Young Sparks of Innovation

  • Source: Article
  • Article Date: 30/9/2016

​Early this year, PETRONAS Group ICT streamlined its approach towards Corporate Social Investment & Philanthropy (CSIP) and contribution to the well-being of society. The PETRONAS framework and guidelines for CSIP was adopted within Group ICT, and all sponsorships and initiatives have since been aligned to the three (3) main pillars of Education, Community and Environment.

Among the various sponsorships that Group ICT has undertaken, the inaugural Perak Young Innovate is one that bodes well with PETRONAS ICT (PET-ICT) as it inspires passion among teenage students towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and helps develop higher order thinking skills, such as problem solving and creative thinking.

The Perak Young Innovate programme was organised by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS' (UTP) Robotics Society (PETROBOTS) and Dreamcatcher, a Malaysian-based Technical Training Provider specialising in Electrical and Electronics knowledge.

The programme is based on the Maker Ed learning philosophy that aims to turn the next generation into inventors and creators, and not mere consumers. Maker Ed creates opportunities for young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through projects that allow them to make things.

PETRONAS ICT sponsored Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sultan Yussuf's participation in Perak Young Innovate, which took place between March and September 2016. The sponsorship involved monthly mentorship from PETROBOTS members and the provision of hardware such as Arduino Kits for basic coding and electronics.

The programme culminated with a Perak state-level competition held at UTP on 20 September 2016. Forty nine (49) teams from fourteen (14) secondary schools across Perak Tengah competed for the top three spots. Students from Form 1, 2 and 4 presented their inventions in accordance to four (4) themes — Agriculture & Marine, Automotive, Manufacturing and Tourism.

The panel of judges comprised two representatives from UTP and PET-ICT. Representing PET-ICT were Business Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Corporate Business ICT Johan Affendi Johan Shah Steven and Head of ICT Strategy, Planning & Budget for Corporate Business ICT Nik Azril Nik Hassan Shuhaimi.

The school that PET-ICT sponsored submitted five (5) inventions. The invention called 'The Blind Navigator' that helps the blind 'see' was submitted by the Med Dev team, which went on to win third place at the competition.

"The blind will be glad to be able to 'see'."

"This is an enhancement of the walking stick. We wanted the blind to explore the universe without using a walking stick. In future, we see a potential for [the walking stick] to be used at medical centres and to guide the blind around the city. With this invention, we will be able to reduce the number of accidents involving the visually impaired," - Med Dev team leader Adlan Faiz Bin Azmi.

The team from SMK Iskandar Shah emerged as the champion with their invention, Light Sonar Stick while second place went to the team from SMK St. Bernadette's Convent for their invention, the Safety Snitcher.

Winners of the state-level contest won cash prizes of RM300, RM200 and RM100 respectively. These teams will move forward to compete at the national level of the Young Innovate programme in November 2016.

The national level Young Innovate Programme is sponsored by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and 1Malaysia for Youth (iM4U).