Bintulu Schools Awarded Shell NXplorers Sarawak's Top Winners


AN avid advocator of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Shell recently concluded its Shell Nxplorers Sarawak Challenge as part of the Shell NXplorers Malaysia initiative - an innovative educational programme to introduce young people to the complex and creative thinking needed to bring about positive change for the world and the global community.

The winners have been unveiled, with teams from Bintulu, Sarawak schools walking away as champion and first runner-up.

L to R: Curtin University Faculty of Engineering and Science dean Prof Dr Tuong-Thuy Vu, who was one of the judges with Team Synex members Adriana Maisarah Faizsal, Rayhana Razif and Rayyan Razif with Choong Yen Li, general manager of Sarawak Gas, Shell Malaysia Upstream and Miri District Education Office Planning Sector assistant director Dr Ling Mei Teng, who was another judge.L to R: Curtin University Faculty of Engineering and Science dean Prof Dr Tuong-Thuy Vu, who was one of the judges with Team Synex members Adriana Maisarah Faizsal, Rayhana Razif and Rayyan Razif with Choong Yen Li, general manager of Sarawak Gas, Shell Malaysia Upstream and Miri District Education Office Planning Sector assistant director Dr Ling Mei Teng, who was another judge.

Team Synex from SMK Kidurong comprising Rayhana Razif, Rayyan Razif and Adrianna Faizsal emerged the winner for its innovation - The T-Rec App and T-Rec Bin.

The T-Rec App was inspired by the call to improve the use of natural resources within the fashion industry and helps to manage interactions between those who want to recycle and those who can help in managing used or old clothing. It is also connected to and supported by a T-Rec Bin - essentially a vending machine-like mechanism, which rewards users who send the recycled materials directly to the receivers.

Explaining how the idea for their innovation came about, the team pointed out that textile pollution is rarely spoken about even though it is the second-largest polluter in the world. After intensive research and a survey, the idea of an app linked to a reverse vending machine came to mind.

Team Synex presenting their project, T-Rec to the panel of judges.Team Synex presenting their project, T-Rec to the panel of judges.

They converted the reverse vending machine to a textile bin, as it is convenient and useful. The app can help spread awareness of textile pollution, provide the locations of the T-REC bin and also integrate all parties that have similar aims.

While this concept already exists in Peninsular Malaysia, the T-REC Bin is special as it includes AI technology such as the app.

In the future, the team hopes to collaborate with other stakeholders to further develop this invention. Synex wants to also explore a leasing approach to bring its innovation to the market, adding that, “We will then connect with some manufacturers to help produce the T-REC bins and the app to help expand our innovation and share it with the world. It is just a step closer to a tidier and more sustainable environment.”

On their experience with the competition the team members shared, “Throughout the competition, we joined many programmes on NXthinking on how to develop an effective solution with a proper and attractive storyline. The Shell School Challenge held in our school was certainly very helpful. It helped us identify our main aim and the crisis we wanted to solve.”

Team IT Warriors secured the runner-up position with their project EZ Park. L to R: Christalyn Siaw Ern Qi, Sean Lee Jia Roung, Yiek Siew Hao.Team IT Warriors secured the runner-up position with their project EZ Park. L to R: Christalyn Siaw Ern Qi, Sean Lee Jia Roung, Yiek Siew Hao.

First runner-up - IT Warriors from SMK Bintulu comprised of Yiek Siew Hao, Sean Lee Jia Roung and Christalyn Siaw Ern Qi who presented their innovation EZ Park - an IoT-based smart parking system and app that helps drivers to find available indoor parking spaces in an easier and faster manner using real-time data from sensors connected to embedded systems (Arduino), via Bluetooth.

“The most challenging thing is getting together and coming up with a winning idea. This was not easy, as it requires us to step out of our comfort zone and brainstorm. But thanks to Shell and the programme’s NXthinking technique that introduces us to a new way of thinking, we were able to come up with this,” shared the team.

Putting ideas into the project during conceptualisation was a challenging journey. From the initial idea, the team then generated other ideas like integrating Artificial Intelligence into the prototype and making an all-in-one app for EZ Park. As a result, the innovation stage fulfilled the initial goal by 80%.

IT Warriors is grateful for the opportunity provided by the programme saying, “Shell provides various opportunities to secondary students through NXplorers to approach the complex challenges the world faces, now and ones in the future. Throughout the programme, NXplorers created a deep and lasting impact by helping young people develop their STEM habits of mind such as systems thinking, problem finding and scenario planning.”

According to Choong Yen Li, the General Manager of Sarawak Gas, Shell Malaysia Upstream, Shell NXplorers revolves around addressing the real-life NXplorers nexus - food, water and energy, saying, “In line with this theme, we are looking at innovations that address or solve a combination of at least two of these nexuses. In their project pitch, teams may include how the solution contributes towards Energy Transition and Net Zero Emission or how it relates to any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Students’ inventions must be original, authentic and should be able to demonstrate practical solutions to real-world issues. If the idea has already been introduced in the market or is commercially available, they need to show the value-added features that they have incorporated that may enhance or further improve the device. They must also be able to communicate eloquently to convince the judges of their project.”

Choong further added that Shell NXplorers is aimed at sustaining interest and growing innovation in STEM and will indirectly contribute to increasing the number of Malaysians becoming scientists, engineers, thinkers, problem-solvers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“The programme helps in creating talent that can look at things differently, identify opportunities, and build sustainable solutions to global issues. Importantly, it connects education and application, equipping students with the tools, skills and new ways of thinking to apply their learnings and make their ideas real. We’re enabling the next generation to reimagine our world, giving them the confidence to make a difference in their local communities, and globally.

Eight schools competed in Shell NXplorers Sarawak and this year’s participating schools were SMK Kidurong, SMK Riam, SMK Bintulu, SMK Pujut, SMK Baru Bintulu, SMK Lutong, SMK Singai and SMK Asyakirin.

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