Singapore Institute of Technology teams lauded for innovative eldercare designs

In a recent press release, it was announced that two SIT teams were honoured for their entries at the 6th Eldercare Innovation Awards held in conjunction with the 9th International Ageing Asia Innovation Forum 2018 in May.

Touted as the 'Oscars of the Eldercare Industry', the award is the only one of its kind in the Asia Pacific region that recognises the best in innovative eldercare product and service delivery.

As Project Lead for the Smart Walker for Gait Rehabilitation with Local Positioning System, Associate Professor Patrick Chua, Engineering, SIT clinched the award in the 'Best Smart Care Technology – Product' category on behalf of the team.

The Smart Walker is the final year project of Ms Koh Min Merissa, who is currently working toward a Bachelors’ degree in Engineering with Honours in Mechatronics (SIT-UofG). It was designed and developed as a result of a continued multidisciplinary collaboration with Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH).

The team responsible for this device consisted of four students. Together with A/Prof Zheng Jianxin, Programme Director, Engineering and Tan Hong Yong, Professional Officer, all four members of the team provided valuable inputs to produce the innovative smart walker that independently aids a patient undergoing rehabilitation.

This means a patient does not need the physical support of physiotherapists all the time.

Therapists would be able to manage and monitor the patient using the smart walker from a remote laptop. The system monitors and records the walking activities as well as locates the positions of patients using the smart walkers.

This is particularly useful in countries with limited and overwhelmed rehab facilities as it provides an innovative solution to the issue of the lack of manpower faced by the healthcare industry.

Assistant Prof. Patrick Chua stated that the award was indeed prestigious and that receiving it was a very proud moment for SIT and our industry partner, KWSH. He gushed about how proud he was of his team as they managed to come out on top despite competing with some of the most esteemed organisations from the Asia Pacific region.

He made it a point to thank the University of Glasgow for facilitating this Smart Walker project and giving him the opportunity to train and lead final year students to venture beyond their classroom environment.

The second SIT team extolled for their innovative design made it to the top five finalists for the same category with the entry of an arm-skate device named the New Arm. The team was headed by Assistant Professor Agnes Xue, Deputy Programme Director, Design and Specialised Businesses, who was behind the design of New Arm.

The faculty-and-student project was the innovative solution to METTA Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly's challenge to design a device for post-stroke patients to regain upper limb mobility.

A collaboration between the Engineering and Health and Social Sciences Clusters in SIT, the innovation is the result of one-and-a-half-year's findings of four students from the design, engineering and occupational therapy disciplines.

Assistant Prof. Agnes Xue said that the team’s work relies on a multidisciplinary approach and puts the user at the centre of the design process. To make the device even more user-centred, and for an added fun element, the team incorporated a virtual reality game to provide an incentivised, goal-directed task to motivate patients to move their arm.

She added that being awarded top five is a major milestone. It gives her and her team confidence that their design is well-suited to improve the quality of life for our patients.

Researchers and teams at SIT show incredible potential for growth and development with their promising technological innovations and designs, particularly in the field of eldercare.

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