128 tech ideas win Mindef innovation awards

Soldiers who wanted to report suspicious activity previously had to call their superiors on radio systems and try to describe where they were and what they saw. Now, they can simply send a photo through an encrypted Android app, which puts their location on a map.

The app, called Project Davion, allows commanders to see what is happening on the ground in real time through the pictures uploaded.

For an app that is still in the trial phase, Project Davion already saves the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) $350,000 a year.

The app, produced by a team led by Major Ang Wei Hou, Battalion second-in-command, Second People's Defence Force, Signal Unit, has already been tested during large-scale events such as the 2017 National Day Parade. It won Best Project Award (Operations and Training) at the Mindef Pride Day yesterday.

Pride stands for Productivity and Innovation in Daily Efforts, and 128 of such awards were given to those from Mindef and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in recognition of their innovative ideas - which help save more than $197 million.

This event was officiated by Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung, who said innovation and improvement are imperative for Mindef and SAF to achieve mission success.

"Productivity and innovation are critical enablers for us to stretch each defence dollar, optimise manpower and become more effective in whatever we do," he said.

The innovative projects will be showcased at an exhibition at the Campus Centre, Building 2 of the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Open to the public, it will run from 9am to 5pm today and 9am to 1pm tomorrow.

One project being exhibited is a portable ammunition counter, developed by a team of mostly full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and their supervisors, including Military Expert 3 Robert Naidu, a senior supervisor at the Materiel Support Centre.

This counter, which is a keyboard made from recyclable materials with numbers marked from 1 to 80, can immediately check if one belt contains 80 rounds of ammunition.

Compared with the 10 minutes taken by NSFs previously to count and inspect one belt of ammunition, it now takes them about three. The ammunition counter is now used throughout the navy.

Shayna Toh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline '128 tech ideas win Mindef innovation awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe