Creating history, the SLIIT Faculty of Computing research project ‘CocoRemedy’ was triumphant in receiving the World Champion title at the World Summit Awards (WSA) under the 2021 Young Innovators category, held recently. The project was spearheaded by Samitha Vidhanaarachchi, Gnanod Chathuramadu Akalanka, Tinali Gunasekara, and Divyani Rajapaksha, graduates of the SLIIT Faculty of Computing. Dr. Janaka Wijekoon, Asst. Professor SLIIT supervised the project together with Co-Supervisor, Dilani Lunugalage, with expertise from Dr. Nayani Aratchige, Coconut Research Institute Sri Lanka.
Demonstrating cutting-edge technologies, CocoRemedy is the first mobile and web-based application to provide surveillance and identification of coconut diseases and pest infestations for the industry. The innovative solution uses deep learning, image processing, crowdsourcing, etc. to overcome a perennial problem plaguing growers, especially to manage the Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease (WCLWD) and Coconut Caterpillar Infestation (CCI), which devastate coconut cultivation. Noteworthily, CocoRemedy was honored as a Digital Social Impact Awards nominee at the ICTA organized ‘e-Swabhimani 2021’, and among were eight nominations representing Sri Lanka at the WSA, and only one of two championship winners bringing glory to the nation.
Commenting on the honor, Dr. Janaka Wijekoon said, “It is a historic moment for our nation as Sri Lanka has never had a Category Champion at the WSA. We are also extremely pleased to note that the CocoRemedy platform was recognized as an outstanding digital solution with relevance and the ability to create an immediate impact in communities and society. All kudos to the team who have worked hard to ensure the digital revolution taking place worldwide contributes to the development of indigenous solutions offering viable results.”
Sri Lanka’s initial foray into the WSA was in 2009 and this accounts for 18 awards received of which only two have been in the Youth category albeit for the education segment. CocoRemedy’s win has brought young Sri Lankans’ talent to the fore on a global stage. It is also the very first product to be developed by youth in the category of Environment and Green Energy and is the only product ever to be adjudged the Champion in the Young Innovators Category. CocoRemedy was also shortlisted in the WSA main category ‘Environment and Green Energy’ earning the unique distinction of being the only product from Sri Lanka to be shortlisted in this category.
It was one of only 119 shortlisted solutions this year. WSA aims to select and promote cutting-edge technology innovations with local relevance. Additionally, WSA is a United Nations initiative to recognize young people below the age of 26, who use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to take action and ensure the progress of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). In 2021, 45 winners were selected from applicants from nearly 200 countries with judging recognized as democratic, inclusive, and highly competitive.