Chevron supporting young Thai science innovators

The creativity and ingenuity of young Thais was on display last week as their inventions to help the elderly and disabled were featured at an international fair in Bangkok sponsored by the Thai unit of U.S.-based Chevron corporation in conjunction with the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Second Bangkok Mini Maker Fair brought together 345 Thai and foreign innovators who showcased 122 inventions and creations at more than 60 booths. The Fair was the largest of its kind in Thailand, and attracted over 5,000 visitors. It included the Enjoy Science: Young Makers Contest, which is part of the Chevron Enjoy Science project.

“We hope the event will strengthen the maker culture and the community, enabling the country to prepare for the Thailand 4.0 era,” said Chevron Thailand’s business support general manager Artit Krichphiphat.

Thailand 4.0 is a national strategy to transform the Kingdom’s culture and economy from one based on rote learning and manufacturing assembly to one driven by innovation, creativity, knowledge, and research and development. Sometimes referred to as Digital Thailand, it emphasizes higher technology and green technology. The government aims to accomplish this shift over the next 20 years.

The top two winners of the Chevron contest were teams from the King Mongkut Institute of Technology and Songkhla Polytechnic College. The King Mongkut team took top honors in the general education category with its development of a fall surveillance system for the elderly and disabled that uses a 3D non-contact sensor.

Songkhla Polytechnic College’s Team A won in the vocational education category with their invention of a cane equipped with a fall surveillance sensor. Each winner received $12,000 plus a study trip to the Maker Fair in the United Kingdom.

The Thai fair also offered activities designed to engage young people and spark their interest inventing and creating through workshops on 3D printers, drone-making, a robot contest, and electric parades.

“To instill a maker culture among vocational students is a workforce development strategy platform to align with the country’s increasing need for an innovation-led workforce,” said Mongkolchai Somudorn, director of research and development at the Office of the Vocational Education Commission.

The Chevron Enjoy Science program is a five-year initiative designed to promote awareness and interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among students across the Thai education system.

“We believe the enhancement of national competitiveness through innovations can be another drive toward the success of Thailand 4.0 strategy,” Artit said.

Chevron Thailand and the Science and Technology Ministry’s National Science and Technology Development Agency collaborated with the National Science Museum and the Office of the Vocational Education Commission to hold the contest.

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