A young scientist who developed a way to test blood glucose levels without using the traditional way of pricking the finger, will compete against more than a thousand scientists in the world’s largest science fair, the 2021 Virtual Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US.

The scientist is Eskom Expo for Young Scientists’ top senior scientist for 2020, Hritik Mitha, a grade 12 learner at Bryanston High School in Johannesburg. His project, “Non-invasive blood glucose level monitoring device”, is aimed at mitigating the drawbacks of the invasive glucometer test.

He developed prototypes that proved to be practical and effective in measuring glucose levels to a clinical standard.

Andrew Etzinger, GM: risk and sustainability at Eskom, says the Eskom Expo is a platform for learners to develop solutions to every day challenges.

“Hritik’s research deals with a newer, more creative and less invasive way to test blood glucose levels, making it not just contemporary, but also very relevant and significant to the lives of people living with diabetes,” he says. “Participating in a prestigious and competitive science fair such as the Regeneron ISEF, demands quality research of the highest standards, such as the work done by Hritik, making him a good contender for this competition.”

Mitha, was awarded a partial scholarship by Wits University’s Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment for his project, was also selected to attend a virtual innovation and entrepreneurship boot camp with 18 other Eskom Expo participants, sponsored by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The Grassroots Innovation Programme aims to help learners take their project or product to market, and was held from 26 April to 1 May 2021.

Parthy Chette, executive director of Eskom Expo, says: “Eskom Expo has been participating in ISEF for over 20 years and our learners have always enjoyed the experience of competing against the best in the world. This year is no different, as the judging and competition standards have been maintained, and our learners can still come away with this feather in their cap.”

The Regeneron ISEF event will run in the week of 16 May to 21 May 2021, and learners in grades 9 to 12 will compete for nearly R73-million in awards, prizes and scholarships. Each year, more than 1 800 young scientists from around the world earn the right to compete at Regeneron ISEF by winning a top prize at a Society for Science-affiliated local, regional, state or national science fair.

Registration is open for participation in Eskom Expo’s virtual provincial science fairs. Learners in grades 4 to 12 may register and upload project documents by visiting www.exposcience.co.za.