Science exhibitors at the CSIR doing touch-ups to their stalls ahead of a joint South Africa Science Forum and Innovation Bridge event tomorrow. Picture: Rapula Moatshe

Pretoria - There is much excitement in the air at the CSIR ahead of the Science Forum South Africa, which starts tomorrow.

For the first time the fifth science forum will be joined with the Innovation Bridge, an event for science enthusiasts to showcase their innovation projects.

The annual event will be hosted by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology under the theme "Igniting conversations about science for innovation with impact".

More than 3 000 researchers, scientists, policy makers and students from different countries are expected to attend the event.

They will be joined by close to 50 exhibitors, who will display a variety of scientific innovations.

Exhibitors, who spoke to the Pretoria News, expressed excitement, saying we're looking forward to take part in the event. 

One of them Caro Buitendag of the University of Johannesburg said: "We are looking forward to potentially connecting with business partners and investors that are interested in taking some of the university's technologies forward and get into the market." 

She said the technology transfer office from the university will showcase science projects such as a diamond detection project, which irradiates light rock by picking up diamond left within the rock.

The university will also display how acidic water from the mines can be cleaned to make it drinkable.

Buitendag said:"There is a big problem within the gold and copper mines, where they produce a lot of acidic water from the mines and this is very bad for the environment and the people as well and the mine use a lot of water. 

"The inventor is now able to clean that water up to a stage where it is suitable for human consumption again." 

Another water-related project is aimed at assisting people in rural areas with conducting water tests.

"We have a mobile water lab, which is a lab that can get to all kinds of rural areas where it was in the past very difficult to test water. 

"People would bring water samples in a tupperware container to a lab to test the water," said Buitendag.

From North West University, Yolande Bullock said scientists will showcase a maths app project known as Whartels,which stimulates a fun way of learning maths in children.

They will also be showing a machine, which could assist people who had suffered stroke with rehabilitation.

Another project is called a parts identifier app, which could be useful for farmers.

"We have the app for parts of agricultural machines and the app will scan parts of the tractor. You can know exactly what part you need to purchase and the specific distributor for the part," Bullock said.

Although it is going to be her first time at the forum, she said her team has been doing it for the last two years.

"We are looking to get some interest from industry to licence our technologies so that we can get it into the market. That's what we are looking for to get exposure from the industry," she said.

The event will officially be opened by the department minister Dr Blade Nzimande.

 “Merging the two events will see a wider variety of stakeholders within the science, technology and innovation landscape converging under one roof, thus enriching the discourse on the role of science in improving the lives of Africa's vast populations,” Nzimande said. 

Pretoria News