The 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 419 affiliate fairs in 77 countries, regions and territories, including four from Kenya.
Kenyan students Vishal Vekaria and Mansi Apte, students at Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj School (SCLPS) in Nairobi West, became the first Kenyan winners at the prestigious and competitive Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, USA.
The two 15-year-olds brought home an award in the category of Environmental Engineering, sub-category Water Resource Management after emerging third in the category.
Their project was titled Acacia xanthlophloea characterisation and preservation techniques of sapwood (plant xylem) as a low-cost membrane for arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya. The project is focused on water resource management, seeking ways to deal with the lack of safe drinking water in rural and semi-arid areas. They used locally available resources to build a water purifier that is affordable.
The project is focused on water resource management, seeking ways to deal with the lack of safe drinking water in rural and semi-arid areas. They used locally available resources to build a water purifier that is affordable.
The duo also won the First Award of $1000 from the Qatar Foundation, Research and Development and got an honorable mention from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Kenya had two projects that were showcased at ISEF by another set of students from SCLPS School. The second was by Ramya Yanamandra and Rupal Rabadiya, who presented a project that helps with the detection of Salmonella enterica DT104 and Vibrio cholera O139 using polyclonal antibodies immobilized on polyaniline non-wires.
Simply put, they designed a biosensor that detects bacteria in food. With this, the students were looking for a way to detect the bacteria that causes food borne diseases in order to reduce food borne diseases. This project was inspired after watching the news and seeing the cholera outbreak in Kenya.
Han Jie (Austin) Wang, 18, of Vancouver, Canada, took first-place and the Gordon E. Moore Award taking home US$75,000 for developing microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that more efficiently convert organic waste into electricity.
“Intel congratulates this year’s winners and hopes that their work will inspire other young innovators to apply their curiosity and ingenuity to today’s global challenges,” said Rosalind Hudnell, vice president in Human Resources, director of Corporate Affairs at Intel Corporation, and president of the Intel Foundation.
They share their experience at the global fair below: