Source of ingenuity

Mr Soh with a one-handed chopping board by students from the School of Chemical & Life Sciences, whose design he helped to improve.
Mr Soh with a one-handed chopping board by students from the School of Chemical & Life Sciences, whose design he helped to improve.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Walk into MakerSpace@NYP, and chances are you will find engineering student Soh Guo Dong in a corner somewhere, tinkering with various materials and machines.

"I'm here until they close the doors," said the 19-year-old design enthusiast. "(Since) the day I stepped in, three days after MakerSpace first opened last July, I have spent my whole NYP life here."

As one of five technical student assistant coaches, Mr Soh helps maintain the machines and ensure they run smoothly. He also helps students improve product designs.

Last September, hehelped four students from the School of Chemical & Life Sciences improve their design for a one-handed chopping board for the disabled, which was part of their course module. He suggested they make the second acrylic "clamp"- one of two clamps holding the food in place - removable and adjustable, so the board could be cleaned more thoroughly.

 
 
 
 

Mr Soh also sources for materials the students need for their products. "I went to different industrial parks in Ubi, Ang Mo Kio, Kaki Bukit... I negotiated (with companies) on whether it would be possible to get (materials) at a lower price and at a size that's suitable for students to use," he said. Now he offers a "non-profit, one-stop solution" for peers who give him their orders, which he then sends as a bulk order to industries.

Mr Soh, who aspires to be an engineer in the high-tech manufacturing industry, added: "I'll probably hire all my classmates, and hire the students as interns. It'll be like a family."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2017, with the headline 'Source of ingenuity'. Print Edition | Subscribe