Shell STEM Youth Innovation Challenge: Food Theme Finalist- Hong Kah Secondary School, The HK Team

Shell STEM Youth Innovation Challenge (Shell STEM Challenge) is a competition open to all secondary three students from schools offering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Applied Learning Programme (STEM ALP). Students get exposed to hands-on STEM experience when building the prototypes to solve real-world issues revolving the sustainability of Water, Food, Energy and Eco-friendly materials.

This week, we look at one of the finalists’ project on food theme.  This article was contributed by Hani Batrisyia Bte Mohd Fauzi, Mathialagan Merlin, Muhammad Shideeq B Abdul Wahab, Tan Jum Kiat, Yang Da.  They are participants from Hong Kah Secondary School, the HK Team.

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Photo Credit: STEM Inc

You may view all finalists’ prototypes on 13 July 2015, 2pm – 5pm at the Grassroots’ Club (Address: 190 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, Singapore 568046).  This challenge is sponsored by Shell Companies in Singapore, supported by Ministry of Education (Singapore) and organised by STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore.

Our project

After much brainstorming with our mentor, teachers and STEM Educator Ms Low Yuan Lin about the issues relating to food, we have narrowed our scope to find a solution to reduce food wastage. We consider a common scenario where people tend to forget the canned food they stocked up and food gets wasted when it expires.  To solve this problem, we came up with an alarm system to alert the family about their soon to expire canned food so as to consume the food before the expiry dates.

This is how it works. The expiry date of each canned food will first be registered in a database (either through an OCR scanner or by manual typing). After which the canned food will be placed in one of the holders. There are 2 LED lights (one red and one green) in front of each holder.  Once placed, the green LED will light up indicating the holder is occupied. When it is one week before the expiry date, there will be an alarm (red LED blinking and a buzzer buzzing) to alert the user to consume the food before it expires. The electronic system is controlled by a microcontroller (Arduino Uno board) accompanied by a data processing software (Processing).

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 What we have learnt

When we were making the prototype, we were exposed to many different things that we do not get to learn in school. For instance, we learnt how to use the laser cutting machine on acrylic. We also learnt how to glue different pieces of acrylic together by using chloroform. We are very thankful to our teachers, mentor and everyone in the team as without each of us,  we would not have come up with the idea and also to produce the final prototype.

Eng Yee Peng is the Manager for Media & Communications from STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore.  Once a TV Writer/Director, Independent Filmmaker and Book Writer, she’s now enjoying working on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by capitalising on the integration of both the digital and traditional media. This article is facilitated by Yee Peng and written by the students from the HK Team.

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