AS Summer holidays approach and millions of South Africans prepare to embark on long journeys the issue of road safety is once again top of mind.
One young scientist who competed at this year’s Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair has come up with an ingenious solution to help prevent accidents on South Africa’s roads.
Samirah Kaka, a Grade 9 pupil from Kismet Combined School in Vryburg in the North West is concerned about the number of people who are killed on South Africa’s road every year, so she set about developing an innovative device to prevent accidents.
Her device is called ICUC or ‘’I can see what you can see’’ and is fitted to trucks so that motorists following behind them can see exactly what the truck driver sees.
Kaka placed a camera inside the vehicle on the dashboard and fitted a screen to the back of the truck. The camera captured the front view that the truck driver had and transmitted this to the screen at the back, so that motorist behind the truck could see “through” the truck. The hope is that this device will help to prevent unsafe overtaking to prevent accidents.
The ICUC does not only help prevent car accidents but it also helps drivers to see oncoming cars and animals far in the distance
“I made the ICUC to make travelling on South African roads safer and easier and to decrease accidents and fatality rates. The ICUC does not only help prevent car accidents but it also helps drivers to see oncoming cars and animals far in the distance,” Kaka says.
Kaka’s project was among 600 presented at the Eskom Expo, the country’s most prestigious science fair where every year pupils from across the country gather to compete with the hope of taking home a medal or a share of special awards valued at more than R4 million.
The competition focuses on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) and aims to cultivate a passion for the sciences with the hope of developing a pipeline of talented young scientists.
“This year we saw an impressive array of technology solutions from apps that help pupils with spelling and mathematics right through to technical innovations like Samirah’s that use everyday technology to address our most pressing problems,” says Parthy Chetty Eskom Expo Executive Director.
Participants are required to use the basic scientific method, developing a hypothesis and then testing it. Kaka tested the ICUC unit and found that it worked effectively, transmitting the view immediately to the screen at the back of the vehicle. She also tested it to ensure it was visible during the day and at night.
“The Eskom Expo is about much more than teaching these budding young scientists the fundamentals of scientific investigation. We want to cultivate a passion for the STEMI subjects, encourage pupils to see that science is a way to address some of society’s biggest challenges and we want them to consider careers in the sciences,” Chetty explains.
“Since inception in 1980 the Eskom Expo has sought to develop a pipeline of talented young scientists who will go on to be employed in the science, engineering and technology industries. We desperately need more innovators like Samirah to tackle serious issues like road safety! We hope that by sponsoring this important science fair we can support pupils to make the leap from amateur to professionals who are finding solutions and supporting government’s long-term development plans,” says Pieter Pretorius, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Eskom Expo or Young Scientists.