Showcase of Inventions

, National 3 minutes, 36 seconds


A PROJECT that provides assistance for the visually impaired, one that makes creative use of plastic bottles, and another that uses solar energy to heat water have been named as the winners of the 2011 Crown Prince Creative, Innovative Product and Technological Advancement (Cipta) competition.

The winners were announced yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, where 15 of the 29 shortlisted projects and their inventors were welcomed onstage to receive their prizes.

Gracing the event and handing out the award was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's office. The Crown Prince also launched the Cipta showcase.

For the "Creating New Product, Process or Technology" category, the "Electronic Vision Assistance (EVA) for the visually impaired" won second place. There was no first place winner.

The team that invented EVA was made up of three lecturers from the Electrical and Electronics Department at Institut Teknologi Brunei: Syed Bilal Hassan, Hj Muhd Adi Mukmin and Saifulbahri Hj Md Jaafar.

In an interview, Syed Bilal Hassan told The Brunei Times that the device was an alert system that could sense obstacles from a certain distance and inform the user about it either through vibration or sound, Syed Bilal said.

Studies conducted by the team show that majority of the blind people were from developing countries, he said, adding that the device he and his team created was planned to be cost effective and simplified for use.

The device presented at Cipta was a prototype, and Syed Bilal said that the next step was "to actually build the final product, to get it tested and then approved and then to start distributing it to non-profit organisations and hospitals".

The team leader said that his team decided to focus on the visually impaired and the blind because they noticed from observing a family member that blind people in a house get into a lot of "humps and bumps".

"It was also difficult to tell a blind person to move, in case there was an obstacle in front of them," he said.

He also said that winning second place was a great honour because he felt that the Cipta competition was one of the greastest competitions Brunei has.

Meanwhile, Hj Zupri Hj Kamis and Hj Mohd Nazmie Hj Mohd Daud's "Gzup Bottling Systems" took the top prize for the second category, "Modifying Existing Product, Process or Technology".

Hj Zupri said that "Gzup Bottling Systems" introduces a reutilisation of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles.

"I feel happy and proud our invention can come to public," Hj Zupri said.

At the showcase, he demonstrated how the bottles could be utilised to build various structures like columns and fences by incorporating a bottle pit to connect to other bottles.

He hopes to bring his work to the International Invention, Innovation and Technology Expo (ITEX) in Kuala Lumpur.

For the "Creating New or Modifying Existing Product, Process or Technology by Young Inventors" category which is open to Year 9 to 13 students, 17-year-old Amanina @ Nurfatin Hj Bakar clinched the grand prize for her solar water heater entry.

Amanina, who received a $3,000 cash prize and a trophy for her invention, explained that the eco-friendly and energy-saving project could heat up to 3,000 ml of cool water in 20 minutes using only solar energy.

"I feel very grateful to my sir (teacher) and my friends, without them I wouldn't have won," Amanina said after receiving the award.

A panel of 12 judges were invited to the competition, including three from overseas. The judges' reviews stressed that the competition was important in encouraging individuals, companies and young inventors to promote new ideas, inventions or modifications.

None of the projects this year achieved an average of 90 per cent, which was needed to get the Crown Prince's trophy as well as a $4,000 cash prize.

In a welcoming speech, chairperson of the event and Vice Chancellor of Institute Teknologi Brunei (ITB), Dato Paduka Dr Hj Omar Hj Khalid expressed hopes that the Cipta competition would have a positive impact on efforts to support the country's Vision 2035.

The event was organised by ITB in partnership and sponsored by Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd (BLNG).

The Brunei Times