Sticker sensor detects cracks in glass doors, windows

Temasek Polytechnic graduate Luke Lim developed a sticker sensor that can detect cracks in surfaces like glass doors or window screens. Called Shatter Alert, his innovation is patent-pending
Temasek Polytechnic graduate Luke Lim developed a sticker sensor that can detect cracks in surfaces like glass doors or window screens. Called Shatter Alert, his innovation is patent-pending.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Imagine a sticker that can detect cracks in surfaces like glass doors or window screens.

Mr Luke Lim, 25, has designed just that, after three years of toying with the concept and testing different materials.

The idea started as a project with a coursemate when he was in his final year at Temasek Polytechnic (TP), reading computer engineering.

"We wanted to create a sensor that would activate only when the window is broken. Existing alarm and sensory systems are reactive to other sounds like thunder," said Mr Lim, who graduated from TP in 2012.

"But we couldn't commercialise it at that point because the technology was too expensive and we had to find a way to bring the cost down."

After graduating, Mr Lim, with the help of his lecturer Kok Boon Kiong and guidance from TP's entrepreneurship centre, developed a prototype that has been on the market since September last year.

It is available through Glass Security, a company Mr Lim set up with a co-founder, who is graduating from university this year.

Mr Kok, a senior lecturer in infocomm and network engineering, said Mr Lim worked hard on his project, even during his national service.

"He would burn his weekends coming to TP to find me, continue working on the product and doing research. There's a lot of trial and error and using different methods, and he learnt a lot. He has the belief and passion in his idea, and so I supported him," he said.

In 2013, Mr Lim was awarded a seed grant of $50,000 from Spring Singapore for his patent-pending technology, now known as Shatter Alert.

"Based on the touchscreen technology of smartphones, we made the film thinner and more flexible, so that it's possible for it to be attached to surfaces," he said.

The transparent sticker sensor can be stuck on surfaces of any material such as plastic, glass or concrete.

It costs about $300 to be installed on two car windows, along with an alarm system.

Mr Lim said that he has finalised talks with a Malaysian distributor to supply the product there and is also exploring the market in India.

The technology can potentially be used in support structures such as bridges and buildings, he added.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2016, with the headline 'Sticker sensor detects cracks in glass doors, windows'. Print Edition | Subscribe