Gold winners of KLESF International Challenge 2020 share about their innovation O-Helmet

Poster of the webinar

In conjunction with Minggu Sains Negara 2021 (MSN 2021), Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) in collaboration with UTAR, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) organised a webinar titled "O-Helmet" on 7 April 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Live.

From left: Kang, Ong and Ivan Lim with moderator Lee

Invited to share at the webinar were the Gold winners of KLESF International Challenge 2020 Ivan Lim Zee Lun, Kang Yi Te and Ong Zhi Zheng, students from Chung Ling Private High School, Penang. The webinar was moderated by KLESF Secretary Lee Woan Shiang.

Ivan Lim, Kang and Ong started the webinar by sharing the idea behind the innovation of O-Helmet, “On 23 June 2018, a group of 12 boys aged between 11 and 16, from Thailand junior football team, had an incident with their 25-year-old assistant coach when they were trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. Heavy rains partially flooded the cave and blocked their way out. After being stranded on a narrow rock shelf in the dark for two weeks, all of them were safely rescued.”

Ong said, “The obstructions in the cave led to the breakdown of communication. Nobody knew the situation inside the cave during the rescue as there was no signal available. Therefore, we came up with an idea to create O-Helmet and repeaters. The O-Helmet is a wearable communication system, designed to provide users in remote areas wide range connectivity by implementing readily available mesh network technology.”


The award-winning O-Helmet and repeaters

Ivan Lim explained the functions of O-Helmet, “The helmet will send data every second through the series of repeaters; it will send it back to the master controller - the operator of the ground. On the other hand, the master controller can also send messages through the series of repeaters and data will be received by the helmet. The user with O-Helmet can read the message by using the smart glasses provided and if they want to send a message to the master controller, they can press the button beside the helmet.”

Kang showing the block diagram of the helmet

During the one-hour webinar, they shared the functions of O-Helmet, future improvement for O-Helmet, O-Helmet’s achievements, challenges and ways to overcome them, motivation and many more.


Future improvement needed for O-Helmet

Speaking of future improvement, they enthused, “We would like to add heartbeat sensor, cave pressure, infrared thermometer and geolocation in the system. Other than that, we also want to minimise the size of the repeaters for future convenience, and hope that in the future we can control the helmet’s facilities by ourselves when we are inside the cave.”


The three young innovators sharing some of their achievements (photo was taken in 2019)

Kang highlighted, “The O-Helmet system is not only designed to be used in caves; it can also be used in rain forest, jungle or desert.”

Talking about the difficulties they faced during the project, they said, “We took quite a long time to develop the communication system, set up the mesh network technology and produce the smart glasses. Other than that, it was also time-consuming when we first generated our ideas as we did not know whether the ideas would work in the end.”

(From left) the O-Helmet team roles by Ivan Lim, Kang and Ong

“Coming up with the project idea and executing it was very hard initially, but with good teamwork, our challenges became easier. I am glad that we have good chemistry and teamwork with one another. Teamwork is very important because when there a problem occurs, all of us will have to solve it together. We had our own roles and we followed the scrambling technique in our execution. Scrambling technique is a digital encoding technique that is used in modern data communication schemes and can principally provide aid in retrieving information from received data enhancing synchronisation between the transmitter and the receiver,” Ivan Lim added.

Ivan Lim, Kang and Ong ended the webinar by explaining how they balanced their time between studying and doing the project. They advised, “As a student, studying is our main responsibility; projects and activities are side dishes. When the exam is around the corner, we will stop doing the project and other activities and work hard on our studies. We will study for at least two weeks before the exam. We will go back to our project once the exam finishes.”

They also recommended watching YouTube channels such as “Paul McWhorter” and “” for further self-learning on programming and coding.

The webinar ended with a lively Q&A session.

For those who are interested to know more, you may watch the full webinar here.

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