Learner’s project blossoms

Storm Rhoda from Hout Bay during the display of his project in the Camps Bay High School foyer.
Storm Rhoda from Hout Bay during the display of his project in the Camps Bay High School foyer.

What started as a normal Grade 11 science project for a Camps Bay High School learner has turned into a multi-winning award machine.

As part of his class project, Storm Rhoda (17) from Hout Bay, spent five months (from May to September) working on developing a machine to get good marks.

However, he got more than just marks. The project has since been a subject of much discussion and has scooped numerous awards.

The project made it to the Eskom Cape Town Science Expo where it won gold and saw Storm joining a group of local learners who took part in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair.

He then received a Hatch Hendrik van der Bijl special award for the most outstanding project showing insight and understanding of current and future technologies and offering an innovative solution. This was followed by the special award from the Technology Innovation Agency – a division of the department of science and technology – for one of the best, most innovative projects. He also received R200 000 to turn the idea into a viable business.

Last week, the machine was displayed at the school foyer for public viewing. The machine has an algorithm which helps improve medical diagnosis for pneumonia-related illnesses. It speeds up the diagnosis process.

Storm says he resorted to finding a possible solution to curbing pneumonia when his initial idea for tuberculosis failed.

He says through reading and media reports he learned that pneumonia was one of the deadly conditions affecting South Africans. He says the project has paved his way and is looking forward to contributing in improving the medical status in the country.

Storm dreams of owning a software development business that will focus on developing medical applications to help doctors. He encourages other youths to always believe in themselves, and to take every project they work on seriously and to work hard towards promoting their ideas.

“I had no plans to make it a business. I did not know it would blow so big, it has been very overwhelming and I am very happy,” he says.

Storm says with the funding and the support he is getting he intends to protect his intellectual property.

He does not want the money and prospects of bright future to excite him as he says he will continue focussing on furthering his education and studying computer sciences after matric.

He thanked everyone that believed in him, especially his family.

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