Google track champion and Innovate Malaysia Excellence Award from UTM comprising (from right) team leader Lim Ji Chen, Matthias Tiong Foh Thye and Chinn Linn Kern (third from left) with Maszlee Malik (third from right).

THOSE who have worked on a construction site would know that the situation is often dangerous. Mishaps can easily happen and equipment can get lost.

This was what Lim Ji Chen, an electronics and electrical major at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), experienced.

The memory served as an inspiration for a project titled “Intelligent CCTV for Workplace Safety and Security Using Tensorflow Deep Learning Application”. It clinched the Excellence Award at the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2018 (IMDC 2018), the eighth edition of the largest engineering design competition in Malaysia.

Open to all third year or final year engineering, computer science, IT, and science and mathematics degree students, the competition aims to promote innovative culture in engineering design work, tackle real-world problems with practical engineering solutions, and produce talent for product development, research and commercialisation.

Technology companies, including Google, Intel, Keysight, MathWorks, Microsoft, SAS, SilTerra, and SOLIDWORKS, worked together to organise the competition by providing technology tracks from which participants were to develop their projects. Dream Catcher Consulting Sdn Bhd managed the event.

Lim, with classmates Chinn Linn Kern, and Matthias Tiong Foh Thye, all 24, were among the 814 students of this year’s competition, which saw support from the Education Ministry, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), and Institute of Engineers Malaysia.

More than 516 teams competed in the selection rounds October last year, of which 59 teams of up to three participants each made it to the final stage.

Maszlee Malik (second from right) and Ashran Ghazi (fourth from right) listening to a project briefing.

Teams had the option of taking on one of the eight industry design challenges set by organisations from various sectors, including Celcom, Cyberview, Daikin, Exabytes, SAINS, Sarawak Energy, Telekom Malaysia and Wildlife Conservation Society.

The shortlisted teams then underwent training and received mentorship from industry experts, while being supplied with state-of-the-art industry technology platforms that could assist them with their prototyping.

“Our team, which became the Google Track champion, saw opportunities to embed intelligence in closed-circuit camera to monitor construction site for unauthorised personnel on worksites, locate tools and conduct accident prevention.

“Our application is designed to be used by construction site managements to improve safety and security on site,” said Lim.

He said the project involved a technology called Deep Learning, which is a new framework from Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“The Deep Learning technology created multiple features such as fast face-recognition, object detection and posture detection to capture falling incidents. We required almost a year to train a perfect Deep Learning model for the entire project framework and system.

“A chat-bot named Jasmine was also created in a mobile application to assist the workplace managers to engage with problems and receive instant notifications from accidents,” Lim said.

The team has a start-up that plans to expand the features in the project based on customers’ requirements.

“We have two clients on-hand before the competition and we have tested our project at our clients’ construction sites’ CCTVs. We believe that machine will bring many advantages and benefits to the workplace in terms of safety and security,” said Lim.

Lim doing his presentation during the finale.

The Innovate Malaysia Design Competition 2018 Finale was attended by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.

In his speech, he said, “This competition helps to develop holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates. It provides the opportunity for the undergraduates to be empowered with more knowledge and skills beyond the comprehensive training they already received from the; institutions of higher learning.

“By the time they leave their universities and colleges, our graduates are more equipped and better-prepared for career opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavours of the future.”

MaGIC chief executive officer Ashran Ghazi, who took to the stage as the host, said in his speech: “The competition is seen as a dynamic platform that connects leading technology providers to universities.

The programme contributed towards catalysing and moulding future entrepreneurs.

“This programme will help them to create a Minimum Viable Product from validated ideas.”

This year, Intel Malaysia was appointed as the industry host for the IMDC grand finale. Its vice-president and director of Programmable Solutions Engineering Penang, Lynn Olson, said: “Spurred by fundamentals of IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data in the past few years, the industry is shifting the focus to next technological breakthroughs.

“Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence, are some of the technologies where university students need to be well-versed with to ride the wave of the new technologies,” she said.