Curtin Malaysia students through to grand finale of Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2017

Miri – 13 July 2017 – Inspired by the success of their seniors in the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2016, two teams of students from Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) are set to compete in the Keysight and Fusionex tracks in this year’s competition grand finale to be held in Cyberjaya on 17 and 18 July 2017.

Last year, a Curtin Malaysia team comprising Jason Ha Heng Teck, David Ha Heng Lee and Jonathan Phang Then Sien won first prize in the ViTrox Track at the grand finale held in Penang.

This year’s teams comprise Kong Sheng How, Bong Chu Jun and Desmond Ting Zhong Xuan competing in the Keysight Track, and Chiam Dar Hung, Ng Kay Li and Li Zhen Er competing in the Fusionex Track. All are electrical and electronic engineering students and are being supported by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Science.

The teams are being supervised by electrical and computer engineering lecturer Dr. Law Kah Haw and senior lecturer Dr. Garenth Lim King Hann respectively.

The former team will showcase their project entitled ‘Development of XLPE Cable Diagnosis Platform’ while the latter will field their ‘Wireless Modular Sensory System for Smart Home Applications (Wi-MSS)’ project.

The Innovate Malaysia Design Competition is the largest and most prestigious undergraduate engineering design competition in Malaysia, open to all final-year undergraduate engineering, computer science and science/mathematics students. The goal of the competition is to promote an innovative culture in engineering design work, tackle real-world problems with practical engineering solutions, and churn out bright talents for product development, research and commercialisation.

Technology companies, including Fusionex, Intel, Keysight, MathWorks, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, National Instruments, SilTerra and ViTrox, work together co-organise the competition with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education, TalentCorp Malaysia, Dream Catcher, MDeC and others.

The ‘Development of XLPE Cable Diagnosis Platform’ project involves the development of a low-cost, lightweight and space-saving method to detect a pre-fault phenomenon within underground XLPE cables known as Partial Discharge (PD), which manifests itself as an early symptom of cable breakdown, instrument failure or eventual power outage. PD is often a major root cause of power outages and conventional methods of detection usually involve using very costly and bulky devices.

According to the project team, such challenges prompted them to innovate an alternative high-voltage alternating current testing method to help ensure the reliability and prolong the lifespan of underground cables. They said the method can be further enhanced to determine PD fault locations and the ability to detect and localise PD faults would be advantageous to cable manufacturers and power transmission and distribution companies, as well as end-users of electric power.

Meanwhile, the ‘Wireless Modular Sensory System for Smart Home Applications (Wi-MSS)’ project aims to enable users to easily upgrade normal homes into smart homes using a user-friendly ‘smart plug’ that will allow them to remotely monitor and control plugged-in electrical appliances.

The device is also capable of analysing an appliance’s electoral consumption and efficiency, as well as sense ambient conditions such as light and temperature levels in the home. If needed, it can be customised according to user needs by plugging in and configuring various types of sensors.

The team said the inspiration for Wi-MSS came from common student grouses about unfair distribution of electricity charges in shared housing or the negligence of housemates in leaving electrical appliances on when not in use.

Reaching the grand finale of the competition means both teams are currently ranked in the top five of competing teams in their respective competition tracks.

According to electrical and computer engineering senior lecturer Dr. Hendra Gunawan Harno, the students have been sufficiently trained and exposed to industrial technologies in preparation for the competition. He said that through the experience, they have also gained crucial research skills, hands-on technical skills and scientific communication skills.

He added that with the excellent track record of Curtin Malaysia students in the prestigious competition, more students of the university will be encouraged to join next year’s competition.

Students have much to gain significantly from participation, including being supplied state-of-the-art industry technology platforms for their final-year projects, the opportunity to attend quick-start training to learn on the technology platforms, and receiving project mentorship from industry experts. At the same time, they get to tackle real-world problems by taking up various design challenges and gain priority access to high-value jobs in the organising technology companies and design challenge companies. It can also be a ticket to a startup programme if they opt for the startup path.

All this is in addition to the opportunity to showcase their talents and the chance to win multiple attractive prizes. Judges will be experts from Fusionex, Intel, Keysight, MathWorks/TechSource, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, National Instruments, SilTerra/CEDEC and ViTrox for each track of the competition, and projects will be judged on their innovation, specification or validation plan, practicality, complexity, and working design.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).

Bong Chu Jun, Desmond Ting Zhong Xuan and Kong Sheng How conducting lab tests in preparation for the competition.

Li Zhen Er, Ng Kay Li and Chiam Dar Hung posing with their Wi-MSS smart plug device.

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