THE 18th Asia-Pacific Information and Communication Technology Alliance (Apicta) Awards 2018, which ran for three months covering 15 countries, concluded at the Guangzhou Garden Hotel in China recently. Four schools in Malaysia did the country proud by bagging not only the Merit Awards for the school category but also the Winner Award.
The student category that is divided into the junior and senior segments saw four schools from Selangor and Johor clinch the Merit and much coveted Winner awards.
SMK Damansara Jaya in Petaling Jaya bagged the Winner Award in the junior category. It was the only Malaysian school to win the Winner Award with their project titled New Gen Farming.
SJKC Yuk Chai and SMK Damansara Utama from Petaling Jaya and Foon Yew High School in Johor Baru clinched the Merit Awards with their projects titled Air Project, Subnuatica and Talent Trade, respectively.
The international awards programme takes place annually to increase ICT awareness in the community. This year, Apicta received 350 entries from 270 teams from 17 different countries including Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Singapore.
Apicta is an alliance of national ICT (information and communications technology) organisations representing their respective economy to build and enhance a mutually cooperative network to promote ICT, and enhance technology innovations while encouraging the development of indigenous ICT solutions for the global market.
With the recognition of ICT as a fast growing industry to support the economy’s growth agenda, Apicta epitomises the mutual collaboration of economies coming together and working to bridge the digital divide. The non-profit, apolitical organisation provides a platform to catalyse and recognise indigenous ICT innovations. Its mission also aims to stimulate economic and workforce development, trade relations and technology collaboration in the Asia Pacific region.
Categories for the awards are: consumer, inclusions and community service, industrial, business services, public sector and government, and the student segment.
In the junior project category, SMK Damansara Jaya impressed the judges with their project that focused on farming innovations in greenhouses and vertical farming associated with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics technologies. The team comprised Lim Wei Zhe, 15, Yong Saan Cern, 13 and Teow Shun Wen, also 13.
A farm server capable of adjusting its functions to suit the type of crops, weather, watering amount and fertilisers was invented.
The team began their project in April to prepare for the national robotics competition that was organised by the Education Ministry and Sasbadi. The team emerged champion at the Selangor state level.
Wei Zhe said: “We improved the project over time and continuously upgraded the project to impress the international judges at Apicta.”
Wei Zhe said the team drew inspiration from the theme at the national robotics competition that focused on zero hunger and sustainability in order to “help out small or big farms to increase growth rate by using various sensors to gather weather information, control LED lighting, sprinklers and roof using different mother boards.”
SMK Damansara Jaya principal Ganapathy Bass was impressed by the commitment and passion shown by the team.
“The students are amazing in their knowledge and higher order thinking skills to create project programmes. They still have lots to accomplish. A bright future awaits them,” said Ganapathy.
The other Merit Award recipients in the junior category were SJKC Yuk Chai with their Air Project and Talent Trade from Foon Yew High School.
The team from SJKC Yuk Chai consisted of Yeoh Sheng Ze, Lum Mun Chak, Ng Shan-Zi, all aged 12, as well as Chloe Soh Ker Er and Jayven Lee Cheng Kiat, both aged 10. Their goal was to cultivate interest in farming among the young with their Agricultural Intelligent Robot (AIR) Project.
Parents who accompanied the children to the awards were impressed that such an avenue was available for students to showcase their interest in robotics.
Lee Siew Ling, mother to Mun Chak, said: “This event gave the children an opportunity and a platform to share their ideas with participants from other Asia Pacific countries. Indirectly, this opened a new pathway for the children to further enhance their knowledge in IT.”
In the senior project category, students Iqmilhaqeem Fakhrurazi Ismail, 16, and Lee Zhen Huey, 13, teamed up to bag the merit award for their project titled Subnautica. The two-member team from SMK Damansara Utama used PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes to build a sizable submarine.
The under water ROV (remote operated vehicle) that uses micro computer technology was designed primarily to help fishermen find and catch fish in an inshore environment more efficently by using artificial intelligence.
“It was amazing meeting people of different backgrounds and ethnicities who share a passion in robotics. It makes me proud to be in this industry at such a young age,” said Iqmilhaqeem Fakhrurazi.
Foon Yew High School was represented by Lee Ze Hao under the mentorship of Tang Wei Hong. The 14-year-old’s entry was titled Talent Trade.