Around 180 students from six universities gather at the HCM City University of Technology and Education on April 2 with their engineering-based innovations for the Engineering Projects in Community Service contest. — Photo courtesy of Arizona State University
The EPICS programme in Việt Nam was launched in 2018 jointly by the USAID Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance, Arizona State University, and Dow Vietnam STEM Program.
Students from Lạc Hồng University in Đồng Nai Province, who made an electric wheelchair, won the first prize.
The wheelchair incorporates extra batteries and a motor module into the frame, and has a solar panel.
The second and third prizes went to students from the University of Đà Nẵng – University of Science and Technology and the HCM City University of Technology.
The former made a protective coat for drivers for ride-hailing services, and said motorbike taxis are becoming increasingly popular, and their drivers face growing risks of being robbed.
The coat uses material that cannot be pierced, thus preventing life-threatening dangers even if they are robbed, and it is cooler in summer, they said.
Besides, it would automatically send their location and emergency signals to first responders and family members if the drivers press the SOS button on it, they added.
The students from the HCM City University of Technology made a smart greenhouse dryer designed especially for seafood and aimed at small businesses.
It helps prevent contamination, takes less time to dry and enables users to keep track of quality.
It uses solar energy, reducing energy use by 80 per cent.
The three inventions were chosen out of 34 entries from six universities.
EPICS is an internationally recognised service-learning model where students make engineering prototypes to address social issues. It was the fifth EPICS contest held in Việt Nam.
Students’ innovation and service-learning at Vietnamese universities are supported through Building University-Industry Learning and Development funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Innovation and Technology Alliance with Arizona State University in the US, and Dow Vietnam.
The partner universities in HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Cần Thơ are converting EPICS from an extracurricular activity into an elective course.
The adoption of international engineering programmes helps them train young engineers.