From 16-year old Greta Thunberg being named as TIME’s Person of the Year to 15-year old Rishab Jain who developed a software tool to help doctors improve treatment for pancreatic cancer, the youths of the world today are rising up to change the world for the better. Malaysia is no stranger to child prodigies and talents and the government’s efforts to discover and empower these talents have been intensified.
The Malaysian Ministry of Education, through collaborations with Futurise, Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST), Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and several other organizations has organized an annual innovation competition with the focal point of discovering Malaysia’s next youth innovator. Also part of the competition are several Malaysian public and research universities who are the event venue hosts to allow participants to attend 3 training modules classes at the nearest regional host/online before the winner competes at National level.
The competition aims to not only discover and encourage youth innovation in our local education system but it aspires to help foster these innovators in the right environment for them to discover their full potential. As the main sponsor of the competition, Futurise Centre will be closely monitoring the innovative development of the participants and nurturing them through its Futurity platform that has been launched recently.
The theme of this year’s Unimaker was “Solving SDG Problems in the era of IR 4.0” which kicked off in October 2019 to 5th November 2019. Unimaker is unique in its lucrative prize offerings, which includes cash prizes worth up to RM5,000 and non-cash prizes such as a free co-working space at MaGIC for 3 months, the opportunity to be featured on Futurity initiative which is an open innovation platform by Futurise as well as complimentary training and workshop from sponsors. All finalists were also entitled to complimentary training and workshops by GIST Angels, being listed on Futurity as well as a certificate.
Beating over 40 other participants from 20 universities, Unimaker 2019’s coveted grand prize was awarded to two young female undergraduates of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Nurul Najwa Zawawi and her partner Nur Aliah Mohamad Napiah. The power duo co-developed an application to help the visually impaired identify and search for everyday belongings such as money and keys in their household. The application is also able to detect and inform its users of colours and the denomination of cash through camera recognition technology.