A young scientist from Johannesburg has scooped a grand award at the 2021 virtual Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US.
Muhammed Hassen, in Grade 11 at Greenside High School, came second in the competition and received a cash prize of $2,000 (R28,000) in the engineering mechanics category during an awards ceremony last week.
According to ScienceExpo, Hassen’s project, ThembaBot 5 – Mine Surveying Robot, designed a simple, ergonomic, cost-effective robot equipped with different sensors for use as a surveying tool in shaft mining to ensure safe conditions for workers.
The robot can move on many terrains and is capable of traditional forward, backward, left and right movements. It has lights and a camera that are better suited to underground conditions, temperature readings on the sensor with a 2 degree accuracy range and humidity readings with a 2% margin of error.
“Winning feels good, because it tells us that as South Africans have something to offer on an international platform. It is an amazing and exciting feeling to know that all of the hard work is worth it,” Hassen said.
Hassen said while he was excited about the virtual fair the participants were treated to, he was inspired by the fascinating projects by other kids.
“Meeting kids from other countries who were all doing fascinating projects was inspiring and humbling,” he said.
He is now working on ideas about 3D printing, robotics and using robotics to enhance sustainable solutions in agriculture for future projects.
Eskom general manager of risk and sustainability Andrew Etzinger said: “It is always exciting when our local learners compete in international science fairs against the best in the world. On behalf of Eskom, I would like to congratulate Muhammed on his win.”
“I have attended ISEF over the past 19 years and I am always astounded by the ingenuity and passion for science that these young learners exhibit. Even though Eskom Expo learners participated in a virtual event this year, they were still enthralled by the international experience and interaction with learners from over 70 countries and regions. Congratulations to all our learners for representing South Africa and to Hassen for bringing home yet another award from ISEF,” said Eskom Expo executive director Parthy Chetty.
Registration is now open for grades 4 to 12 in Eskom Expo’s virtual provincial science fairs.
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde