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Entries to Curtin Croc Challenge open until 15 August

Miri – 26 July 2017 – The deadline for entries to the Curtin Croc Challenge 2.0, Curtin University, Malaysia’s (Curtin Malaysia) second annual crocodile electronic early warning system design competition, has been extended to 15 August 2017.

The competition is being organised by 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 in conjunction with the university’s Open Day on 14 October 2017.

The extension is to allow for more entries from secondary schools and members of the public. While response from Miri has been very positive, entries are also invited from teams from elsewhere in Sarawak and in Sabah and Brunei.

According to competition coordinator Dr. Wong Wei Kitt, some 10 schools have so far registered or expressed keen interest to compete. Each school is eligible to field up to three teams of five students each. The students must be in Forms 3 to 5 and accompanied by a supervising teacher. Members of the public can also form teams of five members in the open category.  

The inaugural competition last year saw teams from 14 secondary schools in Miri Division vying for cash prizes worth RM3,500. This year, over RM5,500 in cash prizes will be offered in the schools and open categories.

Aimed at encouraging critical thinking through a real-life design case study, the competition exposes competitors to the practical application of electronics using Arduino electronic design kits and basic programming skills to help solve a real-life issue (crocodile attacks along Sarawak’s rivers) in an educational and fun way. 

The competition consists of two parts: programming and Arduino to interpret signals, which will constitute 20 percent of the total marks, and designing the warning signal (lights, beacons, etc.), constituting the remaining 80 percent of marks.   

Competitors are also encouraged to illustrate the feasibility of their designs using posters, scale models and other visual aids, though these will not be part of the judging criteria.

Curtin Malaysia will provide the electronic kits and necessary technical advice and support, including assigning technology mentors 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 through other means such as online instructional videos, consultation via phone or online chats, and emails.

Dr. Wong said the concept of the competition is really quite simple. He presents a scenario where a camera is set up to capture images of movements in rivers or at set intervals, which a computer processes to determine if it is indeed a crocodile, and then generates an analogue signal of varying voltage based on the number of times crocodiles are detected.

During the competition, such input signals will be sent to the competitors’ alarm systems and their goal would be to interpret the signals and use LEDs to indicate the number of sightings. The LEDs will represent beacons that will warn the villagers.  

Dr. Wong commented that many innovative concepts for crocodile detection systems were demonstrated at last year’s competition and it was concluded that an electronic imaging system would be a very feasible method of detecting crocodiles.

He added that the competition will be an excellent opportunity for students and ‘tech whizzes’ in the public to show off their knowledge and skills in electronics and basic programming. As there is no age restrictions for the open category, working adults, groups of friends or families may wish to compete.

Schools can field up to three teams in schools category, which is limited to 30 teams on a first-come-first-served basis. Meanwhile, the open category is limited to 10 teams. Participation in both categories is free of charge.

Those interested to compete can contact Stevenson Tan at 019-885 6076 or by email to stevenson.tan@curtin.edu.my for relevant information and registration forms. Information is also available at www.openday.curtin.edu.my/croc-challenge. Students from invited schools can enquire with their school counsellors. A short promotional video of the competition can be viewed at http://youtu.be/huaGPmFaL98.

As the competition will be held in conjunction with Curtin Malaysia Open Day 2017, participants and their supporters will have the opportunity to take in other activities on the day. The annual event is geared to give visitors a fun, hands-on learning experience in a festival-like atmosphere. In addition to the Curtin Croc Challenge, there will be a number of other competitions, a showcase of Curtin Malaysia’s faculties, entertainment, as well as food and beverage, games and retail stalls.

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

 


Curtin Croc Challenge 2.0 open to students and members of the public in Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei.