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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

Mechanical Engineering students are awarded National Runner Up in the 2020 James Dyson Awards

Published: 7 December 2020
Mechanical Engineering students

Course mates Frederick, Bryan and Shawn, all studying MEng Mechanical Engineering at University of Southampton Malaysia, were awarded the National Runner Up prize in the James Dyson Award 2020.

The team’s core motivation was wanting to help mitigate the global issue of microplastics in our waterways, oceans and food chain. After weeks of careful research the team  found that certain types of bacterial are able to ‘absorb’ microplastics in polluted water.

With this information, the team developed OFlow. It uses biodegradable scaffolds inoculated with P.Flourescens bacteria to capture unfiltered microplastics by current water treatment plants, before being discharged into the river systems.

The highly motivated the students overcame the additional obstacles in place by being in the middle of a global pandemic. Having travelled back to Malaysia the students were unable access to the University’s laboratories, computers required to run simulations and only online access to academic staff to provide feedback. Despite this they developed the concept over multiple hours of Skype sessions.

Speaking of his experience Shawn outlines

All of our discussions were through frequent Skype sessions, enabling us to motivate each other, discuss the latest iterations and next steps in development. Although we didn’t have access to all the technology to test our product, we’re immensely proud to have been awarded National Runner Up.

We learned so much throughout the process and despite the pandemic and shift to online learning, we all adapted our working style. We were determined to not give ourselves a reason to underachieve in these conditions, but in fact to pick up on the resources that would make collaboration remotely work in our circumstances.

For more information on the device, please visit the James Dyson site.

In the picture left to right

Frederick Wong Kui Siung – MEng Mechanical Engineering, Automotive

Bryan Chow Kai Jie – MEng Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics

Shawn Navarednam - MEng Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical (Project Lead)

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