Innovative Ultrasonic Scarecrow by Primary School Students Won PIID Award – a Scientific Project Mentored by APU SoT and SoC staff

Children are like a sponge absorbing information triggered by the endless questions in their minds. Supporting this thirst for knowledge, APU’s academics from the School of Technology (SoT) and the School of Computing (SoC) recently introduced and mentored young school children to the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Both Dr. Kamalanathan Shanmugam and Associate Professor Dr. Muhammad Ehsan Rana, senior lecturer and associate professor from SoT and SoC respectively, facilitated an interesting science project for the young learners, engaging them in hands-on experiments, something “WOW” them as it was very much beyond what they learned from the existing textbook!

Four students from Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Ladang Bukit Jalil, Sasvathram Ramish, Santhosh Varman, Nieranjhanaa Sureshkumar and Ramaprabha Ramu innovated a scarecrow using advanced technology to deter predators.

The innovation aimed to create a solution to protect and monitor plantations without chemicals and with minimal maintenance using technology.

This brilliant innovation of the young hearts was contested at the Penang International Invention, Innovation and Design (PIID) competition organised by the Research Management Unit on May 16 to 18, in collaboration with the Centre for Civil Engineering Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Penang branch.
This competition is in line with the government’s aspiration to encourage research activities in Malaysia and Sustainable Development Goals. Judges were from industry and academia with relevant experience in innovation, commercialisation and research.

The students received a Silver Medal for their innovation. The project was a continuous effort for a 3-month effort which included a series of workshops on theoretical knowledge – fields are often attacked by birds, resulting in poor yield of harvest. The poor farmers often end up losing their income as traditional scarecrows are not scary enough to cast away the birds,” said Dr. Kamalanathan.

Thus, the young innovators with the guidance of our academicians came to the big idea of Smart Scarecrow.

The students incorporated technical elements such as microcontrollers, sensors and actuators to detect the presence of birds to trigger the response of the scarecrow. This can be placed anywhere on the field, and it is very sensitive in the detection of flying objects.

“The server motor of the Smart Scarecrow simulates the response of humans by moving to the right or left to scare the predators away. The Smart Scarecrow is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and it can operate continuously to protect the farming fields. The design is structured to be highly durable and cost-effective as well,” explained Assoc. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ehsan Rana.

This initiative was part of a programme to provide support to elementary school children, facilitating the development of their programming skills and fostering their active participation in programming competitions.

Congratulations to all the young participants and the mentors as well from APU for having a strong vision that technology can be successfully infused into farming.