East Malaysian teams shine at Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair

MIRI: Teams from three Miri schools wowed the panel of judges with their entries to the Young Innovate competition held in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) 2015 recently.

Young Innovate is a national-level Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based design competition open to secondary schools in Malaysia. It requires participating teams to design embedded system solutions to solve real-life problems using maker open source platforms such as Arduino, 3D Printing and Python, and includes learning, problem identification and solution design before culminating in the competition.

The Miri teams were mentored by members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch and student programming club Programming Nation of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) with support from the university’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Centre and Faculty of Engineering and Science. The teams and mentors worked together for six months, identifying problems and creating solutions using C520A Arduino Kits.

SMK Merbau and SMK Pujut made history as the first teams from East Malaysia to advance to the Young Innovate 2015 finals in Penang this coming weekend. At the same time, the latter and SMK Saint Columba were awarded gold and bronze medals respectively.

The three schools were among five teams representing East Malaysia for the first time in the competition, the others being SMK Luar Bandar and SMK Lutong.

Their participation was made possible through the collaboration of the schools with SAINS on Wheels – TECHMentor Sarawak, an initiative by the Leadership & Entrepreneurship Centre, IEEE Student Branch and Programming Nation in collaboration with Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Dreamcatcher, Keysight Technologies and Yaw Teck Seng Foundation.

The five teams, together with 38 other teams from Selangor, Johor and Pahang, were judged in two separate sessions at KLESF, the first by a Young Innovate panel of judges, followed by a second round of judging by a KLESF panel.

SMK Merbau impressed the Young Innovate panel with their H-Met prototype, a smart helmet system aimed at promoting safety and the proper use of safety helmets among motorcycle users.


Sensors in SMK Merbau team’s H-Met work as an ignition kill-switch to remind the rider to buckle up.

Sensors in SMK Merbau team’s H-Met work as an ignition kill-switch to remind the rider to buckle up.


According to team members Angel Tiong, Yong Seng Zhi, and Leann Yok, statistics show that road fatalities among motorcycle users boils down to the improper use of helmets. H-Met incorporates an ignition kill-switch to ensure that both rider and pillion rider buckle up their helmets before riding. Weight sensors are implanted in the motorcycle seat to detect the riders and the engine will start only after they have donned and buckled up their helmets.

The SMK Pujut team comprising Andrew Lim, Dorothy Murai, and Nur Hazlina Mohamad, meanwhile, was awarded the gold medal by the KLESF panel for their Auto Plant Watering System.


SMK Pujut team demonstrating their Auto Plant Watering System.

SMK Pujut team demonstrating their Auto Plant Watering System.


The innovative irrigation control system is designed to reduce wastage of water, which is a common problem in traditional farming methods. Sensors are used to detect water levels in the soil, which will then trigger the watering system. Once optimum moisture levels are reached, the watering system will turn off automatically. It also features a multi-level watering system to further prevent wastage. LED lighting, which consumes little energy, is used to mimic sun exposure to provide plants with a constant light source and ultimately increase yield.

The team from SMK Saint Columba was awarded the bronze medal for its Smart Bin prototype which addresses the issue of improper waste management by using sensors and an in-built sorter. The system detects waste type by weight and transparency and automatically sorts them into different categories. Team members Andrea Wong, Nicole Siaw and Jong Soon Hui hope the system will encourage more recycling of waste, which could eventually lead to the reduction of landfills.


Students of SMK Saint Columba explaining the inner workings of their Smart Bin.

Students of SMK Saint Columba explaining the inner workings of their Smart Bin.


“As first time participants, making it to Young Innovate 2015 in Penang is a huge achievement for everyone involved in TECHMentor Sarawak,” said University Life Manager Haslina Malek. “While the students benefit by gaining new knowledge, their mentors from Curtin Sarawak gain experience in leadership.”

“It is obvious that Sarawak has plenty of young talents. Given the opportunity to explore beyond traditional curriculum, their learning can be accelerated, especially in science, maths, language and creative critical thinking,” she added.

Curtin Sarawak prides itself in being its Australian parent’s largest offshore campus committed to engaging local communities and transforming lives through various community outreach programmes, with SAINS on Wheels – TECHMentor Sarawak being one of its major successes. Launched in 2013, the programme has since reached out to more than 2,000 Sarawak youths.

Secondary and primary schools that are keen to be part of SAINS on Wheels – TECHMentor Sarawak 2016 can contact Haslina at 085-443939 or by email to [email protected] The Curtin Sarawak Leadership & Entrepreneurship Centre is also on a constant look out for project partners and sponsors and welcome any enquiries from the public.

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, its Facebook page (CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinsarawak), YouTube channel (CurtinUniSarawak), or Instagram (curtinsarawak).

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