By Chris Teh
Have an idea you think has great potential? Then the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS) is for you.
A non-profit organisation which has been around for 30 years, MINDS fosters innovative thinking, ideas, invention and design in the hopes of encouraging youngsters to think out of the box.
“We also assist inventors in patenting their designs so that they can commercialise and market their inventions,” said Dr Chakr Nagara, vice president of MINDS Perak Chapter, a state branch of MINDS.
MINDS is organising a talk on invention competitions and a workshop on ‘From Ideas to Market’ at YMCA Ipoh on Saturday, September 21. It starts from 9am lasting till 4.30pm.
“The first session is to encourage attendees, especially school children to take part in the invention competition which will be happening in Kuala Lumpur,” Dr Chakr explained. “Apart from good prizes, hopefully, we are able to develop contestants’ ideas to a marketable level.”
He said that the ideas for device inventions are limitless.
“It could be a medical device or anything convenient and beneficial to the society,” Dr Chakr mentioned. “Hopefully, through the first session, we are able to effectively prepare future contestants and open the door to them for the competition in KL which will only be happening sometime next year.”
The second session, which starts from 1.30pm, will be chaired by Dr Chakr himself where he will be discussing hands-on ideas to the market, step by step.
“We want the public to realise that merely going to school and learning basic knowledge is not the end of one’s life or career,” he elaborated. “While one does what one does, people are still going to have to use their minds to help the society and if possible, they can gain from it commercially.”
According to Dr Chakr, the afternoon session is an introductory phase to the workshop which is a series of meetings to instigate ideas.
“You cannot just form an idea and want to patent it overnight. We have to take a ‘Step-by-step’ approach. It starts with developing an idea, designing it, go through the technical issues, test those issues and only then can you determine if the invention is marketable and can be patented,” he explained. “Patenting is almost similar to a copyright. One would not appreciate their original ideas and products being stolen by others, which is why patenting must be done after going through each step carefully and thoughtfully.”
Hardships will inevitably be present when ideas arrive at the technical section.
“Sometimes, ideas cannot be translated technically. One would not know for sure if other people have already invented a similar idea,” he said. “Patenting something costs a lot of time and money, which is why before everything else, we will be having a search engine.”
Elaborating on ‘search engine’, he said, “Search engine is a term used by MINDS as a process to search on existing patented inventions to save participants’ trouble from repetitive design. The workshop will further address the subject of ‘search engine’.”
“It is complex, yet interesting. Sometimes, it gets really inspiring to see people making money out of their successfully developed ideas which benefit society. In my opinion, it’s a win-win situation,” he expressed.
Chakr stressed the importance of teamwork when it comes to invention.
“Invention and design are not a one-man operation, it requires teamwork to be fully effective. Truly dedicated individuals who work together can definitely make things easier and faster,” he further expressed.
One of MINDS’ most prominent inventions was perhaps the Efinity EZ Water Filter System by Teng Yu-Mein and Robest Yong, which initially aids marginalised communities in rural areas without treated pipe water to obtain filtered water without the need for water pressure from a tap or electricity to run a pump.
The water filter system is now internationally utilised in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and other third world countries via a humanitarian effort initiated by the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organizations (MAPIM).