Petrosains RBTX Challenge 2023 Takes Innovation to the Fore

Using innovations to increase productivity


A smart farming system using applications and sensors to increase yield, income and productivity. This was the winning creation by a combination team made up of Universiti Malaysia Perlis and SK Darulaman Height to clinch the championship of the Innovation (Open) category at the Petrosains RBTX Challenge 2023 held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Team member, Muhammad Amir Hakim B Ismail, 26, a postgraduate student in Computer Engineering at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) said he felt good about being able to create a system that could help overcome the issue of lack of manpower in the farming industry today.

“This system is suitable for any kind of crop especially for fruit orchards,” said Muhammad Amir Hakim.

The prize giving ceremony was presided over by Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup. Also in attendance was Petrosains Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Ezarisma Azni Mohamad.

The Petrosains RBTX Challenge, now into its fifth year, was first introduced in 2018 by Petrosains, The Discovery Centre, which is PETRONAS’ social impact arm for powering knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. The programme has successfully brought together robotics enthusiasts to learn, discover, and battle their robotic creations on a common platform.

Besides encouraging innovation and higher order thinking skills, the competition is also structured to provide participants with basic designing, coding and sensor training in robotic development and to educate the public on the evolving digital era driven by the convergence of advanced technologies such as robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

Datuk Arthur said, “The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation places great emphasis on programmes that upskill students and young people, especially in high technology fields, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Quantum Computing, coding and many more. This is in line with the demand for skilled workforce in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is a key focus in developing the Malaysia MADANI nation”.

MOSTI acknowledges the critical importance of STEM education in developing holistic resources, complete with knowledge as well as skills of the digital era. As such, MOSTI is committed to supporting stakeholders in contributing to the development of STEM education as a nation, for the purpose of producing high performing individuals, who shall then be able to compete in the global arena.”

“The uniqueness of the Petrosains RBTX Challenge lies in the use of open-source software, making the competition accessible to wider segments of society, especially in the under-served communities,” said Ezarisma.

We believe this has the potential to contribute, support and accelerate the use of science and technology for the shared progress and prosperity of all.

We are delighted to announce that a total of 1,700 teams, comprising approximately 4,500 participants entered this year’s competition with 240 teams making it to the Grand Finals. I am also pleased to announce that more than 10 teams are from the ASEAN region.”

This year’s competition premised on Sustainability as the main theme for the three main categories – Robo Tracer, Robo Sumo and Innovation.

In the Robo Tracer (Junior) category, participants aged 7 to 12 were challenged to create a robot that can collect and sort waste into recyclable and non-recyclable bins in a city park. The mission for this category is aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production.

In the Robo Tracer (Advance) category, participants aged 13 to 17 were tasked to create a robot that collects and stacks items in a designated area. The goal is to create awareness on the importance  of  reducing  excess clutter and  utilising  space  more  efficiently, which is a  key component of sustainable development, and SDG 9, that specifically aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

The Innovation (Junior) category, open to participants aged 7 to 12, will require them to generate innovative ideas and solutions to build a prototype using Microcontroller.

As for the Innovation (Advance) category, which was open to local as well as international participants aged 13 to 17, their challenge was to generate ideas and solutions to build a prototype using Microcontroller and Internet of Things (IoT).

The competition is curated with the assistance and expertise of academic advisors from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, International Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Malaysia Pahang and Politeknik Kota Kinabalu.

List of winners:

Robo Tracer Junior – SKHP TEAM 2 (Melaka)

Robo Tracer Advance – DRAX 3 (Johor)

Robo Tracer Open – FENILLA GR (Indonesia) Robo Sumo 1kg – SEMSAS SECA (Pahang)

Robo Sumo 3kg – REPUBLIC KOGEKI B (Negeri Sembilan) Innovation Junior – Green Plate Society (Kedah)

Innovation Advance – ALTHEA (Selangor)

Innovation Open – ZHPro2-UniMAP-SMKDH1 (Kedah)