Prize for robotic buoy to monitor water pollution

(From left) Yong, Kong and Ling are all smiles after winning fourth place in an international engineering competition.

KUCHING: A proposal for a crowdsourced, low-cost, GPS-equipped robotic buoy that can monitor water pollution has won fourth place in the IBM Students for a Smarter Planet/IEEE Smarter Planet Challenge: Student Projects Changing the World competition.

Project Lily was submitted by Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus engineering students Ivan Ling Ting Yang, Kong Kah Hung and Doreen Yong Poh Ling.

They received prize money of US$2,000 (RM7,100) for finishing fourth in the competition, which had 60 submissions from 21 countries.

“We were inspired by crowdfunding websites where start-up businesses gathered financial resources from public donations. We decided to crowdsource data on water quality based on this idea.

“This way, real-time data can be collected and awareness about pollution can be created simultaneously,” project leader Ling said.

Powered by an on-board battery and solar panel, the robotic buoy uses recycled plastic bottles put together to resemble a water lily as its flotation device. It is fitted with environmental sensors and a GPS to collect data.

“A network of secondary school students will be set up for crowdsourcing,” said Ling, adding that they would be provided with the schematics to build the simple device.

“The data obtained will be processed and stored in cloud servers and released to the public through the Project Lily website so that they too can contribute positively to the environment by doing something about it.”

The team plans to start the project in Kuching before expanding it elsewhere.

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Science & Technology , East Malaysia , ling


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