Student-built innovations to help improve and save lives
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have developed new and practical life-saving innovations inspired from everyday problems, including improving the safety of cyclists on the roads and keeping the dengue menace in check.
A near collision alarm system fitted with an ultrasonic sensor and LED lights, "BikeSense," will alert the cyclist via a beeping alarm, when a vehicle is too close for comfort. At the same time, the system will flash a red light at the rear of the bicycle, to catch the drivers' attention and to warn them to keep at a safe distance.
Another group of students have come up with an auto-close drain cover which will block mosquitoes from entering the drain to breed, while allowing a large amount of water to flow through during heavy downpours. Named "Block-It-Out", the idea arose from the rising epidemic of dengue fever which Singapore is now experiencing.
Other practical inventions include overcoming the problem of domestic helpers falling from high floors and preventing soldiers collapsing from heat strokes.
The "WiseWindow" is a window which can swivel, allowing you to clean both the inside and outside of the window at the same time without risk of leaning out of the window. The invention will not only save time, but more importantly it promotes safety and is elderly friendly.
A heat alarm mounted on a soldier's vest it expected to help prevent heat-related injuries such as heat strokes, which may led to death in serious cases. Named the "Health Emergency Alarm Thermometer System" (HEATS), the device will light up if the soldier's body temperature rises above the norm, which is an early indication of dehydration and heat injury.
These safety devices are some of the winners at the 15th Engineering, Innovation and Design (EID) Open House and competition held on Saturday, 18 May, at NTU, which saw 79 student teams taking part.
EID Chairman, Associate Professor Rajesh Piplani, said many of the students have been inspired to improve and save lives of people after reading the many reports in the media of accident-related deaths.
"Recently, there have been reports of fatalities involving cyclists and also accidents involving pickup trucks, people suffering from heat injuries during training and workplace falls, which students are made aware of and are encouraged to develop solutions for," said Prof Piplani.
"Creating innovative devices which overcomes real problems is an integral part of the education process at NTU, because we want to instil a sense of responsibility in our students, pushing them to think out of the box while having to employ engineering concepts and knowledge learnt in classes. The process of applying theoretical knowledge is not easily taught, so NTU's Engineering, Innovation and Design course gives them the chance to learn such skills through hands-on work."
The annual event showcases prototypes designed and built by Year Two students from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who have taken the EID course as part of their curriculum. EID requires students to identify a real life problem, devise a solution for it, and develop a prototype and a business plan to market the idea.
This year 580 students submitted projects in five categories: Lifestyle, Design & Innovation, Energy & Environment, Health & Assistive Technology, and Safety & Security. In each category, the top teams bag cash prizes of $1,200, $800, and $500 for the first, second, and third place respectively.
For the Safety & Security category, BikeSense and WiseWindow won first and second prize respectively. HEATS won second prize in the Health & Assistive Technology while Block-It-Out also won the second prize in the Energy and Environment Category.
Teams are judged by alumni engineers and industry players, based on potential market value, technological innovation, cost (development and material) and the 'X-factor'. ST Engineering is the event's sponsor.