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Africa well represented at Intel ISEF 2016 with $4 million up for grabs

Africa well represented at Intel ISEF 2016 with $4 million up for grabs

There are about 1,700 high profiled students from 75 countries from around the world in attendance at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF 2016). There are students from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tunisia attending this even happening in Phoenix Arizona, United States.

Here is a list of highly talented innovators from Africa in attendance at the ISEF 2016. Courtesy of IT News Africa.

Name: Jesudamilola Olugbemiga
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
School Represented: Calvary Arrows College
Student Showcase: Low Cost Brain Signal and Accelerometer Control System for the Physically Challenged
Study Synopses: Olugbemiga’s device uses a combination of a brain signal sensor and an accelerometer to give the physically challenged a wider range of functionality, at an affordable cost. According to Olugbemiga research the brain signal sensor costs less than a $1 USD, and the accelerometer costs about $20 USD. Olugbemiga’s research revealed that she deliberately used open source hardware and software to ultimately reduce costs further.

Name: Nada Askar & Marwa Eltaweel
Location: Cairo, Egypt
School Represented: STEM School for Girls
Student Showcase: Solar and Wind Integrated Electric System
Study Synopses: Egypt faces a lot of challenges concerning energy, according to the duo from Egypt. The aspects the team worked on during their research were limiting electricity problems and pollution. Most of these challenges, according to the team, result from depending mainly on fossil fuels in generating electricity.

The team revealed that they had found that the most efficient, applicable and available of alternative energy sources are currently wind and solar energy. Their hypothesis is that those sources can be used to generate electricity in a more efficient way if modifications were applied to solar panels, as well as wind generators, to increase their efficiency.

Name: Mohamed Suez & Hussein Suez
Location: Cairo, Egypt
School Represented: Suez Petrochemicals STEM School
Student Showcase: Anti-Toxic Robot
Study Synopses: The project is intended to decrease the amount of accidents caused by leakages caused by toxic gases from petroleum and petrochemicals containers. The team believes that these gasses can be disposed of by removing the human element… and replacing it with an anti-toxic robot.

Students: Oluwapelumi Folarin & Oluwagbemileke Lawal
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
School Represented: Doregos Private Academy
Student Showcase: The Integrated Traffic Control System
Study Synopses: According to the team the project was designed to address the shortcomings observed in traffic control, which has resulted in adverse effects on the economy in Nigeria. Furthermore, the erratic power supply and high prices of solar power in Nigeria, according to the team, affects Nigeria’s efficiency. The team had revealed that their system is powered by a locally made solar panels, making it cheaper and more efficient.

Furthermore, according to the team, with their mobile application road users can seek a route with the least amount of traffic in order to save time. Received signals from the traffic control are sent to Apps on the phones and tablets, the team revealed, which display the least traffic route and other vital information. The project, according to the team, has demonstrated that traffic control can be made smarter, and solar power cheaper.

Name: Paul Stansell
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
School Represented: Sacred Heart College
Student Showcase: Electric Space Propulsion – An Exploration into Innovative Propellant Solutions Involving the Testing of an Electromagnetic Drive
Study Synopses: Since its birth, spaceflight has always been hindered by propellant constraints. Unfeasible amounts of fuel are required to cover the vast distances between stars and so modern spaceflight is confined to the solar system. A revolutionary electric propulsion system, according to Stansell, composed of a hollow asymmetric resonant cavity excited by microwaves, known as the EMDrive has been shown to produce a unidirectional acceleration although results have been inconclusive. This warrants further research.

According to Stansell a non-resonant EMDrive was constructed to act as a control, this design was then extended to create a new cavity which allowed for resonance at a frequency of 2450 MHz. The designs were tested in both the upright and inverted orientations to allow for EMDrive force separation from buoyant forces. The designs were tested on a millinewton resolution knife-edge fulcrum which was calibrated to accurately determine thrust magnitude.

Stansell revealed that due to thermal currents caused by the heating of the magnetron and cavity, each test experienced net upwards motion. However the resonant upright cavity moved upwards considerably more than the non-resonant control suggesting another force was at work pushing the cavity upwards. Additionally the resonant inverted test moved upwards considerably less than the control again indicating another force was counteracting the net upwards motion. This force varied in magnitude from 8.8825 millinewtons 11.8436 millinewtons.

In conclusion, according to Stansell, despite thermal current interference a replicable, anomalous thrust was produced. As the observed thrust is not yet attributable to any known physical phenomenon more research in vacuum is required.

Name: Angus Thring
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
School Represented: Diocesan College
Student Showcase: Superconductors and Magnetism
Study Synopses: In this investigation, the properties and effects of the magnetic forces, according to Thring, namely flux expulsion, the Meissner effect, and flux pinning, associated with superconductivity are explored and quantified by means of a low-cost apparatus constructed from ordinary DIY supplies.

According to Thring, in one of physics’ most intriguing phenomena, a permanent magnet can be suspended in a stable levitation above a high-temperature superconductor (HTSC). The magnetic forces involved are here measured quantitatively, several experiments being conducted exploring the relationship between the distance between the magnet and the HTSC and the force exerted.

Additional experiments, according to Thring, to investigate the result of introducing an external, variable magnetic field to the magnet/HTSC system by means of a solenoid are performed. Results were nowhere in conflict with expectations derived from existing theory. A hypothesis is developed to explain the apparently puzzling results of the extended experiment involving the solenoid, but this awaits additional testing when it comes to the study.

Name: Kerolos Hanna
Location: Cairo, Egypt
School Represented: STEM High School for Boys
Student Showcase: Modified Peroveskite Solar Cell
Study Synopses: Egypt faces a lot of issues that gravely influence its economy, industry, agriculture and the environment in general. For us, Hanna explains, the most significant one is the energy crises; however, using alternative energies is one of the most significant solutions to that problem.

There is a lack of energy supplies in Egypt, because of the continuous increasing of population and limited amount of energy. The finite quantity of energy does not satisfy people’s needs. Thus, Egypt and some other countries in the world tend to use alternative energies. They are known to be clean, permanent and safe energies such as solar, wind and geothermal. We work on solar energy, the solar cells in particular. They are modern inventions with some disadvantages such as the high cost and the low efficiency.

Our project, explains Hanna works on decreasing the cost of the solar cell, making it more efficient and more eco-friendly as determined in our design requirements. By using new type of solar cells called Organolead halide perovskite which fabricated by recycling old car batteries, our design requirements have been achieved successfully.

Name: Nomthuthuzeli Fuleni
Location: South Africa
School Represented: Tiger Kloof
Student Showcase: A Study of the Nocturnal Behaviour of the Greater Kudu
Study Synopses: According to Fuleni, the purpose of this project was to observe behavior of kudu in its natural habitat. Essentially the study was conducted to reduce car as well as prevent accidents involving Kudu that wandered into the road.

Name: Mansi Apte & Vishal Verkaria
Location: Kenya
School Represented: Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj School
Student Showcase: Acacia xanthophloea Characterization and Preservation Techniques of Sapwood (Plant Xylem) as a Low Cost Membrane Filtration Device for Arid and Semi-Arid Areas in Kenya
Study Synopses: This project, according to the team, explores the water purification properties of the sapwood of Acacia Xanthophloea to provide safe and clean water to arid and semi arid areas in Kenya that is cheaper and easily accessible. Samples of the species were collected and stored in buckets of water so as to maintain the freshness of their xylem.

Several tests were then carried out on the branches of the species after building a basic xylem filter, using the sapwood of the species, some plastic tubing and hose clamps. Firstly, a test was carried out to test the best direction of the flow and the rejection rate of water so as to obtain the best results of purification.

Secondly, the rejection rate was measured using different lengths of sapwood so as to determine the best length of the sapwood for purification and the effect that it had on the rejection rate of the sapwood.

Thirdly, because we want to implement this method of purification in arid and semi arid areas where people would collect water from a river or lake, it was important for us to test a sample of water from a naturally contaminated source so as to determine whether the sapwood would be useful to purify water from such sources. In addition to that a test was carried out to observe for how long a piece of sapwood can purify impure water until it loses its permeability. Lastly an experiment was carried out to determine how the sapwood can be preserved for longer so as to increase its productivity as a water purifier.

In conclusion, we realized that the sapwood from Acacia Xanthophloea can be a cheaper way of purifying water in a way that it is perfectly suitable to be used in semi arid and arid areas for the benefit of the people considering its availability in those areas.

Name: Ziad Ben Hadj Salem
Location: Tunisia
School Represented: Pioneer High School
Student Showcase: Self-Watering System (SW)
Study Synopses: Self-Watering is a system that automatically waters a plant depending on the humidity level in the surrounding soil. SW, according to Salem, is basically composed of both an electronic and a Mechanical part. After linking it with a source of water, SW operates independently by maintaining a certain and precise humidity level pre-set by the user and adjusted to the plant’s needs.

Salem adds that SW does not need a considerable amount of electric power, and can possibly operate with solar energy. SW is equipped with an electric circuit that functions as a humidity capter by translating humidity into electric resistance using a combination of measures prepared beforehand.

An electronic circuit orders the system to shift between ON and OFF status. SW’s core purpose is to effectively reduce water consumption using a system that is both cheap and holistically handmade from simple and easily obtained materials.

The final Intel ISEF 2016 winners will be announced, by Intel, during the course of the week. Watch this link for updates

This article first appeared in IT News Africa.

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