By Mei Kuan

A public talk on intellectual property with a focus on patents was held by the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS) Perak Chapter in cooperation with Lions Club International on March 24 at the lecture hall of YMCA Ipoh.

The experience sharing session featured Redzuan Ali, senior director of patent engineering division of Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO), Robest Yong Han Aun, innopreneur and holder of multiple patents and Teng Yu-Mein, inventor of the Efinity EZ Water Filter System. Teng and Robest, the award-winning Malaysian duo, have been members of MINDS since the early 1990s.

When asked on the importance of social innovation, Robest explained, “There are many things that we can do to give back to society. As inventors, we too can play a part by using our creative gift to create something which will benefit the marginalised communities. Make them cheap and affordable so that the rural poor can receive them.”

“Every, I really mean every, motivational guru in the world would have used this phrase ‘Think outside the Box’ when they talk about creativity but I beg to differ. The question I asked them was: why do we need a box? Are we not supposed to think without borders which limit our creativity? They should be ‘Thinking without the Box’ instead,” he added.

Robest reminded the young innovators to be realistic in what they do, “Remember that the world does not owe you a living just because you have a patented invention. Evaluate your ideas yourself using my D.U.M.B.S Approach to Invention metaphor, which stands for ‘Doable’, ‘Useable’, ‘Marketable’, ‘Bankable’ and ‘Sustainable’.”

The Efinity EZ Water Filter System is Teng’s first invention in 2016 when she was a housewife. While on a social reach-out program to an Orang Asli community in Negeri Sembilan, she took notice of the water condition from which the people were drinking as their house taps were piped from the nearby streams.

Teng was shocked to see the dirty water and asked why the water was not filtered before consumption. Their reply was that the water from their taps did not have enough pressure and they did not have any electric supply for them to run a water pump.

Teng’s method was to create enough pressure into a container with water by using an air pump and forcing the water through a ceramic filter. Coincidentally, there was a competition organised by the Malaysian Foundation for Innovation for grassroots innovations and her innovation was selected as one of the six winners who received RM30,000 to produce a working model.

Once production was completed, the products were delivered to Orang Asli, NGOs, flood victims, natural disaster areas, squatters, war zones, refugee camps and people in need locally and internationally.

It is able to produce three litres of clean water in a minute and cater a household’s need of drinking water.

“It is my intention to help the people and I hope that this will change their lives because clean water is a need. Each family can maintain this system easily by simply taking out the ceramic filter to wash it. The filtered water can be used for sharing and cooking,” the amiable Teng enthused.

The complete set, which comes with a ceramic filter, an air pump and the Efinity EZ cap, is offered at RM150 for personal use (hikers, etc.) and RM99 for NGOs and humanitarian efforts. For details, contact Teng at 013 3377477 or email her at yumein72@gmail.com. Readers also can visit the Facebook page: EFINITY Social Enterprise.