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Creative ideas for the community

20 April 2015 / by / no comments

Creative ideas for the community

SST stu­dent teams focused on help­ing seniors so they could live their lives as inde­pen­dently as pos­si­ble.

BY: Eleanor Yap

[cap­tion id=“attachment_5829” align=“alignleft” width=“329” caption=“Audrey Lee and Wong Yong Kang, part of the three-​man team who came up with Steady Stairs Helper.”][/​caption]

Three years ago, 12-​year-​old Chen Ruile saw her 89-​year-​old grand­mother take a fall. She explained that her grand­mother was liv­ing in the old HDB flats where there were no lifts at the time and so she had to climb the steps. Once, she tripped and fell. Though the fall did not break any bones but just bruised her grandmother’s knee, her con­fi­dence how­ever took a beat­ing. “She can walk now but it takes a long time and she has trou­ble bal­anc­ing. She is afraid to climb the stairs as she [thinks she] might fall,” Ruile said.

So when she and her team had to come up with a design solu­tion for the inau­gural School of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, Sin­ga­pore (SST)-3M Inno­va­tion Chal­lenge, she thought of her grand­mother and help­ing her and other seniors. Called Steady Stairs Helper, the light­weight and portable con­trap­tion which fits onto any rail­ings and can be used inside or out­side seniors’ homes allows seniors to climb stairs with­out the risk of falling. Get­ting inspi­ra­tion from stair lifts, walk­ing frames and fin­ger mas­sagers, the Helper sports an anti-​slip mat, LED light clip and a stor­age box for items like medication.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_5830” align=“alignright” width=“202” caption=“Chen Ruile, left, and Audrey giv­ing their pre­sen­ta­tion.”][/​caption]

Ruile was part of some 200 SST stu­dents from the 2015 cohort of Sec­ondary One made up of 45 teams who took part in the event, com­ing up with ideas for seniors, work­ers’ safety and edu­ca­tion. Using 3M’s Innovator’s Toolkit (con­tain­ing duct and mask­ing tapes, scis­sors, coloured mark­ers, ruler, hole punch, etc), teams cre­ated pro­to­types of their designs dur­ing 14 weeks and got assis­tance from 3M mentors.

The teams were then short­listed to 16 by SST teach­ers with the con­sid­er­a­tion that they were the “most applic­a­ble”, and they were then nar­rowed to the top five teams. The win­ning project was a light­weight and afford­able learn­ing aid that makes learn­ing eas­ier and com­fort­able, espe­cially for stu­dents from devel­op­ing coun­tries. Accord­ing to SST, the school is explor­ing imple­ment­ing the win­ning prod­uct in one of the countries.

Step­ping into one’s shoes

Though Ruile’s team made it to the top five but only got a con­so­la­tion prize, her team and other teams showed that it is never too young to make a pos­i­tive impact on soci­ety, and they also learned many lessons.

Ruile said that the first design her team came up with wasn’t up to scratch. “We had a hook in the design but realised it was not that secure when hooked on a stair­case,” she said. Her team­mate, Audrey Lee, 12, added they even added a board to make the con­trap­tion more secure so seniors wouldn’t fall down the stairs while using it but that even­tu­ally was removed. She added: “It was about step­ping into some­one else’s shoes and you needed to under­stand.” Another team­mate, Wong Yong Kang, 13, opined, “I imag­ine myself older and how it could help me.”

Learn­ing to com­mu­ni­cate with each other

[cap­tion id=“attachment_5832” align=“alignleft” width=“219” caption=“The Stair Chair.”][/​caption]

Out of the 16 short­listed teams, six teams focused on ideas for seniors. Two of the teams came up with improve­ments to the wheel­chair. One team had a wheel­chair called the Stair Chair, where it had retractable wheels to climb stairs, an umbrella and a stor­age area under­neath so seniors could put their gro­ceries. Said 13-​year-​old Sim Choon Wee, “It can be fright­en­ing when once the elderly were inde­pen­dent and now they are wheelchair-​bound. With the Chair, the elderly can still retain some of their independence.”

The other team, which came up with a wheel­chair idea called the Ywheel, made its wheel­chair pro­to­type with wheels to climb stairs as well as rocky ter­rain. The team got their inspi­ra­tion from physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing and Pro­fes­sor Charles Xavier from the movie X-​men. “We wanted our wheels to work and at the same time be sta­ble,” said Elvis Leong, 13.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_5833” align=“alignright” width=“181” caption=“The Pill Crusher.”][/​caption]

Beyond the wheel­chair, there were also cre­ative ideas to make seniors’ lives eas­ier. The Pill Crusher is a prod­uct for seniors who can’t swal­low pills and uses a han­dle to crush the pills finely through two sieves. The crushed pills then col­lect into a cup for seniors to just add water and drink. The Crusher can also fit into one’s pocket. “I have a small throat so when I have large-​sized med­i­cines, I tend to choke. My mother would use the pill crusher, so I thought of improv­ing it,” said Zin Mi Myint Thein, 15, whose team also talked to seniors to improve their design.

Team mem­ber Rachel Wong, 13 shared about her learn­ing lessons, “We learned about work­ing in a team. If one doesn’t con­tribute, it is not fair to those who have con­tributed.” Added Perry Na, 13, “We also got to know more about team mem­bers’ work­ing habits – Zin Mi has a tight sched­ule while Perry is usu­ally quite free as we often meet up on Sundays.”

There was also an idea for a loca­tor called Life365, which could be wrapped around things like a walk­ing stick and if a senior loses it, an acti­vat­ing device can then help to locate it in their home. “Elderly have bad mem­ory and for­get where they put their things. This will help them locate them and it is sim­ple to use,” said Sng Zhi Heng, 12.

Added team­mate Zou Yun Chuan, 12, “We faced a lot of prob­lems on how to organ­ise our time bet­ter and coop­er­ate so to fin­ish the prod­uct in the short time given.” Noted Desmond Wong, 13, “We also learned how to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with each other.”



SST student teams focused on helping seniors so they could live their lives as independently as possible.

BY: Eleanor Yap

Audrey Lee and Wong Yong Kang, part of the three-man team who came up with Steady Stairs Helper.

Three years ago, 12-year-old Chen Ruile saw her 89-year-old grandmother take a fall. She explained that her grandmother was living in the old HDB flats where there were no lifts at the time and so she had to climb the steps. Once, she tripped and fell. Though the fall did not break any bones but just bruised her grandmother’s knee, her confidence however took a beating. “She can walk now but it takes a long time and she has trouble balancing. She is afraid to climb the stairs as she [thinks she] might fall,” Ruile said.

So when she and her team had to come up with a design solution for the inaugural School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST)-3M Innovation Challenge, she thought of her grandmother and helping her and other seniors. Called Steady Stairs Helper, the lightweight and portable contraption which fits onto any railings and can be used inside or outside seniors’ homes allows seniors to climb stairs without the risk of falling. Getting inspiration from stair lifts, walking frames and finger massagers, the Helper sports an anti-slip mat, LED light clip and a storage box for items like medication.

Chen Ruile, left, and Audrey giving their presentation.

Ruile was part of some 200 SST students from the 2015 cohort of Secondary One made up of 45 teams who took part in the event, coming up with ideas for seniors, workers’ safety and education. Using 3M’s Innovator’s Toolkit (containing duct and masking tapes, scissors, coloured markers, ruler, hole punch, etc), teams created prototypes of their designs during 14 weeks and got assistance from 3M mentors.

The teams were then shortlisted to 16 by SST teachers with the consideration that they were the “most applicable”, and they were then narrowed to the top five teams. The winning project was a lightweight and affordable learning aid that makes learning easier and comfortable, especially for students from developing countries. According to SST, the school is exploring implementing the winning product in one of the countries.

 

Stepping into one’s shoes

Though Ruile’s team made it to the top five but only got a consolation prize, her team and other teams showed that it is never too young to make a positive impact on society, and they also learned many lessons.

Ruile said that the first design her team came up with wasn’t up to scratch. “We had a hook in the design but realised it was not that secure when hooked on a staircase,” she said. Her teammate, Audrey Lee, 12, added they even added a board to make the contraption more secure so seniors wouldn’t fall down the stairs while using it but that eventually was removed. She added: “It was about stepping into someone else’s shoes and you needed to understand.” Another teammate, Wong Yong Kang, 13, opined, “I imagine myself older and how it could help me.”

 

Learning to communicate with each other

The Stair Chair.

Out of the 16 shortlisted teams, six teams focused on ideas for seniors. Two of the teams came up with improvements to the wheelchair. One team had a wheelchair called the Stair Chair, where it had retractable wheels to climb stairs, an umbrella and a storage area underneath so seniors could put their groceries. Said 13-year-old Sim Choon Wee, “It can be frightening when once the elderly were independent and now they are wheelchair-bound. With the Chair, the elderly can still retain some of their independence.”

The other team, which came up with a wheelchair idea called the Ywheel, made its wheelchair prototype with wheels to climb stairs as well as rocky terrain. The team got their inspiration from physicist Stephen Hawking and Professor Charles Xavier from the movie X-men. “We wanted our wheels to work and at the same time be stable,” said Elvis Leong, 13.

The Pill Crusher.

Beyond the wheelchair, there were also creative ideas to make seniors’ lives easier. The Pill Crusher is a product for seniors who can’t swallow pills and uses a handle to crush the pills finely through two sieves. The crushed pills then collect into a cup for seniors to just add water and drink. The Crusher can also fit into one’s pocket. “I have a small throat so when I have large-sized medicines, I tend to choke. My mother would use the pill crusher, so I thought of improving it,” said Zin Mi Myint Thein, 15, whose team also talked to seniors to improve their design.

Team member Rachel Wong, 13 shared about her learning lessons, “We learned about working in a team. If one doesn’t contribute, it is not fair to those who have contributed.” Added Perry Na, 13, “We also got to know more about team members’ working habits – Zin Mi has a tight schedule while Perry is usually quite free as we often meet up on Sundays.”

There was also an idea for a locator called Life365, which could be wrapped around things like a walking stick and if a senior loses it, an activating device can then help to locate it in their home. “Elderly have bad memory and forget where they put their things. This will help them locate them and it is simple to use,” said Sng Zhi Heng, 12.

Added teammate Zou Yun Chuan, 12, “We faced a lot of problems on how to organise our time better and cooperate so to finish the product in the short time given.” Noted Desmond Wong, 13, “We also learned how to communicate better with each other.”

 


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