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Mykroscope to aid students in more than 100 schools

Last year’s winning invention of Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC) will be commercialized and distributed to rural and urban schools

Kuala Lumpur, 10 July 2018 – Mykroscope, a portable and affordable microscope that was developed by a trio of teens from Sekolah Agama Menengah (SAM) Jeram during the Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge 2017 (SDYIC2017), will be distributed to more than 100 schools for free by December 2018. 

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Chief Executive Officer Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin said that YSD is proud of the winning idea which originated from a rural school in Selangor that no one had heard about, before its school students were crowned champions of the SDYIC 2017 National Championship. 

“The innovative idea for this microscope was developed out of the dire need of the students in SAM Jeram to have more microscopes for learning, as quite a number of students had to share only two microscopes during classes in the school laboratories. This indicates that rural schools are often left behind in terms of having adequate facilities that foster education development,” she said. “Recognising the need to increase access of needy schools to learning tools, YSD decided that it would further develop the winning Mykroscope prototype and distribute the Mykroscope to more than 100 schools nationwide. We hope that by doing so, these schools are empowered and able to provide an adequate learning experience for students from underprivileged backgrounds,” she added. 

She highlighted that the winning invention was developed and registered as an open source hardware last month with the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), thus being the first Malaysian invention to be registered under the association. 

Other Southeast Asian countries that have registered inventions with the OSHWA are Singapore and Thailand, with 3 and 1 hardware project(s) registered respectively. Puan Yatela said the registration of Mykroscope will encourage knowledge sharing and rapid innovation on a global scale, promote the discovery of alternative and more efficient ways of production that may potentially drive down the tool’s production costs to benefit schools in poor countries and drive students’ creativity and innovative capabilities.

Mykroscope’s original idea consisted of a wooden box, lens, as well as Arduino - an embedded system used to control both light-dependency resistors (LDR) and light-emitting diodes (LED) which function as an open button and light source for the device. 

It has been further improved using cardboard and a direct circuit to make it more accessible to students. The microscope allows individuals to have a basic view, magnify small objects such as cells and capture pictures of the magnified cells at a very low cost, utilising the camera function in a smart phone as the eye-piece.

The development of the microscope also involves a one-of-a-kind mobile application and website that serves as an interactive platform for users to upload, share and utilize information on the magnified cells. The mobile application and website will act as an interactive platform for the global community to upload, share and utilise information on scientific cells maintained on this website, thus supporting knowledge exchange. 

YSD worked closely with SDYIC event collaborator and training provider Chumbaka to scale up the portable microscope prototype by utilising RM50,000 from the approved commitment towards the SDYIC2017 programme. 

 Chumbaka’s Principal Consultant Dr Chew Yen Seng said the initiative empowers students to come up with ideas that are beneficial to the community and society-at-large. “Mykroscope is a project that proves the idea of our students can be adopted by a community,” he said. “By making it an open-source hardware, it allows students from underprivileged schools to easily access knowledge and information that could be useful for their future. With the mobile app and a social media-friendly platform, we hope Mykroscope will be the centre of community learning.” 

The prototype of Mykroscope was developed by Team Afa Arduino from SAM Jeram, Kuala Selangor. The idea beat 14 other prototypes created by teams from schools across 8 states to win the coveted top spot at the SDYIC 2017 National Championship in August last year.

Afa Arduino comprises of 18 year olds Nur Asikin Zulkefli and Nur Anis Suratiman and 17 year old Ainurania Azzahra Zulkifli. The team won a technology and innovation educational trip to Singapore where they met with industry experts from IBM, a one-day trip to Universal Studios Singapore as well as an Ultimate 2.0 robot kit. 

Under the Education pillar, YSD to date has awarded scholarships worth RM263 million to 3,738 deserving and needy students both in and outside Malaysia. This is in addition to funding amounting to more than RM27 million towards research and public advocacy on education development as well as initiatives which aim to reduce gaps in access to quality education between urban and rural societies, and improve access to basic education for the marginalised. 

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Last Updated:
16 Aug 2018
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