Curtin Malaysia team in top three in IEEE R10 Competition

Miri –31 January 2024 Five Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) students going by the team name ‘Wall-ieee’ brought great pride to Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) by securing third place in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) R10 Robotics Competition recently.

They were fourth-year students Alan Tiong Ka Wei and Jack Tan Zhen Shiun, third-year students Jason Benny Wan Jutina and Yap Zhi Xuan, and first-year student Amber Kong Jianin. In addition to representing Curtin Malaysia, they also represented IEEE Malaysia and the IEEE Curtin Malaysia Student Branch in the competition.

In the two-day competition held at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, the team not only competed against, but also engaged and networked with the other participants from various countries in the region. According to Tan, the participants demonstrated their robotics projects in the competition and at the same time, shared their perspectives on robotics and exchanged ideas on the future of the field. He said many of the projects were very impressive, and the Curtin team learned a lot from the experience.

“We learned that improving hardware proficiency, selecting the right materials and microcontrollers for computing artificial intelligence (AI) code is essential to reducing project costs. Interacting with all the international participants and learning about each other’s projects motivated us to develop more projects that would contribute to creating a better world,” he added.

Kong opined that the two days of competition was an immersive journey into innovation, creativity, and technological advancement. She said getting constructive comments and feedback from the expert judges on the merits of their project really benefited the team.

“The competition was highly competitive and challenging, but I gained a wealth of experience from it,” she commented, adding that her confidence soared during the pitching sessions.

Jason Benny also expressed satisfaction in participating in the competition. He said the R10 Robotics Competition organised by IEEE Region 10 is a very prestigious international platform for young minds among IEEE Student and Graduate Student members in the Asia-Pacific region. The competition focuses on addressing challenges related to climate change and humanitarian issues, providing a stage for participants to showcase their robotic projects with global significance.

“The success of the team was testimony of its hard work and dedication, and its desire to do Malaysia, IEEE Malaysia, the IEEE Curtin Malaysia Student Branch, and Curtin Malaysia proud. It also demonstrates the quality of the engineering education we receive at Curtin Malaysia,” he said.

“Furthermore, our project’s unique concept of transforming waste management to promote a cleaner, safer environment, coupled with our robot’s safety features and other in-built technologies highlighted the significance of robotics in addressing real-world challenges,” he added.

The team’s project, also known as Wall-IEEE, is an autonomous rubbish collector designed to mitigate the issue of overflowing garbage or indiscriminate littering in public parks, which can harm ecosystems. It reduces reliance on human rubbish collectors and potential health and safety risks, such as exposure to bacteria and hazardous materials.

Incorporating safety features that prevent mishaps with park-goers or wildlife, such as automatically slowing down when people or animals are detected nearby, Wall-IEEE is designed to be both environment and people-friendly.

Yap, who is president of the IEEE Curtin Malaysia Student Branch, said that despite limited exposure to robotics in Sarawak, the team’s forward-thinking approach and creativity propelled them to success and a well-deserved third place. “Our team’s achievement is a testament to the potential of robotics in fostering sustainable solutions for a better tomorrow,” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Garenth Lim King Hann of Curtin Malaysia’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, who is advisor to the IEEE Curtin Malaysia Student Branch, said exposing students to international competitions enhances their creativity and critical-thinking skills, in addition to allowing them to apply concepts and theories they have learned to real-world applications.

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R10 Robotics Competition participants pose for group photo

The Wall-ieee team posing with Wall-IEEE, the autonomous robot that won them the third prize