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Wireless Innovations

Boxer Muhammad Ali once claimed he was so fast he could turn off a light switch in his hotel room and could jump into bed before the room was dark. That said, you could be even faster thanks to wireless technology created by a group of technology students in Cambodia. Their projects-Magic House World-E, where electronic appliances are controlled by Bluetooth on smartphones – may not seem like high-tech or breakthrough technology but imagine turning off a light switch from your phone while you’re in bed before falling asleep. If that’s not enough, ArrowDot Team, the group that has developed this technology, boasts one can even control robots from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.

Comprising students and graduates from the Institute of Technology, the team’s aim is to design this technology in such a way so that it can be used by all and sundry.

“If you have an Android phone, you can control lighting appliances and other electronics in your house without spending too much,” said Tep Sophatra, a team member and fourth-year student at ITC.

“The reason why we came up with this is because phone technology has access to it,” said Yim Bunchhat, a team leade. Due to the rapid growth in modern technology, a variety of applications could be controlled by smartphones, thanks to Bluetooth communication, he added.

A quick peek into the adjoining room where the group was exhibiting their invention revealed everything: a robot called Worl-E, inspired by the film character Wall-E, sits happily on a high shelf. Even though the group receives no funding for their projects, there’s no doubt these unassuming youngsters are an avid lot.

While most of the equipment they used to make the robot was bought in Cambodia, some parts comprise household electronic items. Sophatra said Worl-E had been designed to pick up rubbish and she hadn’t grown tried of making robots ever since she joined ArrowDot, despite her busy schedule. “We have put our own money, energy and time into making Worl-E,” she said.

To make it move, software called Mikrobasic Pro, routed throw a peripheral interface controller, is used on a microchip and the Bluetooth device is used to receive and control the robot. The same technology applies to household electrical appliances that are controlled by Bluetooth. Apart from a smartphone, the group said they could use a computer or radio frequency remotes to monitor appliances and the robot.

For Bunchhat and his team members, the prototypes are special because thought this technology may not be new in the rest of the world, it means a lot to a poor country like Cambodia.

ArrowDot hopes to change that. “If our country has no technology, then it seems we live in an era where people know nothing. How can we catch up with others who have already been to the moon? With this technology, we can strengthen and raise the profile of our country,” said Bunchhat. Aske how this technology would benefits consumers if investments were made in projects like Magic House, he said it would save money and time.

(Chenda KUN reports on how a group of Cambodians Students has created Bluetooth-controlled robots and household electronics via smartphones.)