Through collaborations with students, academics and international scientists, UBD's Office of Research and Innovation fosters a vibrant research culture with the aim of further developing knowledge and innovation, industry partnerships and commercialisation of novel inventions.
Patents filed by the university prove the university's contribution to develop a knowledge economy and be at the forefront of research and development. UBD's innovative inventions have shown UBD to be a hub for cutting-edge research with opportunities for commercialisation.
The approval of patents are a clear indication of UBD's growth in research, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as its support of intellectual property rights. Holding patents rights as inventors is very appealing to research students in UBD, further encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship that will benefit the country.
UBD's champion Robocon team faced a unique challenge. In addition to a robot that can maneuver a route and perform tasks, they also had to develop a second robot that could lift it. Given weight and dimension restrictions at the time, the team had to develop a lifting technique along a fixed pole where existing ones proved unsuccessful. Limited resources and specific requirements eventually led to the creation of the "Load Lifting Assembly" using aluminium, bearings and crossing mechanisms necessary to solve the problem.
Chong Kim Onn from the Faculty of Science (FOS) explained that the students involved in the Robocon team were required to learn, think critically and come up creative solutions which eventually led them to develop a robot that could also be driven, a redesign for the competition held in Hong Kong. The assembly, which was confined within the 2x2ft machine for the competition, could be further redesigned to take on heavier loads. He said it could have potential uses for other small lifting machines or robots with similar space confines such as storage houses. Once adjusted to take on heavier loads, the lifting assembly could even lift up a car for changing car tyres.
UBD researcher Dr Piyasiri Ekanayake from Faculty of Science developed a method of producing porous ceramic bodies comprising large pores, which has been problematic in terms of porosity control as well as production cost.
The method to produce macro porous ceramic bodies is a rapidly developing technology due to its ability to perform internal burning with high efficiency in comparison to free flame burners. The burning process is more environmental friendly since it reduces the emission of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.
The patented method allows manufacturers to produce porous ceramic bodies of large pore sizes with pre-determined porosity and pore connectivity and in three-dimensional network with interconnected pores.
"The technology has important applications in heating systems for buildings, steel treatment, annealing of glass or ceramics, treatment of plastics, manufacturing of textiles, paper and rubber, and in food industry," said Dr Ekanayake.
This invention from the Faculty of Science (FOS) is a new material, Magnesium Lanthanum co-doped Titanium Dioxide which increases efficiency in solar cells.
With charge trapping and transport which is significantly enhanced relative to pure Titanium Dioxide, the new material was tested as photoanodes in Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC) and Perovskite Solar Cells (PSC). The enhanced charge trapping and reduced recombination showed a higher photoelectric conversion efficiency, up to 20% higher than pure Titanium Dioxide.
The location of large Lanthanum ions at lattice interstitials cause surface defects and inhibit crystallite growth. Increased defects and reduced particle size were favourable for the use as DSSC photoanode material.
Advancements in solar technology are a step forward in more affordable renewable energy and can have huge impact on reduced emissions and cleaner environment among others.
Smart electronic devices have already entered the market and many households are realising the benefits of having appliances that do more than what they're intended to and that includes save energy and notify users of problems. The patent application jointly developed by UBD and IBM researchers entails methods and arrangements for providing appliance power management.
A mechanism detects anomalous appliance behaviour or deficient power quality and takes control action accordingly. A connector arrangement provided for interconnecting the appliance with a power supply removes the need for communication infrastructure or any changes to the appliance or grid.
The SocketWatch is a smart plug that fits between a wall socket and an appliance, such as a refrigerator, and automatically "learns" the appliance's power-consumption patterns by locally sensing its operational parameters such as modes of operation, functioning times, durations.
Using machine-learning algorithms, the SocketWatch detects if an appliance is wasting any energy either due to malfunction and inefficiencies or by being in unwanted states such as standby mode for long periods of time. The SocketWatch can then take appropriate corrective actions such as switching off idle appliances or alert the users.
As the SocketWatch doesn't require any enhancements to the appliances of the power sockets, the SocketWatch can work with any existing appliances. Operations are also decentralised, autonomous and secure.
Attaching the SocketWatch to a device allows users to monitor an appliance's usage patterns and can be used to alert when it malfunctions.
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