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Intern Imran Jaffer gets innovative

Campus Watch: Engineering interns get innovative, 15 January 2010

SOLAR panels have gone intelligent.

Think of one which comes with a Solar Tracker, a device that follows the movement of the sun, allowing a maximum amount of light to fall on the panels and increase its yield by 30 to 60 per cent. The tracker is the brainchild of INTI University College Engineering students Imran Mohammed Jaffer, Pavankrishna Ellore Ramesh and Patrick Tan Foon Cheng who interned at Ricoh (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

Consisting of a motor, light dependent resistor, control unit, battery, switch and solar panels, the tracker is compact and cost-effective. It comes with a Solar Switch invented by fellow students Edwin Chew Yoong Ming, Derrick Chen Kuang Huey and Adnan Iqbal.

The switch is a controller that automatically selects between alternating current and solar power depending on the intensity of sunlight. This effectively reduces the amount of electricity needed to power appliances.

Setting off on their solar projects with minimum instructions from their supervisors, the interns were given the bare essentials to come up with their inventions. They had to conduct their own research and draw on their knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom and through experience.

Intern Imran Jaffer

(From left) Edwin Chew Yoong Ming, Derrick Chen Kuang Huey, Adnan Iqbal, Pavankrishna Ellore Ramesh, Imran Mohammed Jaffer and Patrick Tan Foon Cheng celebrate their successful stint as interns and innovators.

Many a time, improvisation was required when their tools were inadequate or unsuitable for the task.

"When we were unable to find a suitable input power jack, we had to retrieve one from a recycled laptop," said Chew, "and when we did not have enough equipment for printed circuit board etchings, we went back to INTI's engineering labs to do drilling."

The students' stint as interns went beyond technical knowledge and practical innovations.

"They adapted quickly to the working environment at Ricoh, and were quick to learn," said Ricoh Malaysia managing director Lim Eng Weng.


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