More than 100 participants attended the recent forum entitled “Smart Environment: A Challenge for Digital Cities” in Cyberjaya campus. The forum was jointly organised by the Centre for Alumni (CfA) and the MMU Digital Cities Research Institute with five distinguished panellists with a moderator, Dr. Alan Downe, Research Fellow with the Digital Cities Research Institute.

The invited panellists were Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Pro-Chancellor of MMU and Founding Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services; Mdm Norliza Hashim, Chief Executive of Urbanice Malaysia; Mr Zikry Kholil, social entrepreneur and Co-Founder and COO of the Incitement Movement; Prof. Ir. Dr Hin-Yong (Derrick) Wong, Director of the MMU Digital Enterprise Research Institute and Mr William “West” Follmer, a U.S. diplomat responsible for the Environment, Science and Technology Portfolio with the Economic Section at the Embassy of the United States of America (Kuala Lumpur).

During the forum, the audience and the panellists shared views on the intersection of Smart community planning and the environment. Challenges included making the right choices about the right technology, managing e-waste and discarded plastics, energy conservation and sustaining biodiversity. Panellists agreed that, in many ways, the most pressing task ahead is to foster change in city-dweller’s perspectives, building awareness and urgency in overcoming environmental degradation in urban areas.

Apart from that, S.M.A.R.T Future Bootcamp was carried out by the Research Institute for Digital Lifestyle (RIDL) at MMU Melaka campus. A total of 29 school students from different schools and 9 members of the public participated in this programme. The Bootcamp was divided into three sessions: Fun and Play with Graphics on Python, Make Your First IoT Device on Your Own, and Experience a Drone Demo.

In the first session, the participants learned how to move a ‘turtle’ figure across the screen to create various colourful designs in the Phython environment. They were also exposed to hands-on session whereby the participants had the opportunity to control some light-emitting diodes (LEDs) using an Arduino single board microcontroller via an Android smartphone application during the second session.It also helped the participants to understand how various devices in a house could be controlled wirelessly through a smartphone app.

The participants were also treated to a drone-flying demo where the members of RIDL demonstrated their skills in manoeuvring drones around MMU Melaka vicinity. It is hoped that this programme will cultivate the school students’ interest in computer programming and electronic engineering for their study pathway.