Young innovators acquire RM60,000 in grants

Three teams clinched innovation grants worth RM60,000 at the Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC) National Camp 2020 grand finale.

Hosted by Sime Darby Foundation (YSD), this year’s event themed “Help a person, change the world” provides a unique opportunity for the teams to further refine their prototypes by working with targeted communities for one year to implement their inventions in the real world.

These prototypes aim to address community issues and challenges.

The first of three teams is Team Indahpura 1 from SMK Indahpura (1), Kulai, Johor, with their prototype called “SOP Management Device”.

The invention monitors the number of students entering restrooms via a mobile application, thereby reducing waiting time for those queueing up at the toilet, and adheres to the government’s standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent the overall risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The team won book vouchers worth RM1,000 and the foundation’s innovation grant of RM20,000 to develop and upscale their prototype to become a viable solution for schools in the community.

The second team, which also received the foundation’s innovation grant of RM20,000, was made up of students from SMK Mulong, Kota Baru, Kelantan.

They created a height detector prototype called “Smart Height Measurer’’, aimed at replacing traditional measuring equipment to provide a quick and accurate height measurement and recording.

This invention is expected to benefit teachers during National Physical Fitness Standard in schools as well as community clinics.

The third group to receive the remaining portion of the innovation grant consisted of students from SMK Tiong Hin, Sibu, Sarawak.

They impressed the judges with their innovative traffic controller safety vest for school crossing guards to better communicate clear and understandable signals, thereby reducing pedestrian accidents within school zones.

The three teams will have a year to further develop their prototypes before the implementation process.

YSD governing council member Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson said, “With this year’s theme, we aim to encourage youths to become caring citizens who are connected to their surroundings and communities.

“This year’s SDYIC participants were empowered to devise prototypes that would help solve real-life problems for the community.

“It’s been a delight to witness such talent and creativity in these students as they worked to create innovative tools that could help their communities.”

He said everyone had the ability to invent solutions that could make a difference to society, and age did not matter.

“As in previous years, Sime Darby Foundation will work with the recipients of the 2020 innovation grant to further develop their ideas into viable solutions, ” he added.

The SDYIC also recognised three other teams who merited special mentions.

The students of SMK Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, received the Favourite Innovation Award for a sound deterrent prototype for effective agricultural pest control.

While students of SMK Aminuddin Baki, Kuala Lumpur and SMK Jit Sin, Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang won the Best Presenter Awards, receiving book vouchers worth RM300.

Their respective prototypes were “Waste Me Not” which prevents food wastage by using inventory control, while students of SMK Jit Sin created a vision control device to protect children from the “computer vision syndrome.”

This year, 1,581 students in 610 teams from 406 schools nationwide participated in the SDYIC, which began as an online state-level competition nationwide.

Out of the total number of participating teams, 15 finalists were selected to compete at the national level, participating in the SDYIC 2020 National Camp which was also held virtually.

A timely and comprehensive initiative in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the National Camp further guided

the participants to polish various fundamental innovation skills and pitching methods to effectively explain and demonstrate their inventions.

The teams then presented their pitches to the final panel of judges consisting of industry experts, Sime Darby employees and innovation officers.

“Due to the pandemic and school closures, it has been difficult for schools across the country to keep up with their academic classes, in addition to not being able to carry out any co-curricular or extra-curricular activities.

“SDYIC was able to fill in a gap during these challenging times and had in fact received participation from an increased number of schools in 2020 (406) as compared to 2019 (336), ” Jeffri noted.

“This year’s competition also saw a 12% increase in the participation of rural schools, with eight out of the 15 finalist teams coming from rural areas.

“We are also pleased to see that the participation of female students has maintained at around 40%, although we do hope to see an increase in female students showcasing their innovative talents in future SDYIC national championships, ” he said.

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