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Miri youth showcase creative talents at innovators challenge boot camp

Miri – 13 April 2017 – A two-day Young Innovators Challenge Miri Bootcamp was held recently at Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) campus to instill an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among secondary school students.

The camp, facilitated by student mentors from the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch of Curtin Malaysia, was attended by 134 students and 18 teachers from 14 secondary schools in Miri.

They had the opportunity to explore Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform that enables users to create interactive electronic objects, as well as share their project ideas for the first-ever Curtin IEEE Digital Maker Expo happening on 12 and 13 May 2017.

An annual event, the Young Innovators Challenge Miri Bootcamp is a platform for youth to explore coding and problem solving using Arduino as an embedded system. Participants work in teams of two or three to identify real-world challenges and come up with innovative solutions using their newly acquired technical and thinking skills.

The participants learned and applied the ‘design thinking’ methodology, a method that ensures the solutions address the right problems from the user’s perspective and that the solutions are relevant to the user. This logic takes a different approach from conventional thinking where solutions are often created from the innovator’s perspective.

This year’s boot camp presented various themes such as Food and Agriculture, Automotive/Mobility, Healthcare, Home and Shelter, Heavy Equipment and Machinery, and Retailing.

Senior lecturer of electrical and computer engineering and advisor of the IEEE Student Branch Dr Garenth Lim said 60 teams from 20 schools are expected to showcase their project prototypes at the Curtin IEEE Digital Maker Expo.

“Our student mentors have been trained to conduct the workshop and they are excited to work with the school teams,” said Dr Lim.

Meanwhile, Dean of Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science Ir. Professor Dr Lau Hieng Ho said he is proud of the IEEE student mentors, adding that leadership skills are best gained through the act of giving.

“What better way to learn than to teach. I look forward to seeing the projects produced by the secondary school students and I hope to see more young people taking an interest in STEM,” remarked Ir. Professor Dr Lau, who also opined that programmes like the Young Innovators Challenge are very effective when it comes to empowering youth and equipping them with important life skills. 

At the upcoming Digital Maker Expo, teams will be judged on their problem definitions, designs and solution impact. The top six teams will then pitch their projects to a panel of judges on 13 May to vie for the top 15 spots in the national finals of Young Innovators Challenge 2017 hosted by Sime Darby Foundation, the national organiser. 

The panel of judges comprise representatives from Young Innovators Challenge strategic partners iM4U, TEGAS, MDeC, PADU and Sime Darby Foundation.

The Young Innovators Challenge is a Ministry of Education approved annual competition managed by Chumbaka in collaboration with private and public universities. Schools that are interested to be part of the Young Innovators Challenge can contact Chumbaka Miri under the All Aboard Young Leaders Centre at 013-839 9857 or email

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

A participant from SMK Riam working on an Arduino kit.

One of the boot camp teams completing an assigned task

Group photo of the participants at the end of the two-day camp.