Students’ group develop spotable water prototype

National 3 minutes, 7 seconds


A GROUP of seven sixth form students came up with a solution to provide clean drinking water and presented its prototype during the Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) innovation day yesterday.

Speaking to _The Brunei Times _at the iCentre, the leader of the group, Muhammad ‘Alawi Muhammad Shahrin said that the group turned its focus from water conservation to generation after finding out that a majority of people from less economically developed countries (LEDCs) faced scarcity of potable water.

“Hundreds of millions of people face hardships in accessing clean drinking water. And this was why we shifted our attention to provide a solution for this problem,” he said.

The group’s solution was to develop a product that mimics a cloud. “The inventive container where the water is stored will have a black base which when heated by the sun will produce steam,” said the former Jerudong International School (JIS) student.

“The steam would then rise to hit a slanted glass panel, where it would condense and slide down into a container as water,” the 19-year-old said, adding that the water collected would be safe for drinking.

He said that it costs them around $30-$50 to develop the prototype. However, he added that the cost could drop to around $20-$30 once the product is mass produced and commercialised.

Although the Brunei Water Hackathon Competition has ended, the sixth-form graduate said that he is looking to continue working on the solution and to try and improve it further.

Muhammad ‘Alawi said that before trying to market the group’s device, he would like to create more prototypes. “As with any design, for it to be perfect it would require multiple redesigns.”

He said that the assistance provided by BEDB has helped them a lot, especially the mentorship sessions. “We would provide our concept designs to a group of experts to look through and they would then provide us with suggestions.”

The group from JIS was one of the four groups honoured by BEDB as winners of the Brunei Water Hackathon.

Stephen Chen Chung Seen, an Engineering Manager in the private sector, emerged as the winner in the public category, while a group of students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) each won as well.

The student groups from UBD and ITB each came up with a Smart Shower solution to reduce the amount of water wasted when showering.

A member of the group from ITB, Tan Keh Guan, 22, said that a normal shower head dispenses about 10 litres of water per minute, using up 100 litres for a 10-minute shower.

Tan said with their solution, users would be limited to 80 litres of water before the prototype they built will stop water flow for five minutes before it will run again.

Meanwhile, Stephen Chen developed the “water leakage flow breaker”, where water supplied to a building or premise would stop when leaks are detected in the pipe system.

Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, Dato Paduka Hj Ali Apong, in his capacity as Chairman of BEDB presented the prizes to all the four winners during BEDB’s inaugural “Innovation Day”.

In his speech, the deputy minister said that he encouraged them to pursue commercialisation of their prototypes and market their solution globally.

The deputy minister listed out three steps to become Brunei’s success story: team up with individuals with complementary skills, enhance the prototypes and technologies with commercialisation as a goal and learn from other’s success stories.

“Think beyond Brunei Hackathon as a one-off event but to strive to ensure ideas and concepts are pursued to their full potential ... so that they can fully serve their objectives to solve Brunei’s high water consumption problem.”

The Brunei Times