“All warfare is based on deception,” wrote Sun Tzu in his famous military textThe Art of War. In recent times, modern technology has been often used to help deceive the enemy, and this was the main idea behind the invention “Smoke and Fire”.
Through the use of a modular system to spew smoke and fire atop a tank, the enemy may be misled into believing that the tank has been knocked out. Dubbed the “Decepti-Con” by its young inventors, the system can also create a heavy smokescreen to evade the enemy.
“Tanks are the main attacking force on the land, and we came up with this idea by researching the threats that are posed to tanks,” said Sudharshan Sundaramahalingam, one of the two young inventors. Fellow inventor Harizh Kumaran said that they derived the idea from animals playing dead to fool their predators.
For their efforts, the pair of 11-year-olds from Jurong Primary School was awarded the Encouragement Award in the defence science category of the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award on 26 May.
Minister of State for Defence and Education Lawrence Wong was the guest of honour at the presentation ceremony at the Science Centre Singapore. In his speech, he commented: “The Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award complements our school curriculum as it develops in our students an open and inquiring mind, allowing them to learn important life skills like discipline, flexibility, critical thinking and problem solving.”
Emphasising the importance of innovation, especially among the youth, Mr Wong added: “Innovators and the things that they create are the lifeblood of our economy, more so now than ever before. Innovation occurs in every aspect of human endeavour and it comes in many forms.”
Held since 1986, the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award aims to stimulate creativity and innovation among Singapore’s youth. This annual event is jointly organised by the Tan Kah Kee Foundation, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and the DSO National Libraries.
A total of 1,024 entries were submitted for the competition, of which 64 won awards.
Among the winners were River Valley High School students Che Xiaoya and Teng Yifei. They were awarded the Merit Award in the defence science category for their invention, an audio-based authentication system that has a sound generation programme for entrance security.
The idea stemmed from the experiences they had while staying in a hostel that requires an access card for entry.
An intruder could easily gain access to high-security facilities if he gets hold of the access card, hence the need for a unique audio password that would allow only authorised personnel to enter the facilities, explained sixteen-year-old Yifei.
Through a novel mobile phone application, users can generate audio passwords on their phone speakers that match encrypted information in access control systems. The audio password for each authentication is different, thanks to a mutating key algorithm that ensures passwords are not replicated for unauthorised use.
The program has adapted to function across multiple operating systems, including the iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile. Said Xiaoya: “Our device is applicable in many fields. It could also be used in commercial buildings, so that there is enhanced security in corporate buildings or even hostels.”
The competition’s 64 award-winning inventions will be exhibited at the Science Centre Singapore from 26 May to 1 June.
Che (left) and Teng (right) receiving the Merit Award certificate from Professor Phua Kok Khoo, chairman of the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award Committee.