BRING­ING HON­OUR to Sri Lanka with his in­no­va­tions Di­nesh Katugam­pala

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES - By Shi­hara Maduwage

Ray Award 2015 DRIVEN BY HIS PAS­SION FOR SCIENCE, TECH­NOL­OGY AND IN­NO­VA­TION, DI­NESH KATUGAM­PALA HAS AL­WAYS BEEN TRY­ING TO FIND NEW SO­LU­TIONS TO EV­ERY­DAY PROB­LEMS. EVEN AS A STU­DENT AT BOMIRIYA NA­TIONAL SCHOOL AND D. S. SE­NANAYAKE COL­LEGE, HE SHOWED PROM­ISE IN THE FIELDS OF SCIENCE AND MATH­E­MAT­ICS. AT BOMIRIYA NA­TIONAL SCHOOL HE AND HIS FRIENDS CRE­ATED A BIO GAS UNIT FOR THE SCHOOL CAFE­TE­RIA AS A CLEAN, ENERGY SAV­ING AL­TER­NA­TIVE. AT A SCIENCE EX­HI­BI­TION AT D. S. SE­NANAYAKE COL­LEGE, HE IM­PRESSED HIS AU­DI­ENCE BY TURN­ING COP­PER INTO GOLD – A ‘SCIENCE MAGIC’ AS HE CALLED IT.

How­ever, Mr. Katugam­pala’s most sig­nif­i­cant in­no­va­tion was the world’s first ra­dius me­tre – a de­vice to find the ra­dius of any sphere or arc. He in­vented the ap­pa­ra­tus in 2008, when he was a fi­nal year stu­dent of the Na­tional Diploma in Tech­nol­ogy (NDT) at the Univer­sity of Mo­ratuwa, fol­low­ing textile and cloth­ing en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to the young in­ven­tor - an engi­neer at MAS In­no­va­tions - his cre­ation hap­pened quite by chance.

“At that time, we were build­ing a house and I no­ticed that one of the arches was crooked. I pointed it out to the ma­son but he dis­agreed, claim­ing that it was per­fect. I could not ar­gue with him but I had a feel­ing that some­thing was

Mr. Katugam­pala’s goal is to mar­ket his prod­uct. He also wants his Square Dual The­o­rem to be in­cluded in math­e­mat­ics text­books and taught in schools

wrong with the arch and wanted to prove it. This is what led to my in­ven­tion,” Mr. Katugam­pala rem­i­nisced.

Be­fore build­ing the de­vice, Mr. Katugam­pala came up with a math­e­mat­i­cal for­mula to mea­sure the ra­dius of a part of a cir­cle. His math­e­mat­i­cal deriva­tion is called the Square Dual The­o­rem and is the ba­sis for the ra­dius me­tre.

In the year 2009 he patented both his cre­ation and the math­e­mat­i­cal for­mula.

How­ever, since then he has been work­ing to im­prove his ap­pa­ra­tus to op­ti­mize its use­ful­ness.

“The model I came up with ini­tially was very ba­sic; it con­sisted of two wooden rods. By 2010 I built an alu­minum ap­pa­ra­tus. In 2011, I man­aged to make it semi-dig­i­tized. For this I won the Pres­i­den­tial Award. In 2012, I built the fully-dig­i­tized pro­to­type and by 2013 I man­aged to cre­ate a com­mer­cial­ized ver­sion ready for the mar­ket,” Mr. Katugam­pala ex­plained.

Mr. Katugama­pala ex­plained that the ra­dius me­tre could be use­ful in sev­eral in­dus­tries in­clud­ing the tyre man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, me­tal and plas­tic pipe in­dus­try, ve­hi­cle body in­dus­try, ma­chine in­dus­try, con­struc­tion field and any other en­gi­neer­ing re­lated in­dus­try. It is also im­mensely use­ful in ar­chae­ol­ogy to fig­ure out the sizes of un­earthed arte­facts.

“This is the only ap­pa­ra­tus that can mea­sure the ra­dius of an arc. Be­fore this, the ra­dius of a part of a cir­cle had to be mea­sured us­ing man­ual gages, which was time con­sum­ing. But with this de­vice it can be done 100 per­cent ac­cu­rately within sec­onds,” he pointed out.

Mr. Katugam­pala has al­ready sold one ra­dius me­tre to a tyre com­pany. He said that he had re­ceived or­ders for sev­eral oth­ers as well.

His in­ven­tion has won him in­ter­na­tional ac­co­lades as well bring­ing hon­our to Sri Lanka. In 2012, it won him the sil­ver medal in the field of in­dus­trial equip­ment at the World In­no­va­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion in Geneva, or­ga­nized by the World In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Mr. Katugam­pala and his ra­dius me­tre has been nom­i­nated as a fi­nal­ist for the Ray Award 2015, a cov­eted award set up in Dr. Ray Wi­je­w­ar­dene’s name to recog­nise out­stand­ing in­ven­tions.

Mr. Katugam­pala and his ra­dius me­tre has been nom­i­nated as a fi­nal­ist for the Ray Award 2015, a cov­eted award set up in Dr. Ray Wi­je­w­ar­dene’s name to recog­nise out­stand­ing in­ven­tions. Dr. Philip Re­vatha (Ray) Wi­je­w­ar­dene, is cel­e­brated as a leg­endary vi­sion­ary, sci­en­tist and an in­ven­tor who ex­celled in many dif­fer­ent ar­eas of science in­clud­ing, agri­cul­ture, avi­a­tion,en­gi­neer­ing de­sign and re­new­able energy tech­nolo­gies

Dr. Philip Re­vatha (Ray) Wi­je­w­ar­dene, is cel­e­brated as a leg­endary vi­sion­ary, sci­en­tist and an in­ven­tor who ex­celled in many dif­fer­ent ar­eas of science in­clud­ing, agri­cul­ture, avi­a­tion,en­gi­neer­ing de­sign and re­new­able energy tech­nolo­gies. He is cred­ited with in­vent­ing the world’s first twowheeled hand-trac­tor ‘Land Master’ to help small farm­ers as well. As a sea­soned pi­lot and an avi­a­tor, he built sev­eral ul­tra-light air­craft and he­li­copters, and trained a gen­er­a­tion of pilots and air­craft tech­ni­cians.

In or­der to hon­our one of the great­est cat­a­lysts and in­ven­tors Sri Lanka had ever seen, the Ray Wi­je­w­ar­dene Char­i­ta­ble Trust (RWCT) was es­tab­lished in early 2011 to pro­mote Dr. Ray’s vi­sion and ideas in Sri Lanka and to help up­com­ing cre­ators like Dr. Ray him­self.

Co­in­ci­den­tally, one of Mr. Katugam­pala’s role mod­els was Dr. Ray Wi­je­w­ar­dene.

Cur­rently, Mr. Katugam­pala’s goal is to mar­ket his prod­uct. He also wants his Square DualThe­o­rem to be in­cluded in math­e­mat­ics text­books and taught in schools.

“There is no point in keep­ing the patent to my­self. There is no point in in­vent­ing if the in­ven­tions are not used. I want my cre­ation to be use­ful and I want to share my math­e­mat­i­cal the­o­rem with school stu­dents to help in their ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

The Ray For­ward 2015, or­gan­ised by the Ray Wi­je­w­ar­dene Char­i­ta­ble Trust, will be held on Au­gust 24 at the Bal­moral, Kings­bury.

PIX BY INDRARATHNE BALA­SURIYA

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