Thanks to his father — a science teacher — Armand Duvenage (18) has been conducting science experiments from the age of four. Now a grade 12 learner at Hoërskool Garsfontein in Pretoria, he loves to understand how things work and seeing how people apply and integrate theories to create new things.
When Duvenage was in grade 10, he created a wireless energy management system for his school science expo. “Being a typical lazy teenager, I thought it would be cool to create a programme and device where I can turn off my household appliances with my smartphone,” he says. “Of course the load-shedding nightmare made me look at a way in which my device could assist homes and industries to monitor and manage their electricity consumption without being physically at the source.”
Duvenage was selected to represent his school at the Northern Gauteng Expo for Young Scientists 2014, where he won a gold medal and was selected to represent the region at the Eskom International Science Fair. He was then selected to participate in the Intel ISEF 2015, in Pittsburgh in the US, the world’s largest international science fair, with over 1 700 participants from around the world. He was awarded third prize in the Embedded Systems category, which is one of the most difficult categories in the competition.
“I felt honoured to represent my country and grateful that my hard work paid off, and that I could compete against the brightest innovators in the world,” he says.
Duvenage also plays the guitar, and is part of a jazz and blues duo. He hopes to study electrical engineering next year, but his dream is to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and specialise in electronic warfare.
“At this stage I just need to complete grade and end my school career with a bang! But as soon as I can, I want to build my own guitar amplifier.” — Fatima Asmal