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Innovative projects show that SP CAREs

Published on Mar 7, 2012 8:40 PM
Mr Dexter Yeo demonstrating the use of the automated tilting toilet seat, which took his team one year to build, at the SP CARE handover ceremony and exhibition yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

This article first appeared in The Straits Times on March 7, 2012.

Wheelchair-bound since he was 19, Mr Johnny Ang is one of Singapore’s well-known mouth painters. But because he used to paint so much, a mechanical easel that he used would break down every few months.

He would then have to call in a technician from Singapore Polytechnic to fix the machine which it had donated to him seven years ago.

“They would come down and take a look because they knew it was very important to Johnny,” said the 72-year-old’s companion, Ms Julie Chia.

Now, he no longer needs to call for help.

As part of Singapore Polytechnic’s Centre for Applications in Rehabilitation Engineering (SP CARE), a group of four engineering students have helped modify the mechanical easel and made a new one for Mr Ang.

Called Easel For The Artist, it is touted to last much longer without breakdowns.

“We are very satisfied and happy to have come up with this to help him,” said Mr Benjamin Jude, one of the students who spent eight months making the machine.

This project is one of 14 final-year efforts by engineering students that will be donated to various hospitals and homes.

In a handover ceremony and exhibition yesterday, the innovations were presented with demonstrations by the students.

They were designed with the aim of helping to make the lives of the disabled and elderly easier.

One innovation is an automated, portable toilet seat.

It can tilt upwards so that it takes minimal strength for the elderly to stand up when they are done.

Mr Dexter Yeo, one of the students who worked on it, hopes that this product could one day be further developed and mass-produced.

The new easel for Mr Ang has caught the attention of Mr Thomas Chua, who has indicated an interest in commissioning one for himself. The 31-year-old motivational speaker is paralysed from the chest down.

“I want to be a mouth painter, so it would certainly help to fulfil my dreams,” he said.