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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Kenneth Chong

Kenneth Chong

Growing up in a rural area, Kenneth faced many obstacles in pursuing his passion for programming, electronics and robotics. However, instead of letting his circumstances limit his potential, he found effective ways to follow his dreams. A breakthrough came when he attended an Arduino outreach workshop, which provided him with the tools to start creating his own projects. Kenneth then began to teach himself about AI, machine learning, app development, and advanced automation. He immediately started using his new skills for the benefit of others, developing a sonar system that detects the movement of pests in paddy fields and scares them off with buzzers to prevent crop damage. This system was a huge success, and later won the Sabah State Young Innovative Challenge in 2018.

Today, Kenneth is a chemical engineering undergraduate at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), and has continued his fascination with robotics. After working with the UTP PETROBOTS (the university robotics society) for two years, he is now its President. Perhaps his team’s biggest success to date was in the ChemE Cube Competition in Phoenix, Arizona. This competition focused on developing a 1-cubic-foot water filtration system to address water treatment challenges commonly faced by developing nations. Kenneth’s team’s entry, which won the Rapid Award in the competition, led to the creation of "ShuiNew", a water purification system that is able to purify water up to 99.99% (bacteria and chlorine removal). The team is now looking at making a more commercially viable version for the market.

Kenneth has also been able to make a positive impact on his peers and on wider society. He has helped organize events and workshops that have brought together students from different majors and engineering backgrounds, fostering a sense of collaboration and creativity. In addition, he has also volunteered as a workshop speaker at his old secondary school, teaching the basic ideas and skills involved in 3D modeling, video editing and data analytics. This has inspired the students to take on their own innovative projects.

If Kenneth wins the 2023 Global Student Prize, he will allocate the funds to three purposes. First, he will provide upgraded microcontrollers and components to his home region’s local robotics space, the Tenom Innovation Centre. Second, he will invest in the UTP PETROBOTS lab to support future club members, help the lab attract top talent, and create a hub for robotics innovation and research. Third, he will fund his own robotics business focused on creating and selling a robot kit with supporting instructional materials. By selling these kits and providing access to his customized tutorials, he aims to inspire and teach a new generation of robotics enthusiasts and professionals.

If awarded the prize funds, Kenneth plans to invest in his local maker space and university lab to create a sustainable ecosystem of resources and opportunities. He aims to support robotics education, provide upgraded equipment, and expand the reach of these facilities to empower more students. Kenneth also intends to start his own robotics business, creating self-designed robot kits and instructional templates to inspire and educate students globally. 



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