LKC FES online FYP poster competition makes a comeback

LKC FES online FYP poster competition makes a comeback

The Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Online Final Year Project (FYP) Poster Competition for January 2022 trimester received overwhelming support when 629 students participated in this biannual competition. The competition recorded a total of 59 winning posters ranging from gold to bronze, and even the “Most Liked”.

The biannual competition aimed to provide an opportunity for final year students to demonstrate their independence, originality, and ethics. It also aimed to help students realise their strengths and weaknesses, cultivate their research interests, and instil resilience as they grasp the idea of a real competitive environment.

The posters submitted came from nine departments of LKC FES, and were categorised into nine tracks, namely:

Track 1: Architecture and Sustainable Design,
Track 2: Mathematical and Actuarial Sciences,
Track 3: Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering,
Track 4: Electrical and Electronic Engineering,
Track 5: Internet Engineering and Computer Science,
Track 6: Quantity Surveying,
Track 7: Civil Engineering,
Track 8: Mechanical and Material Engineering and
Track 9: Chemical Engineering

The posters were evaluated by 29 judges based on the posters’ appearance, content, organisation and presentation. All winners were awarded certificates to mark their achievements, while all winners of the Most-liked Poster Award walked away with a certificate each as well.

Chee’s winning poster

Gold winner Bachelor of Science (Honours) Quantity Surveying student Chee Cheng Yee of Track 6: Quantity Surveying, enthused, “I believe my poster stood out because it was attractive and the simple concept enabled the overall idea of my project to be well presented. I am thankful to my supervisor Mr Azreen, for all his guidance and ideas that have enabled me to complete the poster.”

Her research project, titled “Factors of Reluctances of Local Labours to Work in The Construction Industry”, explained that the construction sector is critical to Malaysia's economic growth and development, however, building projects are frequently hampered by a lack of local labour. As a result, the construction industry is required to depend on foreign labours to fulfil the increasing demand for local labours. Earlier studies focused on the challenges of local people's lack of joining in the construction industry. This study makes attempts to analyse the factors of poor participation of locals in the construction industry. Therefore, the aim of this study is to identify the factors of local labours' reluctances to work in the construction industries.

She explained, “I developed my project with that title because labour is an important resource in construction industry in order to construct a building. The reluctance of local labour is one of the critical issues in the construction industry recently. The outcomes of this study will be useful for construction practitioners in identifying possible issues before recruiting and dealing with labour for construction works. The government would benefit by determining the factors that cause local labour reluctant to engage in the construction. A clear direction was provided for government and construction practitioners to increase local labours' participation thus reducing dependency on foreign labour.”

Chen’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Chen Wai Yang won gold award in Track 4: Electrical and Electronic Engineering, for his research titled “Development of Image Recognition System for Steel Defects Detection”. “I truly appreciate the opportunity to present my research. I believe one of the reasons that led to my win was that I successfully conveyed the information in a manner that was easily understood by everyone. This was also possible thanks to the guidance and support from my supervisor Dr Chua Kein Huat, and my friends for their inspiring suggestions,” said Chen.

His research explained that an image recognition system can improve hot rolled steel quality and work efficiency. This project developed an image recognition system for detecting three types of hot rolled steel defects: rusting, edge defects, and loose wrap. A deep learning model named Single Shot Detector (SSD) was trained to detect and crop hot rolled steel and shape defects from the input image. Then, the colour detection was implemented to determine the rusting area on the hot rolled steel based on the orange-brown colour that appeared on the hot rolled steel. Besides, the system uses Canny Edge Detection to find the irregular edge lines caused by the edge defects and loose wrap. The system can determine whether to release or hold the hot rolled steel based on the defects' severity. According to the test results, the rust detection accuracy is over 90% in under 50 ms processing time. Also, the edge defect detection accuracy is 69%, with a 63 ms processing time. Finally, the loose wrap detection accuracy was 84.9%, with a 51.3 ms processing time.

He further explained, “I have a great interest in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision as well as IoT. I also have some experiences in image processing and computer vision from my previous integrated design project (IDP) before my FYP. I have the passion in providing values and solutions to industries by utilising these kinds of technology, so I decided to work on this project. The developed system can be applied on steel rusting detection, edge defects detection and loose wrap detection. The main objective of this project is to help the industries in saving cost and time for the product inspection process.”

Goh’s winning poster

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Actuarial Science student Goh Yeok Qin was one of the gold winners of Track 2: Mathematical and Actuarial Sciences. Her research was titled “Performance of Three-Parameters Dirichlet Universal Portfolio during COVID-19 Pandemic”. “I am happy and a little surprised to have won gold, but I am glad that my hard work has paid off. Special thanks to my supervisor Dr Pang Sook Theng, for all the advice and recommendations that have helped improve my research,” enthused Goh.

She also explained, “I was interested to investigate investment strategies that are useful in coping with the uncertainties or fluctuations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Malaysian stock market, and so I did a study on this. The company stocks involved in my study are from healthcare, finance and plantation sectors. Under the healthcare sector, I have chosen Top Glove, Hartalega and Supermax; whereas under the finance sector, I selected Maybank, Public Bank and CIMB; lastly, for the plantation sector, Sime Darby, IOI and KLK were my choices. Then, I collected their stock price data and utilised the programming language such as Python to calculate the capital achievement that can be obtained under each data set that I have proposed randomly. It is shown that my project investment strategy – Three-Parameters Dirichlet Universal Portfolio able to achieve the optimal wealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the healthcare industry.”

Tan’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Mechanical Engineering student Tan Keng Lim won gold in Track 8: Mechanical and Material Engineering, for his research titled “Design of a Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting System”. “My project was a designed-based project.Therefore this gave me more room to play and apply the things I have learnt in my classes. I have put much effort into designing of this poster to make it look simple and understandable to readers. The competition was certainly a good place for me to showcase my skills and I was happy that my project was recognised by the professionals. Having also learnt of Solidworks, a software that contributed to my project, I was grateful to be able to apply my knowledge of mechanical engineering which helped me sold several problems and made my project special,” enthused Tan.

His research explained that Rainwater harvesting system (RWHS) is a system of collecting rainwater from impervious surfaces and storing it for future use. “This study focuses on designing sustainable animal-centric rainwater harvesting system in Malaysia. This study is useful for any animal organisation in Malaysia as it can be used as a guide in designing RWHS for animals. RWHS helps animal shelter leaders solve drinking water shortages in times of water crisis or water pollution. It also indirectly saves the lives of many stray animals in Malaysia. In addition, stray animals also benefit from this study. Stray animals no need to travel around to find a source of water. This reduces the likelihood of stray animals drinking contaminated water or having an accident. As a result, the possibility of health problems and mortality in stray animals can be reduced.

This project proposes rainwater as an alternative water source for animals and contributes to a better understanding of RWHS and their components suitable for animals; quantity of water stored for animal drinking purposes; size of the components used and the reasons behind them; and the total cost required for RWHS. The research is also related to Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is clean water and sanitation. RWHS also uses Malaysia's free and renewable rainwater resources to provide clean drinking water to stray animals. Besides, RWHS is also provides solution to water scarcity because the rainwater can be collected and utilised for different purposes.

Yee’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Chemical Engineering student Yee Pey Li won gold in Track 9: Chemical Engineering for her research titled “Extraction of Nanocellulose from Oil Palm Biomass”. She expressed, “I am happy and a little surprised to have won gold. I have extracted the cellulose and nanocellulose from the palm oil biomass and I studied the effects of reaction parameter towards the yield of the product. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer students were able to conduct hands-on experience and I was among the lucky ones that who were able to continue using the university’s resources to complete my research. I am also grateful to my supervisor Dr Shuit Siew Hong who has helped me throughout this research.”

She explained, “This title was proposed by my supervisor, considering that there is a huge amount of oil palm biomass being generated in the world, including Malaysia. We should fully utilise the biomass by turning it into a useful product such as nanocellulose, which possesses characteristics including good mechanical strength and biodegradability. Among the many types of oil palm biomass, the oil palm empty fruit bunch is chosen as to the feedstock for extraction of nanocellulose, due to its high cellulose content. The nanocellulose is also biodegradable which makes it a suitable substitute for plastic, and extracting the nanocellulose also helps in reducing the biomass waste in oil palm plantation. This research is therefore related to SDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, to ensure good use of resources. The oil palm biomass is the waste product generated from oil palm plantation. The huge quantity of the waste generated has led to the waste disposal problem. Hence, the conversion of this waste into a useful product such as nanocellulose might be a good way to fully utilise the waste.”

Cheng’s winning poster

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Architecture student Cheng Yu Han won gold in Track 1: Architecture and Sustainable Design, for her project titled “Batik Art and Craft Training Centre - Reassert the Past and Preserve the Future”. She commented, “I am happy to win this award because I have always been passionate about designing, and it is this passion that has enabled me to create space that will inspire people to celebrate their achievements, which I believed was also well reflected in my poster. Therefore, I would like to thank my supervisor Mr Yap Kee Leong, who has given me great ideas and confidence to complete the project.”

She explained that her project was inspired by the idea to preserve traditional handmade batik, which she discovered has been declining over the years. She hopes that the training centre can inspire the younger generation to inherit this skill, by giving them a space that uses natural lighting and passive element to make students and teachers comfortable. The training centre is also designed using the philosophy of Malay traditional house, which utilised large opening, horizontal louvres, and big overhang curved roofs that are also environmentally friendly. The large windows allow natural light and wind to enter the inner spaces of the building. The large roof reduces the heat and it cools down the temperature.

Khor’s winning poster

Another Bachelor of Science (Honours) Architecture student Khor Mei, also won gold for her project titled “Kearamat Titi – From Divider to Connector”. She commented, “I am glad that my hard work has paid off. The competition was a great opportunity for me to evaluate my own work and showcase my work to others. I spent a lot of time thinking about the concept, narrative, design form, site response, and the outcome was presented on my poster. I believed the perspective drawing was the biggest element of the poster, as well as the striking colour made the poster eye-catching. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my supervising lecturers: Encik Abd Muluk bin Abd Manan, Ar. John Ashraf Lucas bin Abdullah, Ar. Mel Soong Meow Sin and Mr Yap Kee Leong for all their hard works in guiding and lecturing me throughout the whole semester. I acquired much knowledge from their teaching and experience sharing.”

She further explained, “The project is also related to SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, because it is a Water Rehabilitation Centre, which aims to revive the beauty of Klang River, through river cleaning, while also encouraging public awareness and participation in the river cleaning. Therefore, I hope the project can achieve clean, safe and accessible water from the Klang River. The project also relates to SDG 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, because the design for now and future need to allow for adaption, in order to support the changing lifestyle and habits of the occupants. Designing a structure as an evolving entity with changing needs in mind is the core value of modular architecture. Modular architecture is now preferable and has the potential to become the major trend of the future because it can tackle the shortcomings of traditional structures and provide the user with flexibility, adaptable interfaces and durability, whilst also being sustainable and resilient to the effects of time. For this project, the construction method is using the industrial building system (IBS), which enables “30-50% quicker completion than traditional housing, as well as 80 years of compensation for building a new building in terms of natural resources and waste produced. In relation to SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, the project utilises an open layout plan, double-volume, elevated structure as amongst some of the green design strategies that help to induce ventilation and cool down the house without the use of machines. Thereby, it contributes to the goal of creating a cleaner and sustainable city in future.”

Lee’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Mechatronics Engineering student Lee Ren Yi won gold in Track 5: Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering, for his research titled “Smart Cashierless Checkout System For Retail Using Machine Vision”. He commented, “UTAR has provided us a good platform to gain exposure through this competition, and I am very thankful to have this opportunity for my research to be exposed to various industry partners, thus also paving way for my career path. I also would like to thank my supervisor Dr Chai Tong Yuen for all the guidance and support. I am also grateful for the support of my friends and family that has enabled me to reach this point in my studies.”

He explained, “Smart Cashierless Checkout System represents a conceptual computer vision-based solution that is necessary for existing retail especially during this COVID-19 pandemic where human workforce is limited along with concern of virus spread chain. Additionally, the proposed solution is relatively complete by including a robust approach in training of product recognition model along with Point-of-Sale Software with automatic price update feature. The project can be necessary especially during COVID-19 pandemic by offering an alternate solution that can effectively transform existing retail into a new form that emphasises cashierless and contactless shopping experience that will ease consumers and retailers. Additionally, it allows me to explore more in the field of Computer Vision and Deep Learning which can be important my future career. The system also explores the possibility of implementing low-cost and robust checkout system in existing retail stores without causing additional workload to personnel. Besides, the system might help to reduce waste by avoiding the need for a product price tag since each item can be recognised based on item appearance, thus contributing to a greener environment. This project is also related to SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. It proposes an innovative solution and improves the existing infrastructure of existing retail by replacing existing barcode-based checkout system with computer vision-based approach.”

Lim’s winning poster

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Quantity Surveying student Lim Xiang Yun won gold in Track 6: Quantity Surveying, for her research titled “Assessing the Strategy to Improve Safety Compliances among Construction Site Workers”. She enthused, “I’m very surprised and excited that I had won gold. I am thankful to all for considering me for this prize. However, it would be impossible for me to win this competition without the support of my supervisor, En. Azreen Ariff bin Zulkefee, throughout the competition. The competition has provided me the opportunity to enhance my talent, skills and ideas. Apart from that, I would like to raise awareness of the construction industry on the need to improve safety compliances among construction site workers. For me, I think that it might be because of the creative design and effort taken in this competition that makes me excel from others. My research title is a hot topic now, which should be taken into consideration to enhance safety compliances of construction workers and to reduce the fatality rate in construction industries."

She also explained, “Along with the huge economic growth contributed by the construction sector, the high prevalence of workplace accidents had alarmed the need to minimise worksite accidents. Despite many activities undertaken to address construction safety issues, on-site fatalities particularly on the operational level continued to be a serious issue. Hence, this study aimed to identify the factors that led to safety non-compliances among construction site workers and to access the strategies to improve safety compliances among construction site workers. I believe that my poster would benefit the construction and safety professionals since it has rated the top three significant factors and strategies for improving site workers' safety compliance. Consequently, construction and safety professionals could update and reorganise their safety management system by referring to the ranking of factors and strategies to improve workers’ safety compliances presented in this study.”

So’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Civil Engineering student Mandy So Shyun, won gold in Track 7: Civil Engineering, for her research titled “Vertical Extensions: Technical Challenges and Carbon Impact”. She commented, “I’m deeply honoured to receive this award. I sincerely thankful for all the support from my supervisor, family, and friends. Victories and failures are a part and parcel of life. The right attitude can transform a barrier into a blessing and even an obstacle to get a stumbling block into a stepping stone. "Never say never' is the key that unlocked the door to my personal excellence and helped me achieve my highest potential in life. Extremely thank you to UTAR for providing a platform for the final year students to participate in such a competition. Besides that, I’m really grateful to my final year project supervisor Dr. Lau See Hung from the Department of Civil Engineering for her guidance and support throughout my undertaking of the research, as well as UTAR for providing useful resources for the project.”

She also explained, “The motivation to adapt a building in terms of an upward vertical extension lies within the need for urban development programmes. This research aimed to investigate the technical challenges and carbon impact associated with vertical extensions of the existing building. This research gives important insights into the structural issues and technical obstacles associated with vertical extension, enabling a more efficient development and construction process for future vertical extension projects. The findings served as a starting point in examining the possibilities of vertical extension as a lower-carbon alternative to demolition and reconstruction. Vertical extension is a sustainable urban development solution whereby it can increase the cities’ density by introducing additional floors vertically without massive demolition of the existing structure and material consumption. The research is also related to SDG 12 and 13: Responsible consumption, such as building reuse which, may mitigate carbon emissions and therefore have a direct effect on the climate emergency; SDG 7 and 10: Extensions may provide income to maintain or improve the existing building’s energy performance; and SDG 11: Extensions increase the urban’s density which helps to prevent development on greenfield locations and decrease the need for infrastructure, resulting in more sustainable cities and towns.”

Sai’s winning poster

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Civil Engineering student Sai Yi Soon won gold in Track 7: Civil Engineering, for his research titled “Bearing Plate Size Effect in Simply Supported Reinforced Concrete Deep Beam”. He expressed, “I am extremely honoured to be receiving this award. I sincerely thank to my supervisor, Dr. Woon Kai Siong, who guided me full of patient through the project. In retrospect, I think it was a good thing because it made me want to only do better than I ever did. Winning does not always mean being first. Winning means you are doing better than ever. I have always believed that 'if we never try we never know', and we should try our best to improve ourselves to a higher level. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to UTAR for providing me with this platform to competition recognise the ability of myself. This would help me to have the courage to express personal opinions in the future work.”

He explained, “I am interested in the finite element analysis software (ABAQUS), and interest to study the force distribution of an element. Deep beams are widely used nowadays, and I am interest to find out the factors that affect the strength of deep beam. The dimensions of the column and deep beam might be changed to satisfy the safety and economic requirements. The change in the size of the columns will influence the shear strength of the deep beam at the bottom of the building. Thus, bearing plates can be used to replace columns as the load is applied and supported in the laboratory experiment to study the column size effect and reflect the real behaviour of the deep beam to prevent failure. This study will help engineers to be aware of the bearing plate (column) size effect and take it into consideration during the designation stage. RC deep beams are very useful in the applications of building structures such as transfer girder, foundation pile caps, wall footings, shear walls, and floor diaphragms. The number of columns below the deep beam can be reduced by using RC deep beam and providing more space on lower floor. Thus, the study on the size effect of bearing plate is important as it has a greater impact on the shear strength of deep beam. The research is also related to SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy: The ABAQUS code, which was originally designed as a nonlinear solver has the advantage of being able to execute any nonlinear simulation faster and with more accurate, realistic results than other codes. It is also served as an alternative technique for analysing the behaviour of RC deep beams because experimental research is hard to conduct, time-consuming, expensive and requires more manpower; SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: Provide a safe environment to workers and communities when constructing the deep beam to prevent any failure due to change in column size; and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: To enable the research on deep beam and further study the relation between beam and the column by minimizing the size of column and maintaining the shear strength capacity of the deep beam.”

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