University students grabs top spots in imaginative engineering designs

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  • Tuesday, 08 Sep 2015

Innovative creation: Swinburne students holding their prizes at the event.

KUCHING: Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak has bagged three awards at the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The innovative creations that won first place in three tracks are an automated sensor that detects heavy metal pollution, a vehicular self-navigating system and a solar hybrid powered computer unit.

The Swinburne student-designed projects won the three tracks they competed in namely Microsoft, Intel and MathWorks tracks.

There were a total of seven tracks (categories), in the engineering design competition.

Electrical and electronic students Kong Kah Hung and Ling Ting Yang were the brains behind the heavy metal detecting invention.

The two had developed and published a Windows phone app, which when paired with a sensor, helps researchers to detect and quantify lead in water as lead poisoning can cause serious health problems.

The team’s advisor and Swinburne engineering faculty electrical and electronic course coordinator Dr Chua Hong Siang said the app serves as a data logger and automatically makes the calculation to determine how much lead is present in real time.

The autonomous vehicular navigating system was designed by robotics and mechatronics students Foong Chee Hin and Daniel Sim Yeat Han.

The MathWorks winner works by tracking the car in front of it.

The team’s mentor Dr Hudyjaya Siswoyo Jo said this was achieved with the visual information acquired by a camera.

Data on the position and distance of the lead vehicle is obtained from a marker attached to the back of the lead vehicle.

From this, the trailing vehicle navigates and makes adjustments to stay on the desired distance in relation to the lead vehicle.

Mathematical computing software developer MathWorks, which sponsored the track, provided training and software package for short listed candidates as part of the competition.

Martin Wong, Ashwinsekar Chandrasekaran and Ajmal Ghanty are the Intel track winners who designed and developed a computing unit which ran on solar hybrid power technology.

Using Intel Galileo and Minnowboard, it is powered by a solar-panel and on-board batteries.

It could run a full-fledge Windows 8.1 system.

“As long as the sun shines, the solar panel will charge the unit. This is especially practical, for example, for nurses and doctors in rural clinics, emergency centres, and in remote areas or places where power outlets may be lacking,” said Swinburne robotics and mechatronics course coordinator Dr Almon Chai, who advised the students.

The multi-discipline engineering design competition is open to all final year undergraduate engineering or computer science students in Malaysia.

The goal was to promote an innovation culture and mindset among university graduates, enhance knowledge and skill set in practical engineering, encourage greater interest in engineering design and collaboration between industry universities.

The competition is supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Multimedia Development Corporation.

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