Office of the Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Malaysia
Malaysian Industry‑Government Group for High Technology
California innovation experts counseling Malaysia’s development drive
An innovative, high-tech “smart village” built in Malaysia provides a potential global template for addressing rural poverty in a sustainable environment, say international experts meeting in California’s Silicon Valley.
Rimbunan Kaseh, a model community built north-east of Kuala Lumpur, consists of 100 affordable homes, high-tech educational, training and recreational facilities, and a creative, closed-loop agricultural system designed to provide both food and supplementary income for villagers.
Malaysian Dato’ Tan Say Jim detailed the project Monday at a special meeting in San Jose of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) — a unique assembly of all-star international and Malaysian experts and leaders created to guide sustainable Malaysian development.
The “smart village,” located on 12 hectares in the Malaysian state of Pahang, includes a four-level aquaculture system whereby water cascades through a series of tanks to raise, first, fish sensitive to water quality, then tilapia (“the world’s answer to affordable protein,” says Mr. Tan), then guppies and finally algae. The latter two products are used to feed the larger fish.
Filtered fish tank wastewater is then used to irrigate trees, grain fields and crops such as flowers and fresh produce, the plants grown individually in novel hydroponic devices. The “auto-pot” is a three-piece plastic container that automatically detects soil moisture levels and waters plants precisely as required, reducing needs for costly fertilizers and pesticides as well as water.
Organic waste is composted to encourage worms and other organisms on which free-range chickens feed together with the home-grown grains.
In addition to access to reliable food supplies, villagers augment their monthly income by an estimated $400 to $650.
“It is a complete loop; a modern farm — one that could even exist on the rooftop of a building,” says Mr. Tan of IRIS Corporation Berhad, which spearheads the public-private partnership.
The energy-efficient homes (roughly 100 square meters – 1,000 square feet) require 10 days to construct, in part from post-consumer materials, and cost between 50,000 to 60,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($16,000 to $20,000).
The village’s solar-generated power is complemented by biomass energy and mini-hydro electricity.
Rounding out the design: a community hall, resource centre, places of worship, playgrounds and educational facilities equipped with 4G Internet service supporting both e-learning and e-health services.
Photos of the “smart village” are available for download online at https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3960397/smart%20village%20photos.zipA video depicting home construction is online here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvXaWmlB6Wg
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