CYBERJAYA – Four final year electrical engineering students from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Malacca (UTeM) won the Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program (WCS Malaysia) design challenge.
Innovate Malaysia Design Competition is an engineering design competition open to all final year undergraduate engineering, computer science and science or mathematics students in Malaysia. The competition, held to promote innovative culture in engineering design work and tackle real-world problems with practical engineering solutions, sets the stage for participants to showcase their talent for product development, further research, and commercialization.
As one of the nine design challengers, WCS Malaysia’s design challenge requires participants to take up one of three categories – monitoring the forest, protecting the protectors or reducing conflict. All three categories require the students to come up with solutions to protecting the Malaysian forest landscape and its wildlife.
Sivnes Dasdevan, Wong Cheng Ing and Gan Yee Wei of the winning team chose to come up with a design to reduce human-wildlife conflict. Despite their love for animals, the team were only made aware of the existence of human-elephant conflicts upon joining the WCS Malaysia design challenge. The team, under the supervision of Dr Saifulza and Mr Ma Tien Chong, then applied their electrical engineering knowledge to provide alternative solutions to existing problems. This resulted in their winning project, “Smart Monitoring and Control of Human-Elephant Conflict System”, which uses clean-energy source apart from utilizing creative engineering designs.
The system consists of three parts, with the first being a solar tracking system which follows the sun’s movement to ensure optimal use of clean energy. The image processing system utilizes an artificial intelligence neural network, also known as the ‘brain’ of the project, which has been programmed to recognize elephants. The third part of the entire project is the use of a communication system which uses a media access control layer protocol, LoRaWAN, to alert villagers of elephant presence in the monitored area while also playing sounds of bees and tigers meant to scare off elephants. Development of the system aims at increasing safety of villagers who have been affected by human-elephant conflicts.
“This challenge is a great start to building relationships between wildlife conservation and engineering,” remarked Dr Saifulza.
“WCS Malaysia is always on the lookout for bright minds to help in coming up with solutions to conservation challenges,” said Director of WCS Malaysia Program, Dr Melvin Gumal. “Engaging the youth and getting them involved is a step towards a brighter future for our country’s wildlife.”
Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kahang, Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to preserve four priority species – orang-utans, sharks and rays, elephants and tigers. Go to https://programs.wcs.org/malaysia/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.