THEY are degree-graduate students from electronic engineering and mechatronic engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FKE). The lectures in the faculty has always kept them enthusiastic in the field of engineering.
(From left) Chik Sheng Fei, Lim Thol Yong and Cheok Ming Jin.
They participated in UTM Robocon team where it open wide opportunities for them to learn, practice and apply hands-on engineering skills. Together with other participants, their team represented UTM in National Robocon competition in year 2012 and year 2013 where the team emerged as champion.
Being in an entrepreneurial-conducive environment which UTM has established, there are ample opportunities to enter competitions and to connect with academician entrepreneur. These inspired them to take on the challenges to push their limits.
They have participated in several competitions along with other participants, they were awarded champion in both Autonomous Hovercraft Competition 2014 and Dreamcatcher Software Hackathon 2015. As well as achieving first runner up in Imagine Cup Malaysia 2014 and Standard Chartered ICT 2014.
Under the mentorship and encouragement of Dr Yeong Che Fai, they have started their own venture as entrepreneurs. Dr Yeong is Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Electrical Engineering as well as a successful serial entrepreneur who has recently won First Place in pitching in Royal Academy of Engineering’s Leaders in Innovation Fellowships in London.
They started out to design smart home gadget, where they developed a prototype of smart plug controlled using Bluetooth and a timer which is aimed to save electrical energy of college hostel. They proposed the idea of installing this smart energy-saving system in hostel. However, they later found the installation cost was too high and it’s not practical to be done in small scale.
Three UTM graduates invented a smart cable and got fully funded on Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
Later, they tried another concept of 360-degree car sensor which was the Final Year Project of one of the co-founder – Lim Thol Yong which has won the Innovate Malaysia competition 2014. The idea is to install sensors around the car for blind spot and upcoming collision detection. They went through several rounds and pitched the idea to Cradle, but were rejected due to end-user installation barrier and car warranty issues.
They refused to give up, on the very same day of rejection, they identified another problem out of their own frustration, which is the overnight charging issue.
They bring forth their idea and participated in i-MSC Startup Challenge 2015. They seek market validation from phone users and retailers, and identified the problems related to charging and they continue to develop the prototype. They went through several rounds of competition and finally emerged as champion in the competition.
They pitched their startup idea to Cradle, and after several rounds of screening, they secured the Cradle CIP150 fund in June 2016. Since then, they have been constantly developing and testing the prototype. The charging cable is designed to stop power supply completely once it detects the smartphone battery is fully charged, to avoid prolonged charging which causes the battery degradation to happen quicker.
The challenge they face however is that some people mistaken that the phone can cut off the power supply completely, while in reality, Li-ion or Li Po battery which powers most of the phones in the market today, enters ‘trickle charge’ when battery is full, which cuts off at 100% but it recharges when battery level drops. This process continues until the power source is removed. Keeping phone battery at its max capacity for a prolonged period hasten battery degradation over time, which is why experts advise battery to be best stored at 50% capacity if it will be left unused for long period.
Charby Sense helps smartphone users to prevent that by cutting off the power supply completely after the battery is fully charged. The cable also has several smart features such as charging speed detection, speed booster, and it is reinforced with Kevlar fiber for extra durability. Charby Sense was launched on Indiegogo on December 5, 2017, and it was fully funded in just 18 hours. (http://char.by/utm)
They also developed two other complete prototype products, Charby Connect and Charby Battery app which they plan to launch in year 2018. The Charby Connect is a smart cable which provides a complete battery care system and the Battery App is a battery management app for users to optimize battery life and update themselves about battery health.
Now, the team are constantly looking for support, so that they can grow their business and continue to share their invention to benefit more people worldwide. They also hope to be able to inspire more young entrepreneurs to take the leap and together build the nation’s economy.