Lankan students' innovations to take centre stage at international
Children are our future and they should be given every opportunity to
expand their horizons and this is exactly what the Junior Inventor of
the Year 2007 organised by the IESL has done to bring out the latent
talents of children in our country who think like adults and seek
solutions for the problems faced by their elders.
Though we as adults at most times don't understand the feelings of
our children, they understand the feelings of the adults and try to ease
the burden of the adults and this was again proved by the three children
who have been selected by the IESL to represent Sri Lanka and keep the
country's flag flying high at the international competition as well as
Sri Lanka's representation for the first time at the International
Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in USA in May this year.
Regional Manager, Intel Sri Lanka Indika de Zoysa said that Intel
ISEF is the world's largest pre-collegiate science fair and last year's
fair drew more than 1,500 young scientists from 51 countries, regions
and territories to compete for US$ 4 mln in scholarships and awards. He
said that Intel has been the sponsor for the past 11 years.
The Junior Inventor Competition of the IESL held in October and the
Science Research project competition of the National Science Foundation
held in November will select the ten best projects annually which will
then compete at the Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair. Of the
winners the first two children will participate in the competition while
the other will take part as an observer. All expenses of the children
will be borne by Intel.
D. Yasith Kanchana Lokuge of Ananda College secured the first place
and title award at the Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair organised
by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka. The youngest in a family of
two he has one sister. " My father is a doctor while my mother is a
teacher," he said.
In response to a question as to what gave rise to building a
collapsible staircase, he said that during the construction of their
house, his father faced numerous difficulties in building a staircase
within a limited space.
He referred to many house plans to overcome this problem. But finally
he decided to build a conventional staircase as he could not find an
alternative solution. This was on my mind and I began to think of
developing a method to minimise the space requirements when building
staircases and I built it.
Our schools' Young Inventors Society informed me about this
competition when I was in Grade 11 and I applied because I wanted to
show what I had done.
Large space which is normally required to construct a conventional
staircase cannot be utilised for any other purpose.
According to data, a spiral staircase occupies 65-82% of the space
normally required for an 'L' shaped staircase.
The objective of this invention is to construct a staircase,
utilising the minimum space, leaving the remaining space to be used for
any other purpose.
In this design, each stair that constitutes the assembly of the
folding staircase is in the shape of a segment whose narrow end is
attached to a cylindrical ring which is placed on to a main solid rod,
one on top of the other to make it moveable around this rod (axis). Each
segment has a mechanism which draws this segment when the staircase is
folded or unfolded.
A programmed micro-controller governs the movement of the staircase
through an electronic circuit.
The power supply of the motor is controlled by a security password
and an alarm indicates the folding and unfolding of the staircase.
Power from the electric motor installed under the floor level moves
the lowermost segment of the staircase by means of a belt. The movement
of the motor clockwise and anticlockwise turns the lowermost segment
which draws the others in progress to fold or unfold the staircase.
The contribution of the project by this novel staircase design is to
save about 90% of the space normally required by a conventional spiral
staircase. This novel design could be used in space critical
applications particularly in urban areas.
He said that earlier too he invented a device which indicates the
arrival of the school bus and won a merit award at a competition
organised by the Science Union of Ananda College. His ambition is to be
an Electronics Engineer.
Praveej Malinda Jayasinghe having won the second place at the Junior
Inventor of the Year 2007 competition (Sri Lanka Science and Engineering
Fair) organised by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka is a Year 11
student from St Anthony's College.
He is also the youngest in his family with one elder sister and the
'baby' in the team as well. His father is a Bank Manager while the
mother is a teacher.
Speaking of his invention the nutmeg cutter, he said that he saw how
difficult it was to cut nutmeg as there was no proper tool readily
available in the market for removing seeds from raw nutmegs. Seed
removing from nutmeg is the first step in the processing of nutmeg and
the present method used is time consuming and causes damage to the
"The device developed by me is very simple and easy to manufacture at
reasonable costs. This consists of two curved blades of which one is
mounted on the fixed (lower) arm and the other is on the moving (upper)
arm with the help of a mounting shaft in such a manner that two curved
edges of blades face each other.
The mounting shaft is passed through a hole made on the upper arm and
its top end is connected to a small turning lever.
The blade mounted on the moving (upper) arm can be turned either side
by rotating the small lever fixed to the opposite end of the mounting
shaft of the blade. A cylindrical section mounted to the bottom arm, is
fixed surrounding the blade to hold the nutmeg.
Removing seeds from nuts are done by placing them on the holding
cylindrical section surrounding the bottom blade and applying force to
the upper arm and simultaneously turning the blade handle slightly to
This device was tested and found to be very useful for nutmeg farmers
for manufacturing high quality seeds and improving productivity. It can
be manufactured at a low cost and could be adopted for other
applications as well. His ambition too is to be an electronics engineer.
Sajeewa Dinesh Hendurugoda, a student of Nugawela Central College,
Kandy awaiting his O/L results secured a merit award from the Junior
Inventor of the year 2007 competition (Sri Lanka Science and Engineering
Fair) organised by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka.
The eldest son in his family he is 17 years. "My father is a
carpenter while my mother is a housewife," he said. "I faced a problem
in watering the plants in my garden. Then I began to think of a method
to overcome that difficulty and my invention is a device to detect the
wetness of the soil in a pot. If the wetness is lower than the required
level this system will automatically distribute water to the plant, said
He said that he has invented a projector which can be used to observe
star patterns. I won a merit award at the Invention competition
organised by the Kandy province in 2003.My ambition is to be a
All three children thanked their parents and those who helped them to
develop their inventions. They are undergoing training at the Moratuwa
University where they learn how to use modern laboratory equipment and
the modern technology at the University.
It's a valuable opportunity to interact with University academics,
students and other staff." They help to develop our presentation skills,
language skills, attitudinal changes and leadership qualities necessary
to face an international competition.
Informatics new AvaBill system launched
The Tonga Communication Corporation (TCC) of Tonga in the South
Pacific launched its new billing system, AvaBill Software, developed by
Informatics International Limited.
The TCC Sales and Marketing Manager Tai'atu Cocker said that the new
system is used by telecommunications companies in various parts of the
world to network their three services, fixed line network, mobile
network and internet.
The AvaBill Software replaced the old billing system that was
operated manually. Tai'atu said that TCC decided to buy the new billing
system because of demand by customers for a better billing service, and
since May 2007 they have been working with the Sri Lankan company to
install the new system.
Tai'atu said that the new system is high cost "because the equipment,
which brought from overseas was very expensive and the installations
were extensive, at TCC offices in Tongatapu and Vava'u. The new system
will be only effective in Tongatapu and Vava'u because this is where a
majority of our customers are. The remaining outer islands will be
Tai'atu said that with the system all operations would be more
efficient and will be automated and accessible widely throughout the
"This means if there is a complaint by a customer or a bill requested
they could do so and get the result in a few hours at any booth or
station in Tongatapu and Vava'u.
"With the old system these services could only be provided at the
main office at Fongoloa because they are the only one accessible to the
information and bills were usually issued a few days after a customer's
"In the near future the new Customer Care and Billing system will
bill customers in one format if requested.