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Inspiring inventor, Sampath Thamel | Unisnap Heroes | Episode 01

Unisnap Heroes is a segment, part of Unisnap where we speak to inspiring individuals with extraordinary abilities, with the aim of motivating them to do better and also to create awareness on their capabilities as a form of inspiration. For the very first episode, we met Sampath Thamel, hailing from Nainamadama, Wennappuwa; a hidden hero with many accomplishments, conquering various obstacles. Even with a physical disability in his legs due to an accident in his childhood, he has not lost hope and decided to live with a positive attitude and pursue his dreams of becoming an engineer. His positive thinking, confidence, courage, dedication and mental strength has helped to defeat all difficulties and march ahead in life. Simply, he did not want to allow disability to become an impediment to success. He is an inventor, a researcher and an inspiration for all of us. 

However, during our conversation, he was able to enlighten us on some of the significant discrimination he had faced during the various instances in his life. The most shocking revelation was that he was even discriminated by one of the world’s renowned airlines. Naturally, we were compelled to dislike the organization in question, though it is one of the most popular airlines which is reigning in its brand value. Sampath was deeply hurt at such treatment, however that did not hinder him from achieving the best in life. He is a proud advocate of implementing improved facilities for differently abled individuals to uplift their living standards; specifically catering to their needs. Sampath believes that none of us are impaired until we think we are, in his case, unfortunately he underwent a terrible experience. Making the best out of it, he wishes nothing but to help his fellow mates finding solutions keeping the needs of people with special needs. 

 

Some of the notable accomplishments of Sampath are mentioned below :- 

 

Education

  • Master of Philosophy: Currently following a M.Phil. degree programme at the University of Moratuwa under a research called “Multitasking Stair Climbing Wheelchair”.
  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.): Joint major 4 year degree (Hons.) program in Applied Sciences.Followed Electronics as major one subject and Computing and Information Systems as major two subjects at Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.

Awards and Participations

  • Received a special evaluation by His Excellency The President Maithripala Sirisena as an Inventor on International Day of People with Disability – 2016
  • Was awarded the Gold Medal Winner for Rail Gate Control System using Fuzzy Logic, awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the 43rd International Exhibition of inventions of Geneva Switzerland in 2015 
  • Was awarded as the Best Inventor (“Dasis Award”) for Rail Gate Control System using Fuzzy Logic by Sri Lanka inventors Commission, at the “Sahasak Nimewun 2014” National Invention Exhibition. 
  • Rail Gate Control System using Fuzzy Logic became a finalist at the ‘Cost Effective  Best Solution for Rail Gate Crossing 2013 organized by Ministry of Higher Education Sri Lanka. 
  • Awarded the 1st Prize for Blind Guide Device at the “Sahasak Nimavum 2012” National Invention Exhibition organized Sri Lanka Inventors Commission. 
  • Awarded the 1st Prize for Panet Robot Vehicle at the “Softmania 2011” Software competition organized by Wayamba University of Sri Lanka
  • Awarded the Participation certificate for Line Following Robot at ” ROBOFEST 2011 organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT).
  • Awarded the 1st Prize for Planet Robot vehicle at INFOSOFT 2011” Software competition organized by Advanced Technological Institute (ATI), Naiwala.

Patent Certificates

  • Headlight Dimming Device Patent Certificate Number: 16259
  • Guiding Device for Blind People Patent Certificate Number: 17476
  • Rail Gate Control System using Fuzzy Logic Patent Certificate Number: 17477

Publications

  • W.S.R Thamel,KP Vidanapathirana , “Low Cost, Intelligent Traffic Light Controlling System Using Fuzzy Logic”, 30th Technical Session-March 2014, Institute of Physics Sri Lanka.
  • Thamel W.S.R, Kumara Yapa Y.A.P.A, “Implementation of automated security system for protecting equipment at remote BTS from unauthorized personal”, Applied Science, Business and Industrial Research Symposium (ASBIRES)-2013, ISBN 978- 955-4709-06-5.

Completed Projects

Rail Gate Control System using Fuzzy Logic

The main purpose of this project is to develop low cost and intelligence best solution for

presence rail gate crossing in Sri Lanka. This system consists of six units and the system

operation is done by a Main Controller Unit. If the Main Controller Unit fails to operate the

system correctly, an Error Detection and Correction Unit will detect that error and starts to

operate the system automatically. Furthermore a data logger (black Box) is used to save the

system conditions and if there is any fault on this system, it will be indicated to a technical

officer via SMS.

 

Headlight Dimming Device

Headlight Dimming Device is used to control the head/dim lights of vehicles, when travelling

at night. In Headlight Dimming device, a warning headlight system is used to dim the

headlights. Furthermore, this device will dim the vehicle’s headlights when a vehicle is

entering a road, in a traffic jam, in a junction where traffic lights exist, in a pedestrian

crossing, and in a railway crossing.

 

Planet Robot Vehicle

This is a robot vehicle named Planet Robot Vehicle, which can be controlled by software

called Robot Walker. From the software the vehicle can be navigated in order to take

environmental information (temperature, light intensity), take samples of objects using the

robot arm and take a video transmission of the place where the Planet Robot Vehicle is

Situated.

 

Checkers Playing Robot Arm using Fuzzy logic

This robot can play the classic checkers game by using its robot arm and thinking logic. The

system will calculate the fuzzy values for each piece by using different types of membership

functions and will move the best pies to a more efficient position on the board. This project

was developed to fulfil the requirement for the Artificial Intelligence subject in 4th year.

 

Guiding Device for Blind People

Blind Guide Device is designed as a substitute for the white cane. This device can detect the

object without touching it and can be used identify object colour e.g. dress colour. If there is

any object in front of the blind person the device will indicate that by changing a lever (that is

connected to the hand) according to the object distance.

 

Security System for BTS (Base Transceiver Station)

Identifying an unauthorized person who enters to a BTS is a difficult task to presence security

systems without informing to the thief. As a solution this project proposed to attach a key tag

to the key which contains a RF module in order to detect the authorized person when he

comes closer to the door of the BTS. If someone opens the door without the correct key, the

system will send warning massages to the site engineer via SMS and Call. This key tag can

work for more than 10 months. This project was developed to fulfil the requirement as an

industrial training project in training period of 6 months.

 

Sewing Machine Monitoring System

Most of the available sewing machines in garment industries are based on mechanical

developments and do not have any platform to make them smart. On this project I proposed

and successfully implemented a solution that can monitor performances of sewing machines

based on several parameters. These information are very useful for Managers, Technicians

and Machine operators especially in decision making. This solution was proposed for a

competition of “ 500 Hours challenge” organized by Brandix.

Here at Unisnap, we dream of changing the world for the better, thus we believe that Sri Lanka cannot become a strong economy, without being an inclusive economy; an economy which is inclusive in gender, ability, ethnicity and other social parameters. People with disabilities have to be integrated with the mainstream. Thus, corporates, civil society and governments must come together to encourage the gifted individuals as this for the betterment of the society. That is the main purpose of this series, ‘Unisnap Heroes’. We are merely doing this series without expecting any sort of monetary gain; simply for the purpose of raising awareness and inspiring youngsters. 

Let us all get together in wishing Sampath for a brighter future, to achieve all his dreams; achieve life, so that he can further inspire our lives for the better. Do let us know if you would like to get in touch with Sampath or you may even send him an email on sampath_rt@yahoo.com

Meanwhile, stay tuned with ‘Unisnap Heroes’ for our next episode! 

 

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