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Curtin University

Curtin Croc Challenge back for second year

Miri – 16 June 2017 – Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) is organising its second ‘Curtin Croc Challenge’, a crocodile electronic warning system design competition, on 14 October 2017.

The inaugural competition last year, held in conjunction with the campus’ open day, saw teams from 14 secondary schools in Miri Division vying for cash prizes worth RM3,500. This year, the competition will again be held on its open day and cash prizes amounting to over RM5,500 will be offered in two categories – a Schools Category for students in Forms 3 to 6 and an Open Category for members of the public.

The Curtin Croc Challenge is aimed at promoting critical thinking among students and members of the public through exposure to, and the practical application of, electronics and basic programming to solve a real-life problem – crocodile sightings and attacks along Sarawak’s rivers – in an educational and fun way. 

The competition is being organised by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science with support from the university’s Office of Research and Development and the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), Miri branch.

Participants will be required to design simple electronic signalling systems that can serve as alarm or early warning systems to alert riverine communities whenever crocodiles are detected in nearby rivers. They will demonstrate their concepts and designs using Arduino electronic kits and basic programming, as well as posters and other visual aids.

Curtin Malaysia will provide the electronic kits and necessary technical advice and support, including assigning a technology mentor from the university to each team and organising a basic programming workshop at its campus to prepare participants for the competition. Those unable to attend will be tutored via instructional videos, phone consultation, emails or other means.

According to organising chairperson Dr. Wong Wei Kitt, many innovative concepts for crocodile detection systems were designed and demonstrated by the participants in last year’s competition and it was concluded that an electronic imaging system could be a very feasible method of detecting crocodiles.

“In this second edition of the competition, we are taking the challenge one step further, focusing specifically on the design of alarm systems to alert villagers as soon as an imaging system detects the presence of crocodiles,” said Dr. Wong.

He added that the competition will be an excellent opportunity for students and ‘tech whizzes’ in the public to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in electronics and basic programming.

The Schools Category is open to teams of five students and a supervising teacher from secondary schools in Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei. They can field any number of teams but the category is limited to 30 teams on a first-come-first-served basis. The Open Category, meanwhile, is limited to 10 teams of five persons each. Participation in both categories is free of charge.

Those interested to participate can contact Stevenson Tan at 019-885 6076 or by email to for relevant information and registration forms. Information is also available at Students from invited schools can enquire with their school counsellors. The deadline for registration is 31 July 2017. A short promotional video of the competition can be viewed at

As the competition will be held in conjunction with Curtin Malaysia Open Day 2017, participants and their supporters will also have the opportunity to take in the activities at the event and get a taste of the university’s dynamic campus life.

The open day, now into its eleventh year, is geared to visitors a fun, hands-on learning experience in a festival-like atmosphere. In addition to the Curtin Croc Challenge and other competitions, there will be a showcase of Curtin Malaysia’s faculties, live entertainment, food and beverage stalls, and more.

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).     

Students and public invited to participate in the Curtin Croc Challenge, Curtin Malaysia’s crocodile electronic warning system design competition.

Students demonstrating their designs to VIPs during last year’s competition.