SUTD students add maths to design for a better world

Inspired by the haze, SUTD students (from left) Chew Cheng York, Khaw Jien Yi, Goh Xin Ro, Tan Yu Da, Aastha Chouhan and Tan Yee Ying came up with Cleansecopter, a drone that sucks up haze particles.
Inspired by the haze, SUTD students (from left) Chew Cheng York, Khaw Jien Yi, Goh Xin Ro, Tan Yu Da, Aastha Chouhan and Tan Yee Ying came up with Cleansecopter, a drone that sucks up haze particles.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

A prosthetic hand sensitive to heat and pressure and a drone that sucks up haze particles are among 52 projects on display at 3.007 Ideas for a Better World, an exhibition by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) at its Changi campus.

Now in its fourth year, the exhibition, which is on until tomorrow, features the work of first-year students in the Introduction to Design course.

The projects are themed around making the world a better place, and incorporate elements of mathematics, the social sciences and physics in addition to design. Assistant Professor Christine Yogiaman said: "When students see design through the lens of physics and maths, they see it differently."

One of the projects featured is a 3D-printed prosthetic hand, called Raptor Revolution Prosthetics.

A band on the user's arm picks up signals from nerves that move the fingers, while sensors measure heat and pressure sensitivity, and send vibrations that indicate if the hand is gripping something too strongly or holding something that is hot.

The project aims to provide amputees with an affordable alternative to traditional prosthetics, which can cost more than $40,000.

"We want to make the world a better place by making prosthetics more accessible to people who really need them," said Mr Chan Wei Ren, 21, who was in charge of programming the hand.

Mr Chan added that the 3D printing process helped reduce production costs of the hand to about $50.

The eight-person team aims to make documentation of their process available online freely, so that anybody can make their own version of the hand and improve on it.

Another project on display is the Cleansecopter, a drone that uses air filters to suck up haze particles.

Inspired by the recent haze, the six-person team wanted to create something that would allow outdoor events to proceed in the event of the haze.

Other projects on display include foldable and stackable disaster relief shelters and wearable sensors that can measure blood alcohol levels.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'SUTD students add maths to design for a better world'. Print Edition | Subscribe