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Conversations with: young innovators challenge participants

The Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) is a youth innovation programme designed to help youths in Malaysia develop technical and life skills in the areas of embedded system, problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship through workshops, competitions, and an accelerator camp. This year, Yayasan Sime Darby has teamed up with social innovation consultant, Chumbaka and social innovation firm, Tandemic in bringing the Young Innovators Challenge 2017. 

Team Camarade from Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK)  won the Gold prize at the recent Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) 2017 Perak State Championships held on 15 July 2017 at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP). Team lead Muhammad Danial Nurhakim Md Nazri, 16, and his team member Muhamad Fikri Jefflee, 16, sat down with Yayasan Sime Darby to tell us their thoughts about their journey, the hurdles they faced and clinching the top prize. 

(L-R): Muhammad Danial Nurhakim Md Nazri, 16, Izzat Idlan Amir Raslan, 16, Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) teacher, Mohd Khaidzir Yusof, Muhammad Fikri Jeflee, 16, at the Young Innovators Challenge 2017 Perak State Championships on 15 July 2017. 

Why did you want to join the YIC 2017? 
Danial (D): I wanted to join the YIC 2017 because I wanted to gain new experiences and develop not only skills in using Arduino, but also my presentation skills. 

Fikri (F): I saw the YIC 2017 as a platform that will give me opportunities to develop my ideas and polish my skills. It was a chance for me to prove to myself and everyone else what I was capable of doing. 

What does your team's prototype do?
F: Our prototype is very unique. It was designed and created to help drivers with their senses because we all know that there are limitations to our senses. Many collisions can be avoided with our prototype. An infrared sensor attached in front of the car can help the driver to detect the distance between the car in front and their own car. A buzzer will go off and will notify the driver whenever the car in front is too close. The nearer the car is, the louder the sound.
There is an ultrasonic sensor that will detect any car from behind and will activate the LED braking light and LCD monitor board. While we already have LED braking light in all current cars, it will only light up when we push on our brakes. By using ultrasonic sensors, the LED braking light will automatically light up if the car behind is too close with the driver’s car regardless of whether the driver brakes or not.
The LCD Monitor Board is the highlight of our prototype. It is used to send any readable sign or warning to other drivers on the road. For example, when there is a baby or old folks as passengers, the LCD monitor can inform other drivers.
Next is the flame sensor which is inside the engine chamber. As we connect the sensor with a buzzer, the driver will be alerted if the engine experiences a high temperature. This is to prevent any fire and/or explosion from occurring.
Another interesting element to our prototype is that the driver can connect their cars with their own devices such as smartphones via Bluetooth. It is very important as we added an emergency button at the front part of the car so that whenever the car is involved in a car accident, it will automatically send messages to the connected device and it will directly call the ambulance for help and send its location through a Bluetooth connection.

How did your team come up with the design? What was the inspiration behind it and why did you feel so strongly about it?
D: Our prototype was based on all our experiences combined with research. We researched a lot on the internet before trying to brainstorm new ideas. Each member was required to come up with at least one design so we had a variety of ideas to choose from and work on. 

F: The prototype was inspired by my brother’s tragic car crash. The driver failed to estimate how close her car was with my brother’s car and her car hit my brother’s car from behind.  
Another incident was with Danial’s parent’s car while on their journey from Johor to Thailand. The car engine overheated during the journey and his parents did not realise that the heat light was flickering on the dashboard. They ended up having to sleep in the car until help came.
We received guidance from our teachers Mr. Khaidzir and Mr. Khalid who helped us create the final prototype.

How has your journey in the competition been so far?
D: Our journey so far in the YIC2017 has been excellent and I’m so glad and relieved our project received a lot of positive comments from the judges and other participants. We did receive some negative comments but we took it positively and in stride to improve our project.

What are the biggest challenges you faced in trying to make your idea a reality?
D: The biggest challenge that I personally faced was doing the programming and wiring. The most annoying part was wiring because if I make a single mistake, it’s very difficult to go back and search for the mistake within the wiring.

F: We faced many obstacles in order to make our idea a reality. Through these challenges however, we have learned that if we put effort in anything, the results will be tremendous.

How did you overcome these challenges?
D: My team really helped me overcome many challenges and kept reminding me to stay calm and remain focused. We shared advice with each other so it really helped a lot.
F: Aside from asking each other, we asked our teachers Mr. Khaidzir and Mr. Khalid for guidance because they have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that they could share.

Who are your biggest supporters and why? How have they helped you in the competition so far?
D: In this competition, my teachers were my biggest supporters as they always gave great advice and were always around to help out. 

F: Our parents also continuously gave moral support which we are thankful for. 

What have you gained so far from joining YIC2017?
D: Confidence in presenting my project and I have made new friends during the competition.

F: The YIC 2017 has shown me a glimpse of how the world works, it opened my eyes, widen my views on what happens every day in the real world. Through this competition, we know that we need to put in a lot of effort to compete with other innovators as we are not the only ones who can innovate.

What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
D: The most important lesson that I have learned so far is that in this world, everyone is different. For example, in the competition, I have learned to be ready to receive criticism because not everyone will like and agree on my project.
F: We must always learn from all kind of sources such as journals, attend talks, asking teacher’s experiences to gain knowledge.

What do you hope to achieve from the YIC 2017?
D: Continue to learn. For example, how to prepare presentation like a professional. Also, learn from others and be exposed to a wide variety of ideas.

F: I hope that we can win YIC 2017 and bring back the trophy to MCKK ground as what we did in 2014. Hopefully, YIC 2017 can give more opportunities to all young innovators out there to allow them to show their hidden talents and skills.

The YIC finals will be held at iM4U Sentral from 2-8 August 2017. For more updates on the competition, follow us on Facebook or YIC's Facebook
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Last Updated:
24 Jul 2017
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