Thai women lead the way with award-winning inventions

national June 09, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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OUTSTANDING inventions by Thai women, including one that promises to change the lives of diabetics, have won international recognition.

“I’ve won a silver medal from the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva,” said Assoc Prof Dr Porn-anong Aramwit, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science. She was honoured for creating socks that can remove dead cells from the feet of diabetics. 
Her invention, when introduced to the market, will save people from the pain of undergoing dead-cell removal at hospitals. 
“It will save their time and money too,” Porn-anong said.
She vowed that when her socks hit the market, they would be available at a low price. 
Users only need to wear them for two hours and the dead cells fall off within two weeks. After that, a further removal process is not required for three months.
Porn-anong is keen to talk about the benefits of her invention, because they provided strong motivation that kept her going in research tasks. 
“I must admit that research is exhausting,” she said, “But aware that my job contributes to the healthcare of Thais, I am always telling myself to fight on.” 
She is now delighted with the prospect that millions of diabetics will benefit from her invention. 
Just as Porn-anong’s invention will make a difference in the healthcare sector, Dr Suwadee Kongparakul has an invention that promises brighter prospects for the environment. 
“It has huge potential in minimising environmental impacts from oil and chemical leaks,” the lecturer at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Science and Technology said.
Dr Suwadee won a gold medal at the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions for inventing reusable oil-absorbing rubber sheets that remove oil spills or chemicals leaked into water.
In addition to an ability to absorb the liquid parts of petroleum and water-insoluble solvents/liquids in a remarkably fast and efficient manner, the sheet can also be reused more than 30 times. 
But before such a great invention materialised, there was a lot of sweat and problem-solving. 
“Even with preparations, some chemicals will simply precipitate. Sometimes, I expect foam but none arises,” she recounted. 
Suwadee, however, enjoys her job and solving problems that come her way. 
“Challenges make my job fun,” she said. 
Another gold medallist from the same event, Dr Soamshine Boonyananta, said when lecturers do research they give clear examples to their students about how to apply their knowledge.
“It’s relevant,” said Soamshine, who teaches at Chulalongkorn Faculty of Education.
Her award-winning invention is Chula Clay, which is made from Asian green mussel shells. While it has great flexibility like Japanese clay, Chula Clay is more outstanding in that it boasts a pearly glitter. This innovative material does not need any kiln to dry and thus can be considered an eco-product.
All up, four Thai womem were honoured at the latest International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. The other one, Assoc Prof Dr Kosum Chansiri, received the biggest honour of the lot. 
Dr Kosum said: “I won a gold medal with congratulations of the jury.” 
A lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry at Srinakharinwirot University’s Faculty of Medicine, she created a DNA bio-sensor to detect Shigella and enteroinvasive E-coli.
“It’s going to be very useful to food exporters,” she said. 
Blamed for diarrhoea, Shigella and enteroinvasive E-coli are pathogenic micro-organisms often found in fresh meat, vegetables, fruit, and other foods. On many occasions, exported food from Thailand is rejected on grounds of Shigella and enteroinvasive E-coli contamination. 
Kosum’s team spent more than a year developing an efficient DNA bio-sensor that can quickly detect the micro-organisms with 100-per-cent accuracy. 
Her invention, just like the one by Porn-anong, will be on show at the upcoming Inventors’ Day 2014 Exhibition in Thailand. 
Organised by the National Research Council of Thailand, it will run from June 23-26 at Impact Hall 9 at Muang Thong Thani.

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