Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Tsunami Detector Device from Student of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)

My name is Muhammad Zhafran Yudhistira, a student of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science (FMIPA) Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

This is the story how my team and I won The Most Outstanding Idea in the Science category at the Tanoto Student Research Award (TSRA) for our tsunami detector device.

A tsunami is a natural disaster that can cause damage and claim a large numbers of lives, as happened in Palu and Aceh. These two incidents have certainly made an impression on the minds of many Indonesians; we feel that something should be done to reduce the impact of this disaster in the future.

In class, we learn many things about the environment and how a phenomenon can happen: we also learn to measure a phenomenon and learn the basics of sensors. In our lectures on measurement methods, we were trained to be able to learn the early signs of natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and tsunamis so we can help the community.

In August 2020, I heard that the Tanoto Student Research Award (TSRA) National competition was open. Tanoto Foundation is an independent family philanthropy organisation founded by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto in 1981. We formed a team, with me as a group leader with Mozaki and Yoma, supervised by Mr. Mikrajuddin Abdullah, our lecturer.

In Indonesia, the tsunami detector system is still classified as an ineffective device because it cannot detect in real-time, is very expensive, and is prone to be stolen. So we were determined to make a better tsunami detector. The problem we faced was to find the right reference and data as the basis for testing. We also found a journal that contained low tide velocity data during the tsunami tragedy in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

During the testing process, we experienced failure while trying our detection device. After experiencing three glitches, finally, our device succeeded in detecting low tide by measuring water velocity at different depths – a cheaper and more efficient method.

This project won a competition against teams from other big universities. My team and I are grateful for being able to get a lot of guidance and learning that helped us get here.

I learned a lot of useful lessons from this TSRA National Competition. I also found friends who had bright ideas in this competition. We will publish our work in a journal so the device can be used on a large scale to reduce the number of victims affected by future tsunamis.

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