A group of young inventors from SJKT Puchong has secured the Gold Award in the Virtual Innovation Competition 2021, held in late September.

The team of 10-year-olds, namely Nikhilesh Ram Murali, Abhinayya Kumar, Navilashini Palany, Shaanmuga Nathaan Ramesh, and Selvakannan Gengarajoo, swept the top prize in the virtual competition held by Universiti Teknologi Mara Kelantan, Branch, with their invention of a degradable and disposable face mask.

Speaking to Astro Ulagam, M Rathi Sai, the mother of Shaanmuga Nathaan, said that the students got the idea to come up with the mask after spotting one of their favourite teachers in school having issues with breathing and moving around while wearing a face mask, when the schooling session reopened earlier this year.

"The invention is basically a cloth mask with a patch added onto it. Dried ayurvedic plants with known medicinal qualities were then inserted into the pouch, and the masks were given to about 15 people to test out, including the teacher.

"All the test subjects gave positive feedback about the mask, saying it assisted their breathing, and so on," Rathi said.

The mask stays effective for about four hours, after which the plants can be disposed off in plants to become compost, while the mask can be washed and reused, Rathi added.

Based on the good feedback received on the invention, the students, with the support of the school headmistress Madam Packiam, and science coordinator Chitra Subashini, decided to give a shot at joining a competition.

They first participated in the World Youth Invention and Innovation Award, held virtually from Indonesia, back in August, and won a bronze medal. This was followed by a silver medal in the World Invention Competition and Exhibition (WICE) in September.

According to Rathi, the young inventors are fired up with their victory, although initially, they had joined for the exposure.

Well done, young champions! Keep inventing and achieving greater things!

Photo source: Rathi Sai