16-year-old Singaporean exhibits invention at CES 2019

Choa Chu Kang Secondary School student Sid Mazumdar is the founder of Newton's Meter, an advanced micro-electronic personal safety device. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

LAS VEGAS - Sid Mazumdar was waiting for his 'O' level results last week but the Choa Chu Kang Secondary School student had a welcome distraction - he was in Las Vegas promoting his invention to technology crowds from all over the world, as an exhibitor of CES 2019.

In fact, when The Straits Times interviewed him, the 16-year-old Singaporean requested we run this story after the show, as he was afraid that he might be booted out for being underaged. CES regulations state that participants have to be at least 18 years old.

Mr Mazumdar is the founder of Newton's Meter, an advanced micro-electronic personal safety device. The device made its debut at CES 2019.

He was there as part of the Enterprise Singapore (ESG) contingent that brought small and medium local enterprises to CES, so that they can show off their wares.

The idea of Newton's Meter arose as a result of a personal experience he had while vacationing with his parents in India in 2016.

On one of the nights while staying with his relatives, he heard a loud noise but did not think much of it. But on the next day, he heard that a motorcyclist has crashed and died near his relative's house.

He later found out that the motorcyclist did not die instantly, but was unconscious and thus could not ask for help.

After returning from his vacation, Mr Mazumdar started attending seminars about Internet of Things (IOT) out of personal interest. That got him thinking about creating a personal safety device that uses IOT to alert loved ones and emergency services, in the event a user is incapacitated.

Thus, he founded his company Newton's Meter on Dec 2016, with the help of his father, who became the CEO of the company. It took Mr Mazumdar and his team of 10 two years to finally come up with the finished product, with support from ESG during product development.

Newton's Meter was awarded a patent last year.

When asked how he balanced this work with studies, Mr Mazumdar said he provided the design and concept of Newton's Meter, while the engineers and designers in the team sorted out the nitty-gritty of the product.

The Newton's Meter (US$150 or S$203, available end Jan 2019) is a tiny hexagonal device with an emergency button on top and pairs to a smartphone via an app. According to Mr Mazumdar, the device has artificial intelligence-based circuitry, microprocessors, GPS and narrowband-IOT as well as built-in multiple accelerometers and sensors for fall and impact detection. It can last three days of continuous use.

When it detects fall or impact, it will send an SOS SMS with real-time GPS co-ordinates to 10 pre-configured phone numbers.

Users can also press its emergency button to send out the SOS SMS.

The current iteration is a consumer product. But there are plans to expand Newton's Meter to industrial and military purposes.

For industrial purposes, Mr Mazumbar is thinking of workers in construction or oil drilling facilities. As the Newton's Meter is able to detect falls from height, supervisors can be alerted to even the floor level when a worker falls.

In addition, the device has geofencing capabilities. Thus, supervisors will know if a worker moves out of a facility. Furthermore, the device has idle tracking. So, if a worker is not moving around after a certain amount of time, it will activate an alert as well.

Plans for industrial and military use are yet to be confirmed. It will need to be tailored to each company's different needs, while military needs will be strictly confidential.

But Mr Mazumbar revealed that they have been in talks with several Singapore companies for industrial use.

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