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Top 4 grand prize winners for 3rd edition of Ageing-in-Place Tech Challenge announced in Singapore

Above photo: A team member of the Pillpresso medication device (one of the four grand prize winners) doing a product demonstration for Mr. Ted Tan (left), Deputy Chief Executive of SPRING Singapore and the Guest-of-Honour for the Tech Factor Challenge award ceremony and exhibition. Photo: Dean Koh/OpenGov Asia

Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (ST Electronics) and SPRING Singapore today announced the four grand prize winners of the Tech Factor Challenge 2016/2017, themed “Ageing-in-Place”, for novel solutions that enhance the safety, health, and mobility of the elderly. The winning solutions include a portable sepsis risk assessment system, a smart home-based medication device, a remote rehabilitation kit, as well as wheel and brake attachments for walking frames. Each of the team won S$25,000, in total constituting a third of the total cash prize of S$300,000. The remaining cash prize will be awarded to the teams upon the successful commercialisation of their solutions.

Organised by ST Electronics, held in partnership with SPRING Singapore and supported by SPRING Singapore’s Startup SG Accelerator initiative, Tech Factor Challenge is an annual competition that spurs innovation through the creative application of technology to solve real-world problems. Currently in its third edition, Tech Factor Challenge offers participants the opportunity to translate their ideas into commercially viable prototypes and kick-start their entrepreneurship journey.

The winners were selected from 10 finalist teams comprising students, start-ups, engineering enthusiasts and a senior inventor, with prototypes that incorporated technologies such as companion robots with AI-driven interactions and autonomous navigation capabilities, smart medication dispensers, Virtual Reality rehabilitative solution, and smart homes applications.

“At ST Electronics, we believe that technology is a key enabler to improve the lives of our elderly. As they enter their golden ageing years, we want them to enjoy and benefit from improved standards of healthcare. As a key player in Singapore’s ICT industry, we are committed to investing in innovation and building up local engineering talents to solve real-world problems, in this instance, for the ageing population. By creating an environment that encourages experimentation and quick prototyping, we hope to discover breakthroughs that can be commercialised in an affordable and timely way to enhance our healthcare for the elderly while seeding the build-up of a silver industry,” said Mr. Tang Kum Chuen, Deputy President of Corporate Development, ST Electronics.

Mr. Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive of SPRING Singapore and the Guest-of-Honour for the event, said, “The Tech Factor Challenge encourages engineers and entrepreneurs to develop commercially-ready applications that can address real world problems. The theme this year, Ageing in Place, is apt in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the greying population in many countries. SPRING is happy to partner ST Electronics in this Challenge to drive technology innovation among start-ups and SMEs to create scalable solutions for the global healthcare industry globally.”

In response to Singapore’s transition to a super-aged nation and the increasing demand for healthcare services and resources for “ageing well in place”, participants were tasked to develop technologies that enable home-based and long-term community care for the elderly in two categories: (1) Smart H2 (Home and Health) Challenge - applications for safety, health and wellness management and (2) Mobility Challenge - improving mobility for the elderly. The following winning teams and their solutions were subsequently selected: Intelligent Portable System- Risk Stratification in Patients with Sepsis (TIIM Healthcare Pte Ltd)

Early goal-directed therapy initiated within the first six hours of sepsis diagnosis has been shown to substantially decrease mortality rates. The ground-breaking, intelligent Portable Risk Stratification system assists clinicians in rapid risk stratification for timely clinical intervention.  Pillpresso – Your Medication Assistant (Maxerence Pte Ltd)

A home-based medication device that aims to improve medication adherence by simplifying medicine sorting, automating medication reminders and monitoring adherence in real-time, empowering the elderly to manage their medication independently. The Remote Rehabilitation Kit (Kinexcs Pte Ltd)

Targeted at post knee surgery patients, the wearable device helps users remotely monitor, track, analyse and report their rehabilitation progress. It provides localised, actionable data and compliance information to clinicians, while motivating users in maintaining workouts, to aid their recovery.  Wheels + Brakes for Existing Walking Frames (STRIDER Pte Ltd)

Able to be installed in just 10 minutes, they convert existing walkers into wheeled walkers and brake when leaned on for safety, through special braking technology. Elderly are spared from the repetitive efforts of lifting their walkers and are able to get around faster and safely.  A total of nine start-ups were incorporated, since the start of this edition of Tech Factor Challenge. To help these start-ups kick-start their innovation process, each team received S$4,000 in seed funding from ST Electronics, attended an experiential workshop to better understand the challenges faced by the elderly, and participated in workshops and mentorship sessions conducted by industry experts.

Eligible start-ups were awarded up to S$20,000 of funding support from SPRING Singapore to develop their prototypes with professional prototyping houses. Clinical and technical mentors from healthcare institutions, including ST Electronics, Changi General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Alexandra Health System, and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, guided and supported the teams through their innovation process. Teams were also provided access to the IMDA PIXEL Labs, using tools needed for their prototype development. They also had the opportunity to testbed their solutions in the Smart Ageing Design Lab at the Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics Technology (CHART), Changi General Hospital, as well as at SG Enable.

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