St John's College

Kali Selepe (UV Hill) and Kheyan Vallabh (LV Clayton) were named the 2024 Conrad Innovators in the international Conrad Challenge, a purpose-driven innovation competition nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs who will impact the world.

Kali and Kheyan excelled with their TransMerc project, a train system incorporating advanced quantum-locking technology enabling levitation. “TransMerc, our project, is centred around developing a magnetically propelled train system that uniquely utilizes quantum locking technology. We have designed a train that levitates,” said Kheyan.

The young men credit this achievement to the invaluable guidance from College teachers Mr Sean Morrow and Dr Alistair Douglas and Wits University professors.

“Our idea gained credibility as we consulted with professors and students at the University of the Witwatersrand. We hope to continue to work on our project with them. We are also grateful for the encouragement of our teachers, mentors, and friends, who were instrumental in shaping our success and instilling in us the values of excellence and perseverance.”

They are enthusiastic about advancing their project further, as this award provides funding that opens doors and provides access to distinguished programmes at US universities, including Menlo College in Atherton, California, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and Florida Institute of Technology.

"As we reflect on this achievement, we are filled with hope and possibility. The Conrad Challenge has ignited a passion within us to continue exploring the frontiers of science and innovation, and we are eager to see where our journeys will lead," said Kali.