Students awarded for their science projects

October 15th, 2019, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

At the recently held International Science Fair in Boksburg, 23 students from around the country were awarded Hendrik van der Bijl Awards for their ingenuity and innovation in science projects entered in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.

The expo has been presented for over three decades and has established itself as the premier exposition for South African youth to demonstrate their innovation in the fields of science and technology. The “Hendrik van der Bijl Awards” had their origins in 2001 when the “Faraday Awards”, originally sponsored by the London-based Institution of Engineering and Technology, were introduced. The Hendrik van de Bijl Awards are an easy way for sponsors, either individual or corporate, to become involved and invest in learners who, at a young age, have shown an interest in the world of science. The Hendrik van der Bijl Awards programme was initiated by Dr Stafford Smithies, consultant, VSA and Chris Yelland, MD of EE Publishers after the Faraday Awards programme was discontinued. The award was renamed to the “Hendrik van der Bijl Award” in recognition of van der Bijl’s contribution to science and engineering in South Africa and internationally.

This year, eleven companies contributed R134 000 to the awards programme of which 88% was dedicated for awards and the balance for administration of the programme and the preparation of framed certificates. Winners are presented with certificates and receive R7000 (one of the awards was R6500) paid into their savings account.

The following companies sponsored awards this year: three awards: Copper Development Association Africa, Fluor and RS components; two awards: Actom, Hatch, and Teraco Data Environments; one award each: Saab Grintek Defence, Explolabs, EE Publishers, Detnet and Haber Consulting from the USA.

Storm Rhoda with Hatch’s Kimaya Naidu.

The judges are drawn from the sponsors who dedicate experienced staff members for a full day to adjudicate and interact with the students. “There were some amazing entries which made adjudication a difficult task”, said awards programme administrator, Hans van de Groenendaal. “Outstanding examples are the projects ‘leveraging machine learning to improve medical diagnoses’ by Storm Rhoda, a grade 11 learner at the Camps Bay High School; and ‘automated documentation‘ by Norman Mashiri, a grade 12 learner at the Dr Joseph Shabalala Secondary School  in Lady Smith”.

Norman Mashiri, grade 12 learner at the Dr Shabalala Secondary School in Ladysmith (KZN) with Roscoe Abrahams of Teraco Data environments.

Storm explored the theory of machine learning in the medical field to assist both doctors and patients with a diagnosis. The purpose of the project is to prove that machine learning can identify and distinguish the difference between a pair of infected pneumonia lungs and a pair of lungs that are not infected, in a fast and efficient manner. He found that the model was successful and scored an average accuracy of between 90 and 95%. The accuracy can be further improved by adding more images into its drive and running more training.

Norman’s project explored how to help people that are computer illiterate and visually impaired seamlessly access their documentation. The specific aim of the project was to design and program a mobile application that would simplify the task of writing a CV or a friendly letter. Norman had to master Java and C++. It was decided that the mobile application would be developed on the Android Platform because there are more users. The user interface of the mobile application was designed in such a way that it is not difficult to look at, this makes it easier for the visually impaired to use the mobile application. It took an estimation of 45 minutes to compile a curriculum vitae using a text editor and only six minutes to compile a curriculum vitae with the same data using the mobile application.

The full list of winners is:

Zoe Hugo Springfield Convent Senior School

Influence of wind distance, speed, direction

and load on the wind output power

Lenox Baloyi Hluvuka High School Solar desalination
Perpetua  Thaba Marobathota High School Wireless power transfer
Daniel Alderton Fish Hoek High School Recycled low-cost hearing aid
Amahle Zuma . Empangeni High School Making waterproof soil and plastic bricks
Onkabetse Olifant and Sammy Phake ZM Seatlholo Secondary Leaking tap alert and water conservation system
Tabo Maliea Setjhaba – Se – Maketse C/S Sun prints in the sky
Trevor Simelane and Joseph Mddluli Mandlesive Comprehensive School Fire rescue robot
Noxolo Tshayinca Tiger Kloof Combined The solar-powered windmill
Rachel  Mahlasela Mahhushe Agricultural  School Harnessing energy from space
Storm Rhoda Campsbay High School Leveraging machine learning to improve medical diagnosis
Kaylin Naidoo Star  College Boys High Durban Voice controlled wheelchair
Anya Dodd Laer Skool Calvinia Metal detecting cane for visually impaired
Farida Cajee Schweizer Reneke Hoërskool Mind controlled 3D printed limbs using PET bottles
Norman Mashiri Dr Joseph Shabalala Secondary School Automated documentation
Alexander White and Joel Hunt Rondebosch Boys High School Tumikia delivery app
Andre Tourien and Zuhayr Halday Rondebosch Boys High School School uniforms – a silent killer?
Bongeka Biyase Sizisizwe Secondary School The sedentary effect of mining industries
Yiming Zhao American International School Attendansee – An attendance system


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