Fall detectors, solar cars and ready-to-eat soup on show at Singapore Polytechnic

SINGAPORE - When Singapore Polytechnic (SP) student Yeo Yong Ming's father had a stroke that left him paralysed on the left side of his body, his family struggled to find ways they could be alerted immediately in case he fell over.

At Thursday's SP Engineering Show, the 20-year-old Aerospace Electronics student and his team displayed what they hope will help carers of people like Yong Ming's father - fall detection sensors converted from Kinect sensors, which are normally used on Xbox360 consoles.

The concept was originally conceived by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), but the SP team modified it so that two motion sensors, instead of one, are placed in a room to pick up any sudden movements and relay the information to carers on their mobile phones. "When the accuracy of these (sensors) increase, it'll be a good system to get help for my dad," Yong Ming said.

Another group showcased the fourth edition of the 'Intellisense Bed' - equipped with features like a mattress cooling system and exit sensors to alert nurses when a patient tries to get up on their own.

Project supervisor Jaichandar KS said the cooling system combats the heat of the tropical climate, reducing the chances of bedsores developing.

Another team showed off their SUNSPEC 4 solar car which will take part in this year's World Solar Challenge race in Australia - in which a vehicle must cover the 3,000km route from Darwin to Adelaide on just two charges.

The SUNSPEC 3 had had to drop out of the 2013 race on day four. Team member Darren Ng, 19, hopes to drive the new model - as long as he is not called up for National Service. He said: "We built this car from scratch so I hope we can finish the race."

Sixty-five projects were exhibited at the fourth SP Engineering Show yesterday, which has been held annually since 2012.

Apart from the 53 final year projects by graduating engineering students, 12 projects by SP staff and researchers were also showcased. These included ready-to-eat soups and Nasi Go! - which turn traditional delights like chicken rice to onigiri (Japanese rice balls).

The SP Engineering Show will be open to members of the public on Friday from 9am to 5pm.

andreang@sph.com.sg