Her inventions were recognised by iCAN for the third consecutive year as she won two gold medals and one silver each in 2019 and 2018. Gomathy has won a total of 73 international awards and more than 50 national awards since starting her innovation journey in 2010.
JOHOR BARU: Fuelled by her passion in science and innovation, a teacher overcame her illness and continued to invent products which bagged her gold medals at the recent 5th International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN 2020).
SJKT Kangkar Pulai science teacher S. Gomathy, 47, clinched a gold medal each for her latest inventions — a mobile application that acts as a library for postgraduate students, as well as a series of hair products made from all-natural ingredients.
The mother-of-two, who has been receiving treatment for a slipped disc since December 2017, said her inventions were recognised by iCAN for the third consecutive year as she won two gold medals and one silver each in 2019 and 2018.
“The idea for the mobile application came from a problem I face as a PhD student where I have a long list of journals and reference materials that are tricky to keep track of.null
“So I decided to develop an application to keep tabs on all my notes and materials which I can access easily on my smartphone or laptop, ” she said in an interview.
Gomathy said she named the application Crunchy Centella Asiatica “MCCC” after another invention of hers, sweets made from the centella asiatica herb, commonly known as pegaga.
“Pegaga is a type of food known to benefit the brain but it is difficult to get kids to eat it because of its bitter taste.
“So I decided to incorporate the herb into recipes for murukku, chips, cupcakes and sweets, which were a hit with my pupils who called the snacks ‘brain tonic’, ” she quipped.
She named her mobile application after the snacks to reflect its function, similar to a brain, which stores information for her tertiary studies. “MCCC” was an acronym for Malaysian software, careful checking of references, clear and well written, consistent in the way the thesis is written.
For her award-winning all-natural hair products, which included hair serum, oil, soap and mask, Gomathy said it took about 30 tries across three months to finally get the chemical-free ingredients right such as coconut oil and a variety of herbs.
“After receiving a laboratory report to certify the products are safe and chemical-free, I gave samples to some relatives and friends who experienced hair loss due to chemotherapy for cancer and they said the products helped with hair growth.
“I created these products to satisfy my curiosity, with no intention to market them because I am a teacher, not an entrepreneur.
“I get my ideas from simple everyday things and sometimes it will pop up while I am interacting with my pupils in class and I will get them to experiment with me to make the classes more interesting, ” she said.
The products also won the World Invention Intellectual Property Associations 2020 Special Award and Toronto International Society of Innovation and Advanced Skills (TISIAS) Special Award.
Gomathy has won a total of 73 international awards and more than 50 national awards since starting her innovation journey in 2010, she said.
“My innovation and natural sense of curiosity has also rubbed off on my pupils who have taken a keen interest in the subject in class.
“Even during the movement control order period when physical classes were cancelled, I continued giving online classes and assignments for my pupils to experiment at home.
“I also started a YouTube channel during the period to benefit and share my lessons with pupils outside my school and hopefully, I can inspire more future inventors and scientists, ” said Gomathy, who has 23 years’ teaching experience.
With less than a year to go until she completes her PhD in education, she hopes to continue experimenting and inventing problem-solving products.
iCAN is an annual event organised by TISIAS and this year’s award was held online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, iCAN, which gives opportunities for researchers and inventors to display their inventions, was participated by inventors from 60 countries who presented their inventions through video presentations.
By : YEE XIANG YUN – THE STAR