Two South African teenagers will be showcasing their research at the 2020 Taiwan International Science Fair after impressing judges at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF).  

18-year-old Farida Cajee from Hoërskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West and Miné Steenkamp, 16, from Hoërskool Douglas in Kimberley, were selected by a panel of academics and professionals following ISF, which was held in Gauteng in September 2019. 

According to Eskom, the teens “captivated judges with their ingenuity, depth of knowledge and mastery of inquiry methodology”.

Cajee set out to find a way to help amputees save hundreds of thousands of rand on prosthetics by controlling a “mind-controlled 3D-printed prosthetic hand” that aims to be a more affordable prosthetic alternative. 

The project entails an electroencephalograph (EEG) headset that measures brainwaves, paired with a prosthetic hand from recycled material which is able to move based on thoughts.

Steenkamp, who won Eskom’s best innovative project award at ISF, will showcase her project: “Fighting crime with malaria-fighting drug”. 

The project was inspired by a murder in her family. She aimed to investigate the use of Artemisinin combined with Luminol to retrieve evidence more efficiently from crime scenes using a smartphone as the detector, which could provide highly accurate on-scene analyses.

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists’ executive director, Parthy Chetty, said: “As we start 2020 with the Taiwan science fair, it is very admirable that we have two female learners representing South Africa who can encourage more girls to take up science-related studies and careers. We wish them well in their upcoming challenge and have faith that they will represent South Africa to the best of their ability.”

The Taiwan fair takes place from February 3 to 7 at the National Taiwan Science Education Center in Taipei.