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CU expo shows off researchers' innovations

A new type of gas cylinder, surgical masks coated with mangosteen extract, a sukiyaki restaurant's robot host and brain-activated computer games are just some of the innovative new products designed by Chulalongkorn University researchers at the 14th annual CU Academic Expo.

The new gas cylinder design by a university lecturer is made of composite material and uses filament-winding technology. The polyurethane cylinders come in bright colours like pink, green and light blue and look really attractive. They are also stronger and lighter than steel cylinders, weighing 18 kilograms compared to 31kg for the ordinary cylinders.

And there's another big advantage.

"This kind of gas cylinder is not suitable for making bombs like the steel ones are, so a company has produced them and aims to market them in the South where insurgents have created bombs from steel gas cylinders," explains Chamaipat Suphawattanabodee, 22, one of the expo's "ambassadors".



For the expo being held at Chamchuri Square, faculties with similar knowledge, research and innovations have been combined into "cities". The five "cities" are health science, science and technology, humanities, social sciences and interdisciplinary studies.

More fruit of CU research is shown in the display of hygienic masks that are coated with mangosteen extract and offer protection against tuberculosis, the H5N1 bird flu and harmful fungi.

Another of the expo's "ambassadors", 19-year-old Chawin Boriboon, showed how nanotechnology is used in plastic bags to keep fruits and vegetables fresher longer.

Heating things up in another display are sensors for real-time monitoring of environmental parameters. The ultraviolet germicidal lamp test strips and stickers change colour from blue to red and are useful for sticking on objects that might get hot. If the sticker is red, it's a warning to "do not touch".

CU's Engineering Faculty was showing off a robot that works at the Salmon sukiyaki restaurant. Created by the faculty's students, the robot greets customers, leads them to their seats and can even take photos for them.

Another Engineering Faculty innovation is computer games you can play without pressing any buttons - you simply use your brain. The neurofeedback games were designed to evaluate people with mild cognitive impairment and train their brain to improve their attention spans. The system's designer intends to improve it for commercialisation and sell it to hospitals.

"Ambassador" Wanpiya Kittikunsiri, 22, introduced a floating house, which was designed by CU's Architecture Faculty.

Many more products, all results of CU research efforts, are on display at the Academic Expo, which runs until Sunday at Chamchuri Square.


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