Remote lighting switch
This invention suggested by Saranga Ishara Dayarathna from Rahula
College, Matara was undoubtedly one of the most well developed student
achievements that had been displayed on Opportunities 2006.
The idea is simple; a circuit that will fit into a residential wall
socket of a light bulb, that will allow remote control of the light. The
control allowed three options. Off, dim light and maximum light output.
These three options could be triggered by any television remote
control in the market. Saranga's idea was switch off lights as easily as
switching off a TV.
So far the product is quite feasible. The wall sockets do not have to
be changed and the circuit can be easily plugged into the existing
socket. The designed model had cost approximately 180Rs but Saranga is
quite sure that they would be able to give a device for 140Rs if mass
production was done.
The project was also guided by the University of Moratuwa where finer
details were made and a business report had been complied.
Saranga was an award winner at the Junior Inventors competition 2004,
and is also a SLIC National Award winner.
Inventor: Saranga Ishara Dayarathna
Contact: 041-2252177, 0779-176453
"A nation emerging from inventions and innovations..."
The Opportunities 2006 exhibition organized by the Sri Lanka
Inventors Commission (SLIC) was held at the BMICH. A large gathering of
inventors of all ages from various different parts of the country.
The exhibition showcased a variety of novel technological ideas and
concepts, most of which were solutions to everyday problems like
artificial arms to turn pages (for the differently-abled), automatic
string hopper machines, mosquito prevention techniques, motor cycle tow
wheelers, garden sweepers, cinnamon processing machines and selective
tea cutting machines.
The exhibition provided inventors with the opportunity to show their
products to the world and perhaps gain financial aid to develop their
products further. One of the positive aspects seen in the exhibition was
the participation of many school teachers and children from the rural
The Eastern Province, Southern Province, Central Province and
Northern Province teachers and students had come all the way with their
new innovations to participate and take part in the occasion. All credit
should be given to the SLIC for encouraging and promoting inventions and
innovations among these school children.
"I have one humble request for the UGC," says Thrishantha Nanayakkara,
the Sri Lanka Inventors Commissioner. "And that is to recruit 1% of the
inventors with minimum entry marks to Universities. Because these
children can perform and will perform if given the chance."
Opportunities 2006 has truly revealed that the nation is not void of
innovative thought. It's just hidden behind barriers of the system, that
desperately need to be broken.
Computerized fuel station
One of the interesting commercial stalls in Oppurtunities 2006 was by
ACAL systems PVT LTD. They've introduced a software solution to
computerize and fully automate fuel stations.
With this system in place customers can pump fuel on to their vehicle
by themselves by swiping their credit
card or debit card and releasing the fuel. If the person is paying by
cash then they would have to go to the cashier and according to the
payment made the amount of fuel will be released at the customer's
Though this is not a new thing to developed countries, the software
and equipment were made by ACAL systems Sri Lanka and therefore can be
categorized as a Sri Lankan re-engineered product.
Currently there are 3 fuel stations using the technology, namely
Maharagama, Tissamaharama, and Balangoda.
The cost for implementing this technology is roughly about 1.2
million for 5 tanks, and therefore is not a large investment to make in
the long run. ACAL system has also been awarded the BCS National Best
Quality Software Award in 2006 in the Industrial category.
Company involved: ACAL systems
Automated Real time traffic controller
This too being a final year project by the final year students from
the Electronics and Telecommunications engineering undergraduates from
the University of Moratuwa, was a furnished and industrial standard
concept put into action.
The idea is to have sensors in roads which pick out the traffic flow
and intelligently direct traffic lights so that minimum traffic
congestion is encountered. According to the students K.G.C Gunapala, W.
M. Gunathilake, and H.G. Jayasinghe, there are off the shelf products in
the market that can be bought to measure the amount of traffic, such as
magnetic loops and piezoelectric sensors.
The students also say that with correct implementation of RFID cards
the frequency can be easily recorded as well. RFID cards which are
basically 'identity cards' with a digital signature, can be issued with
vehicle revenue license if the government is really interested.
A value added service would be to centralize the traffic flow
information on a server and give the information to any driver on
request- ideally by SMS and through WiMAX. This would not only become a
source of income for the government or any other party, it would also
provide drivers with accurate driving directions that would get him or
her quickly to the destination of travel.
"The phase I of UniRoad which we did with the RDA was basically a
cost cutting solution," explains the graduates. "We haven't negotiated
with the RDA yet but maybe in phase II we can implement this adaptive
road design and improve the traffic flow."
Staff advisor: Dr. Ajith Pasquel, University of Moratuwa
Power saving solutions
Opportunities 2006 was full of small concepts that would make a big
difference in our lives if implemented. One of these simple ideas was
probably one that we've all thought of at some stage when walking around
Colombo; to switch off the burning street lamps automatically when
daylight hits the streets.
Rasika Indrajit, a final year student at the University of Moratuwa
showed off the simple circuit that allowed street lamps to extinguish
when it's not needed. Rasika also demonstrated another simple circuit
that can be fixed on ceiling fans to set a fixed time of operation.
This circuit would allow a person to adjust a 'timer' so that when
the specified time (ex: 1 hr, 2 hr, 4 hr, 8hr) passes the ceiling fan
would shut down by itself.
Though these concepts might sound too simple to be called
innovations, these small in fact do contribute significantly to the
evolution of the product as well as the user experience.
Staff advisor: Prof. K.K. W. Perera, University of Moratuwa
Red Weevil Detector
Another commercial product that happened to be in the exhibition was
the Red Palm Weevil detector. Designed, and sold by Rinzen laboratories
(with the collaboration of the Lunuwila Coconut Research Institute) the
simple contraption only costs around 6000Rs, which makes it affordable
even for the average household coconut farmer.
The detector simply amplifies the sound inside the tree so that an
average human being can detect the noises clearly. Then pre-recorded
samples of insect sounds are also given so that the farmer can identify
and take necessary action to avoid the plant being eaten.
The red palm weaver unlike other insects is very hard to track before
the damage is done to the tree. It's been a serious problem for 40-50
years in more than 30 countries.
Rinzen laboratories has a bag of inventions and innovations behind
their name, including a industrial counter and data logger for textile
industries to keep a dynamic log of their workers. They are currently
working on a huge project that they say is top secret, which would boost
performance in Textile and similar industries by 'performance evaluating
algorithms'. More on that later.
Company: Rinzen Laboratories
Herbal Juice & Fish cutter ~ an admirable effort by students in
In a very humble corner of Opportunities 2006 there were two
energetic young students trying to explain how a simple fish cutting
machine would improve their quality of life. The inventors of the
device, Nivoncy Fernando and Anton Abiyathuram were accompanied by their
zealous teacher Mr. M. G. J. Ravel.
While Nivonvy eagerly demonstrated how a dried fish can be cut to the
desired shape by one single stroke by their invention, Mr. Ravel showed
some herbal 'medicine' they've obtained from Shoe flowers, Nelli and
Karapincha juice. The medicines were categorized as all-purpose,
anti-viral, pain killer and hair growth.
Though might not prove to be a feasible business venture, the
participation of these students from Mannar, is in fact a point that
should be appreciated.