Two budding scientists from Riverlea High School in Johannesburg have earned well-deserved accolades at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) for their research project which is centred around the deployment of an automated watering system designed for water conservation.
The accomplished duo, Zané Brown and Romé Harris, secured a bronze medal for their research project at the fair. Their innovative approach involved implementing an automated watering system equipped with real-time monitoring capabilities, precisely regulating the water supply to ensure plants receive the ideal level of moisture, while simultaneously minimising water consumption. They then integrated this model into the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE), allowing for continuous soil moisture monitoring and providing timely feedback on soil dryness – thereby indicating the need for watering.
“The whole idea came when visiting the Botanical Gardens plant nursery on a random day, out of curiosity to learn about plants. That is when we were told about the problems that the plant nursery faced. We then looked at disadvantages, concerns, need for improvement, etc. That’s when the idea clicked,” they said.
At the ISF, Siemens Pty Ltd awarded R150,000 worth of mobile projectors to be shared among the best-performing previously disadvantaged schools across South Africa, along with individual certificates to the learners for winning on behalf of their school – which included the duo and their school.
Siemens: Innomotics also awarded R150,000 worth of laptops to learners from previously disadvantaged schools across South Africa – which included the duo, who represented the Eskom Expo Ekurhuleni region, where they initially showcased their research during the regional leg of the competition.
“Our teacher played an instrumental role in shaping the project’s development. His dedication and passion for science, mathematics, technology, and innovation not only inspired us, but also ignited a spark of curiosity and instilled the value of hard work. As a qualified chemical engineer, his guidance motivated us to delve into extensive reading and exploration,” they said.
“When our names were called during the awards ceremonies, we were very excited. Being recognised felt amazing, and made us feel that hard work truly does pay off. It made us feel nervous, but also capable,” they added.
Eskom Development Foundation Acting CEO, Mologadi Motshele, said: “At the Eskom Expo, young scientists were given the platform to apply their logical thinking, creativity, and innovation to address pressing problems within their communities. Eskom Development Foundation wholeheartedly provides support to these learners who are not only finding solutions but are emerging as inspirational figures among their peers. As they navigate the intricate landscape of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI), the Expo strives to ignite a lasting passion for innovation and steer them toward promising careers in these fields”.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “Eskom Expo is pleased to provide the platform for the only national event of its kind, whereby these learners start their journey at the school level and over many months, progress to higher levels of competition, culminating in the International Science Fair. They were motivated by a real-life problem of water scarcity for plants and set about coming up with a technology solution, which I’m sure, will motivate many other girls into the technology field.”
For the complete list of 2023 Eskom Expo International Science Fair winners, click the link: www.exposcience.co.za