UTB students come on top at ASEAN Makerthon

Izah Azahari

Six students from Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) bagged awards at the ASEAN Makerthon 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, held for three days from December 2, at the Innovation Centre of 5G (IC5G) UTM-Ericsson at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Kuala Lumpur campus.

This year’s event is a unique competition that runs on a closed 5G network organised for the very first time by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in collaboration with ARM, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Ericsson Malaysia and UTM.

The three-day event challenged the participants to produce physical 5G prototypes within 30 hours from the start of the competition. The prototypes have to be in line with the theme ‘Impact of the 5G Revolution towards Industrial Revolution 4.0’.

The competition was open to members of ASEAN as well as ASEAN TELSOM Dialogue Partners such as China, Japan, South Korea, India, the European Union and the United States (US).

Only two finalists from ASEAN member states and one finalist from TELSOM Dialogue Partner were shortlisted. The two finalists representing Brunei were both from UTB, shortlisted by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) after a preliminary screening process.

The UTB students in a group photo. PHOTO: UTB

The first UTB team representing the Sultanate included three second year students undertaking BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Muhammad Zahin Syafiq bin Haji Md Azmi, Emily Lai Jia Shyan, and Zul Hazmi bin Ahmad Nasir.

The team won the ‘Most Social Impact Award’ with their prototype ‘Vibrant Smart Home’ which is based on using Internet of Things (IoT) to assist the elderlies to perform their daily tasks and helps to ensure safety of the users.

The system requires a number of communications that need to be placed in strategic locations to monitor the environment and control the appliances.

Various sensors are used to capture information and control the environment, automate different appliances such as lighting and heating, and monitor the safety of the users through a micro-camera. The system will learn the behaviour of the users using the data collected over the module.

The development is particularly easy to install with downloadable script, affordable, scalable, and accessible anywhere and everywhere through 5G.

According to Emily, the competition has allowed the team to gain experience and come up with an innovative solution to address the issue of the ageing population and the needs for automated caring systems using the features provided by 5G and IoT devices.

Another UTB team comprising a PhD student Muhammad Hanif bin Jumat, final year undergraduate degree students Muhammad Hafizulezwan bin Abdul Hamid and Awangku Muhammad Nur Ikram bin Pengiran Ilimi from School of Computing and Informatics under the Computing Network and Security programme bagged the ‘Best Sustainability and Business Award’ for their prototype ‘Project Z’, a 5G based smart agriculture system to achieve maximum paddy production.

Muhammad Hafizulezwan said that paddy farmers in Brunei encounter two main problems, mainly on soil acidity and pest. The team developed a prototype that detects changes in the acidity level and with two water gates installed for water entering and leaving the paddy field that will ensure adequate flow of water. The team also developed a camera system that detects birds in the paddy area. The prototype was not possible in the previous generation of mobile technology, and only possible in 5G due to its low latency and high throughput.

Prototypes created by the participants were evaluated by a panel of judges from various industries and institutions with expertise in the field of Industrial Revolution, 5G and IoT. The four main judging criteria included originality of ideas, prototypes, business model and presentation.