Strong show of tech skills

Daniel Lim

The PASCI 2019 event organised by Politeknik Brunes School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at the Lumut Campus saw students showcase projects that highlighted several technologies.

Showcasing technologies, especially those meant to benefit daily lives, can be challenging, as plain explanation on power point slides and presentation can sometimes lead to boredom.

This is why initiatives such as the Project Approach in enhancing Skills, Creativity and Innovation (PASCI) held annually at the Politeknik Brunei School of Science and Engineering at the Lumut Campus since 2017 are so important, as they present a challenge for the students of the campus, and an opportunity for them to showcase their critical thinking in explaining several technologies through practical exhibition and displays.

More than 329 students from seven programmes at the campus formed groups to produce projects that showcase existing and innovative technologies that can one day be used to help improve people’s lives.

ABOVE & BELOW: Nurul Amalina binti Latip and her group; and Khaleeq bin Kamis and his group showcase their projects

Awangku Md Akmal Zuhair bin Pengiran Haji Kamarudzman explains the project made by his group
Awangku Alirahman bin Pengiran Haji Abbas describes the function of the RiverBin

Elevator safety

To go up several floors with ease might be something the modern lifestyle has taken for granted, as many have grown accustomed to taking the elevator.

The safety features of an elevator were the core of a project by a group of students from the Diploma of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the campus, led by Nurul Amalina binti Latip. The group made a replica of the system to a scale that could be easily explained.

“Since we learnt this semester about programming in electronics, we want to apply the knowledge gained into something that we always take for granted whenever we want to travel across floors in a building,” said Nurul Amalina.

She said that her group replicated the system where the elevator would stop at certain points during travel, making stops at each floor and using sensors to detect where the elevator is.

The replica of the elevator also featured an emergency stop function where, in case of an incident, can make a safe descent to the lowest level, overriding any other commands that the elevator received prior to the function used.

“We hope our project will be well received as part of our assessment, and be used as a reference for other students who wish to learn more about the systems, especially those relating to electrical programming,” she added.

Preventing concrete structure failures

While some of the exhibitions and displays of projects were based on technologies hidden in plain sight, the PASCI 2019 also showcased the application of technologies in solving issues that students focussed on in projects.

One such project was ‘The Investigation on Prevention and Repairs of Cracks in Concrete Structures in Brunei Darussalam’ by a group of students from the Diploma of Civil Engineering led by Awangku Md Akmal Zuhair bin Pengiran Haji Kamarudzman.

“One of the main objectives of the project is to investigate some of the main causes of concrete cracks, and by determining the cause, we can help formulate prevention,” he said.

In cooperating with local companies, one of the potential solutions that found was the use of fibre mesh, which enhances the concrete structure in preventing cracks from forming.

Another potential solution involves low pressure injection to help repair cracks that had formed.

The group’s project was inspired by several concrete structures that can be found across the country and finding that many have the potential to suffer from cracking in Brunei weather.

They hope to expand their investigation across the country, and also internationally to learn about the efforts to ensure the longevity of man-made structures.

Testing DIY cleaning agents

Home-grown methods of solving problems have always been associated with traditions being passed down through the generations, but to ensure their effectiveness – not just through word of mouth or as advice from family members – three students from the Diploma in Science Technology programme banded together to understand the antimicrobial effects under a scientific lens.

Khaleeq bin Kamis, a member of the group, said that having been inspired by watching videos of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) cleaning agents on social media without any scientific evidence of their effectiveness, they began their investigation which led them to their project.

“We are forced to search for evidence by not only comparing existing research done across the globe, such as checking for the various properties of the anti-microbial found in these cleaning agents, but we also conducted our own personal experiments and tests for over a year,” he continued.

With six months dedicated to planning and the other six on conducting experiments, the students discovered that several of the cleaning agents showed evidence of killing bacteria.

The effective cleaning agents are being showcased as part of their project.

“We hope that research into DIY cleaning agents will continue to highlight their effectiveness, backed by scientific evidence.

We also hope that our project will help inspire our juniors and others to use the information we gathered to further advance the research into DIY cleaning agents,” he said.

Collecting trash with RiverBin

The need to ensure the cleanliness of the environment has always seen efforts made by both government and non-government agencies, which has inspired many to conduct cleaning campaigns to achieve that mission.

Another methodology employed by the students from the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering programme, led by Awangku Alirahman bin Pengiran Haji Abbas, was a redesigned trash collector, aptly named ‘RiverBin’, made from equipment that can be easily sourced.

“This setup uses a pump that forces water through a filter installed in a barrel, which traps unwanted trash and sends the water out of the system,” he said.

He said that the inspiration of the RiverBin design came from a similarly designed SeaBin, that has been retooled for a smaller and more manageable scale for them.

With the basic design and prototype showcased at the event, the group hopes a similar system can be implemented in local areas of interest, especially in Kampong Ayer as well as in rivers.