department of Computer Science has done a great job managing and overseeing the PGDip programme over the years, and this has led to several collaborative projects across various departments and faculties.

"So that's where I developed my interest and passion for ARVR and then immersive technologies. Then, I wanted to do a master’s because the course was an eye-opener for me, but I still wanted to learn more, so that’s when I embarked on my master’s degree," he said.

Maneli’s research was done under the supervision of Dr Isafiade, and it is the first of its kind in South Africa. He sought to find a low-cost solution for 3D crime scene reconstructions to assist crime investigators.

"My research utilised a low-cost LiDAR scanner, which was from the fifth Gen M1 iPad Pro, alongside augmented reality to depict relevant points of interest within the crime scene.

"Based on preliminary research, we found that traditional methods of crime scene data collection have many inaccuracies, so we wanted to bring in immersive technologies," Maneli said.

Dr Isafiade said: "The MSc research was not only completed in record time but also resulted in several publications in accredited journals and conference platforms, which is a remarkable achievement."

Maneli is also one of two UWC students who have been selected to be a part of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF). This prestigious networking conference brings together 200 carefully selected young researchers in mathematics and computer science.

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