K Prathameshwarar and K Swarnavahini have won multiple awards at two international innovation fairs in India and Taiwan, thanks to their invention, the Desktop CNC machine.
Their invention won them 3 awards at the India International Innovation Fair – IIIF 2019, Hyderabad and 5 awards at the Kaohsiung International Invention and Design EXPO (KIDE) 2019 in Taiwan.
Their mother, Jayacheetra Ramaloo, talks to Varnam about her kids’ achievements.
“Prathameshwarar has been interested in inventions from young age. When he turned 9, I enrolled him into a robotic Lego course. He picked up the EV3 Lego on his own, and went on to master Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform that enables users to create interactive electronic objects,”
“Internet of Things (IoT) has always been their interest,” says Jayacheetra. “Prathameshwarar attended an IoT course in Hyderabad for 5 days in March, and from there, people from the Indian Innovation Association approached me, telling me that my son is really talented,”
“Looking at my son pick up these skills so quickly, I wanted to spread the knowledge about IoT. I set up a company, Instrosoft Sdn Bhd, and we conducted a workshop for teenagers in the field for two days, with a simplified programming syllabus. We brought over a trainer from Hyderabad,” Jayacheetra tells us.
The international stage beckons
“Prathameshwarar then won the Innovative Robotics Challenge 2018, organised by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for his other invention, a portable radar for the blind. That got me thinking, what can we do at an international level?” Jayacheetra says.
“I broached the topic of an international level innovation to my kids, and before I could finish my sentence, they were already discussing ideas,” 15-year-old Prathameshwarar and 16-year-old Swarnavahini created the Desktop CNC machine that utilises lasers, and can be connected to a laptop.
The three packed their bags for their first international exhibition. It was surreal. “Many corporate giants approached us and were very keen on buying the product and the technology behind it,” Jayacheetra tells us that this is because the teenagers’ invention costs only RM50, but can be sold for USD $300.
At the India International Innovation Fair in Hyderabad from the 1st to 3rd December 2019, the teenagers won three awards. They are the Special Award from DEV-KIT-HAG Invention Association of Germany and the Innovative Business Solutions Award. The two also received a certificate of achievement from Indian Innovators Associations.
The family then made their way to Taiwan for the Kaohsiung International Invention and Design EXPO (KIDE) from the 6th to the 8th of December. There, they won a Special Award from Norton University, Kingdom of Cambodia and the Special Honour of Invention from Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills (TISIAS).
The two also claimed the Leading Innovation Award from Macao Innovation and Invention Association (MIIA) as well as the INTARG Special Award for Contribution to Promotion of Innovation, Poland and a Gold Medal from World Invention Intellectual Property Associations (WIIPA), Taiwan.
Because Jayacheetra could not get any backing from the school the teenagers attended, she signed them up for the innovation fairs under the banner of her company, Instrosoft Sdn Bhd.
“It wasn’t as if the teenagers won all these accolades because they were young. We had engineers and big corporations visiting our booth, talking to us about our innovation. It was quite spectacular,”
“They deserve recognition”
Single parent Jayacheetra’s drive to do her best for her children is motivated by their keenness in the field of innovations, “I must do my best for my children, they deserve the recognition for all their hard work,”
“Even in school, their teacher will tell them, “Besok ada competition, prepare a project,” and they will conceptualise and execute an innovation of his own within a short span of time. Of course, they will bug me to buy something or other!” she laughs.
The siblings, along with their 14-year-old sister Gayathiri, have never been discouraged from surfing the net, Cheetra tells us. “Kids these days are always on their gadgets, so I encourage them to use those gadgets sensibly. Learn about IoT, be inquisitive, watch DIY videos,”
As a result, the siblings have learnt to question their surroundings and the technology behind it. “They don’t consult with their teachers, and instead, turn to the internet to have their numerous whys answered,” she says.
“They are talented kids, and I didn’t want their efforts to go unrecognised. So I pooled my savings and took out a small loan. But my friends and family helped out with 90% of the cost. The Malaysia Telugu Foundation donated RM 1,400, and we were really grateful for that. The total cost of the flights, hotels, entry fees, and expenses came up to about RM 28,000,”
Jayacheetra assures us that Prathameshwarar and Swarnavahini have just dipped their toes into the field of innovations, and they are going to make Malaysia proud many times more. “This is just the beginning for us. We have a long way to go,” she smiles.
Jayacheetra can be contacted via email at [email protected]