ITE students use AI to tackle real-life problems

ITE students Glenda Chong and Chew Chu Xuan developed a mini robot to remind elderly persons to take their medication in a timely and correct manner. Mr Chew said he wanted to help those facing the same problem as his grandfather, who had trouble rea
ITE students Glenda Chong and Chew Chu Xuan developed a mini robot to remind elderly persons to take their medication in a timely and correct manner. Mr Chew said he wanted to help those facing the same problem as his grandfather, who had trouble reading the instructions as he could not understand English.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Their projects are part of scheme to equip students with knowledge on practical AI use

Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students have used artificial intelligence (AI) in projects that aim to solve real-world problems.

Among these projects are a mini-robot that reminds elderly patients to take their medication and an interactive signboard that "catches" errant cyclists at void decks.

These projects are part of a programme jointly launched by ITE College West and Intel, with the aim of equipping students with technical knowledge on the practical use of AI.

The pilot Intel Artificial Intelligence for Youth (AI4Y) programme had 1,120 students enrolled last year, with 23 developing a total of nine AI projects.

Students could opt to join a boot camp that engaged them in practical workshops and work on a final hands-on project to showcase their skills.

AI4Y hopes to reach up to 15,000 students, and will be rolled out in phases starting with the School of Electronics & Info-Comm Technology in ITE College West.

"The ITE-Intel partnership and AI4Y programme will go a long way in equipping our students with AI social and technical skills for real-world applications," said Ms Low Khah Gek, chief executive of ITE.

These real-world applications included coming up with a potential mini robot to remind elderly persons to take their medication in a timely and correct manner.

An alarm notifies the user when it is time to take the medication. The user can then scan the medicine packet and have the instructions, including the dosage and purpose of the medication, read to them in their preferred dialect.

"My grandfather had trouble reading the instructions as he couldn't understand English," said Mr Chew Chu Xuan, who worked on the project with teammate Glenda Chong. "I wanted to help those who faced the same problem as he did."

The two 18-year-old students are now working on integrating this program with a toy Alpha Mini robot, and to enhance its usability.

 
 
 
 

Other projects included an interactive signboard that aimed to deter errant cyclists in void decks by capturing their faces on the board.

The students were inspired by the recent ban on personal mobility devices, and wanted to come up with a solution to promote socially responsible behaviour.

In another project to promote recycling, students used AI technology to sort product packaging into correct categories. This was carried out with shampoo dispensers, plastic bottles and egg crates.

All projects are currently in the prototype stage.

Meanwhile, 20 lecturers from the three ITE colleges have undergone five-day training provided by Intel. By the end of June, 60 staff across all schools should be AI-trained to use the AI4Y programme.

"ITE Singapore is the first deployment of the Intel AI for Youth programme in Asean countries," said the College on Tuesday.

The students were also eligible for a two-week exchange programme to South Korea.

Through this collaboration with ITE, Intel hopes to "democratise AI by empowering youth with the necessary AI skills", said Dr Anjan Ghosh, global director of the Programme, Partnership and Policy Group, Intel Corporation.

Beyond empowering youth, ITE also hopes to extend the AI training programme to adult learners as well, so that they can be AI-ready in the workplace.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2020, with the headline 'ITE students use AI to tackle real-life problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe