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Student-built innovations help to improve, as well as save lives

20 May 2013

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have developed new and practical life-saving innovations inspired from everyday problems.

NTU students show off their 'BikeSense' invention
NTU students show off their 'BikeSense' invention

Among these are new methods to improve the safety of cyclists on the roads and to keep the dengue fever 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 stroke.

The 'WiseWindow' is a window which can swivel, allowing both the inside and outside of the window to be cleaned at the same time without having to lean 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 Professor 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.”

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