KUALA LUMPUR: As a kid, Alif Imran Zabri was always scolded by his father for being a “destroyer” who often dismantled household items and had no clue on how to put the pieces back together.
His curiosity led him to create new inventions. Now a Form Five student, he was crowned the winner in the school category of the National Innovation Award (AIN) 2016.
The MRSM Taiping student’s brainchild is the “Float Over” or FO-ver, a road pole to warn motorists of floods.
“There were many cases of flash floods, especially in Kuala Lumpur, causing accidents and stalled vehicles.
“I wanted to invent something that can warn motorists and help them avoid badly flooded roads,” the 17-year-old said.
Alif Imran took two months to brainstorm before putting together a prototype.
“This is also an SPM project for my Invention subject and coincidently, the theme for the subject this year is flooding,” he said.
Flood is a problem close to Alif Imran’s heart since his encounter with one of the country’s worst floods in Kelantan in 2014.
He said his family was on a holiday to Kelantan when he saw a lot of cars stalled in Bandar Permaisuri, Terengganu, and thought something preventive could be done.
“The FO-ver has three main cylinders arranged like a Russian nesting doll. It will rise as the water level goes up, and the LED lights on top of the FO-ver will also come on to warn motorists.
“The depth of the water, in metres, will also be shown on the body of the FO-ver,” Alif Imran said.
He received RM10,000 and a trophy for his innovation from Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau during the AIN 2016 Gala Night recently.
Alif Imran said that he wished to study automotive engineering in Japan.
In the grassroots category, 44-year-old housewife Teng Yu-Mein took the accolade with her innovation, the Efinity EZ Water Filter system, a kit that requires no tap pressure or electrical pump to filter water.
It uses a bicycle air pump to pump dirty water through a filter cap to get clean water.
Teng said she had a light-bulb moment when using a water spray while ironing clothes at home.
“I was thinking about the orang asli communities that I was helping. They do not have clean water and electrical supply,” she said.
Teng took home RM20,000 and a trophy.
She had earlier taken part in the Mainstreaming Grassroots Innovations (Magris) by the Malaysian Foundation for Innovation, where the coaches helped her fine-tune her idea.
She won in the finals and received RM30,000 to come up with a prototype and to carry out testings.
“This product can help many people from the rural areas. I conducted a survey with the orang asli villages and they find the water filter really helpful,” said Teng, adding that she currently has five prototypes in Kampung Gebok in Mantin, Negri Sembilan, Kampung Batu 16 in Gombak, Selangor, and a village in Bidor, Perak.
Other AIN winners were Brig Jen Dr Roza Anon Mohamad Ramlee from the Malaysian Armed Forces Dental Services in the service category for her innovation – Portable Dental Treatment Unit Compact and Tough (CAT) – and the National Hydraulics Research Institute of Malaysia’s Prof Dr Nasehir Khan E. M. Yahaya in the product category for the Nahrim Integrated Drainage System.
They won RM50,000 each.
The AIN is an annual event by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry since 2006 to recognise local inventors who create products or services with their creativity and innovation.
Madius said Mosti would assist the winners to commercialise their innovation by advising them on copyrights and patents application.