Saturday, March 23

Miri students in the Young Innovate 2015 competition

The five teams representing East Malaysia in the KLESF 2015.

The five teams representing East Malaysia in the KLESF 2015.

MIRI: Students from five secondary schools in Miri are representing East Malaysia in the Young Innovate 2015 preliminary round being held in conjunction with the two-day Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) 2015, which starts today.

It is the first time teams from East Malaysia participate in the event, competing against 38 other teams for the chance to progress to the national-level competition.

Young Innovate is a national-level Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based design competition open to secondary schools in Malaysia. Its primary objective is to re-ignite students’ passion in STEM and inspire them on a path of life-long learning.

The Miri teams from SMK Lutong, SMK Merbau, SMK Luar Bandar, SMK Pujut, and SMK Saint Columba were selected through their participation in the Sains on Wheels – Techmentor programme in Sarawak.

Sains on Wheels – Techmentor, also known as Science in Action Inspiring the Next Scientist – Techmentor Sarawak was launched in 2013 by Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC), in collaboration with the Leadership & Entrepreneurship Centre of Curtin University Sarawak and its partners namely Dreamcatcher, Keysight Technologies and Yaw Teck Seng Foundation.

Now, two years later, the programme has reached out to more than 2,000 Sarawak youths.

Young Innovate requires participating teams to design embedded system solutions to solve real-life problems. It is based on maker open source platforms such as Arduino, 3D Printing and Python and includes learning, problem identification and solution design before culminating in the competition. University undergraduates serve as mentors throughout the programme.

The Miri teams and their mentors from Curtin Sarawak have been working together for six months identifying problems and creating solutions using C520A Arduino Kits. Their mentors are members of two student-run clubs at the university – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Curtin Sarawak Student Branch and Programming Nation.

During that period, the mainly Form 1, Form 2, and Form 4 students acquired skills in coding, 3D design, multimedia production, and project management. They were also trained in using embedded systems in their designs and participated in practical activities promoting teamwork, entrepreneurship and innovation.

“It is delightful to see our efforts come to fruition with the innovative solutions the teams have demonstrated.

“Both students and mentors alike have benefited greatly from Sains on Wheels – Techmentor Sarawak. In fact, we are encouraging more schools even primary schools, to participate in next year’s programme,” said Curtin Sarawak’s university life manager Haslina Abdul Malek.

During the preliminary round at KLESF 2015, a total of 43 teams from Selangor, Johor, Pahang and Sarawak will be given 10 minutes to pitch their ideas and conduct a demonstration of how their inventions work.

The teams will then go through a five-minute question and answer session with the judges. The judges will consist of a mix of industry engineers and non-engineering professionals.

The 10 best teams will join another 20 selected teams from Penang and Kedah to compete in the finals of Young Innovate in Penang.

The Young Innovate competition has seen great growth in participation since its inception in 2013. The pilot project kicked off with participation from only two schools and four projects. Today, the competition has seen participation from 60 schools from six states in Malaysia and a total of 175 projects.

The winning team will be selected based on a number of criteria, namely problem definition, design and solution impact. Problem definition will be attributed to the identification, in terms of the effort put into making ground visits to identify and understand the problem and the depth of which the problem was analysed and researched.

The teams’ prototypes will then be judged based on the usability, simplicity of design, and robustness of solution. Should the prototype be an innovation of a present day solution, it should be better and meets new requirements and/or unarticulated needs.

Finally, on the impact of the solution, judges will be giving marks based on the effectiveness as well as the ease of implementation.

In addition to a trophy and medals, the winning team will receive RM2,000 cash, RM500 worth of components for their school and a trip to Shenzhen Maker Faire 2016, the largest show-and-tell event in Asia.

Secondary and primary schools keen to be part of Sains on Wheels – Techmentor Sarawak 2016 can contact Haslina at 085-443939 or email [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.