After clinching first place at the Mekong River Commission (MRC) River Monitoring Technology Competition, Cambodian students hope their innovative device can transcend the competition and serve broader national interests as an industrial product.

The student team from the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) took first place at the MRC contest. They developed a “Spinning Bucket Rain Gauge”, ingeniously modelled after ancient Khmer water gauges. This international event was part of the 4th MRC Summit, held in Laos from March 30 to April 4.

“Our group is eagerly awaiting collaboration with a company or sponsor to bring this to the next level,” said team representative Chea Pheng Ou.

Pheng Ou expressed gratitude towards the MRC for their support and substantial investment. He also conveyed his belief that, despite no immediate uptake, their team isn’t being sidelined.

“We’ve just got to give it some more time,” he said.

There has already been international interest in their prize-winning device, with two foreign firms inspecting the product. Pheng Ou expressed his hope for more proactive local involvement.

“Rather than wait for external funding, we’re hoping for cooperation from domestic entities for wider meteorological use and industrial application,” he suggested.

Pheng Ou underscored that the device is tailored for weather forecasting, flood mitigation, and managing water infrastructure. The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has indicated support for the team, granting them a forthcoming visit to a local weather monitoring station.

“We were positively received by the water resources minister who understands the potential of our technology. He expressed his desire to see it developed into a viable product,” he said.

At the competition’s close in Laos, the team showcased their product over three days, engaging with private companies and government departments.

“Our device offers a solution for any situation, irrespective of weather conditions,” Pheng Ou stated with confidence.

The rain gauge was a cooperative effort between ITC’s departments of Electricity and Energy Engineering and Water Resources Engineering.

“Four of us worked for three months under professorial guidance. We triumphed against competitors from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam,” Pheng Ou said.