20 February 2014 – Three International Medical University (IMU) Bachelor of Pharmacy graduates are runner-ups at the Invention and Innovation Awards 2014 held in conjunction with Malaysia Technology Expo 2014 at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur. This is the second time that this team has won an award for their inventions. The team with the name ‘Ipharm’ consists of Lau Dah Yun, Raymond Foo and Harvey Chow. These graduates who are now working as pharmacists at Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Malacca respectively, started studying their 4-year pharmacy degree in IMU in 2008. Their experience in hospitals spurred their creativity to invent the ‘Multipole’, a convertible movable IV pole. This instrument enables patients to move around easily without the impediment of a conventional IV pole. It is detachable from the base and can be placed comfortably on shoulders of patients who intend to remain mobile. Commenting on the invention for the competition, Dah Yun said,
“The three of us work in the hospital and we always want to do something to improve the healthcare setting. Through observation, we discover that patients have a lot of inconvenience using the conventional IV stand. That’s why we decided to improve the IV stand. We have a lot of cool ideas. From the ideas, we created the prototype. The first one is not that good but after numerous attempts, we finally got the prototype that really works. However a lot of improvement is still needed.”
This team took six months to piece together their invention. Among their main concerns were to ensure that the Multipole is stable, convenient, comfortable and light. Proper selection of materials used was of paramount importance. There were several prototypes before the design of Multipole was finalised. The final prototype weighs a meagre 0.68kg which is only 1.13% the weight of a 60kg patient. A smaller and lighter model of similar proportion was also created for children.
“Even though we are working in different states in Malaysia, we are able to communicate and discuss about our ideas and product development, thanks to technology. Decisions are all made online too. We do have disagreement at times and things still work well in the end. Hopefully it still does in the future. Few years back when we first join Itex (another innovation competition), our team consists of 6 people. Unfortunately, some left us and now it is 3 of us. We have a small group now, but we are always looking for fresh blood and talent to boost our performance. That’s why we always approach our batchmates and even the juniors to join us in the quest.”
Being working graduates, it is challenging trying to balance the time after work for innovation development. However, passion and support from friends, family and colleagues encourages them to persevere and chase their dreams. They also provide a lot of valuable ideas and comments to these innovators.
“Basically, joining the competition is part of our intention to show/share with others about our ideas and innovation. It is also our hope that this can attract more people to join our innovation. It is not cheap to participate and we have to fund it ourselves (luckily we are working already). Of course, we want to win as well and we actually win too. This time we are the first runner up. We are happy with the achievement as it means recognition for our products. It is a very good experience when we get to learn a lot from others as well.”
While studying in IMU (in their fifth semester), Lau Dah Yun and his group of friends entered the International Invention and Innovation Expo and they won First prize. Their winning invention was a cough syrup dispenser for the blind.
More information on IMU’s Bachelor of Pharmacy