“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” So what do the words of Alan Kay, American computer scientist and winner of the 2003 A.M. Turing Award, and SUTD have in common?

Photo credit/source: University of Colorado

Getting down to it.

At SUTD, when we talk about technology and design, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. You’ve heard of a million and one things technology can do. And at SUTD, we marry technology and design in our hands-on and multi-disciplinary curriculum. We train our students to nurture their ability to learn and power of design, to develop human-centred solutions that not only serve societal needs but meet the challenges of the uncertain future.

And at SUTD, we don’t do this alone. It has never been about “I can do better” or “I can do more”. Rather, the question at the back of our minds was always: How can we do better and do more together?” As the world grapples and works together to fight this pandemic and overcome unpredictable challenges for the future, we too, put our heads together and did what we know best – well-rounded and inclusive design solutions in the hopes of creating a better world.

TraceTogether

SUTD alumna and GovTech software engineer, Janice Tan was part of the team that developed the TraceTogether app to for faster contract tracing Using Bluetooth, the community driven contact-tracing app helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Uncover the technology behind TraceTogether here.

 

Photo credit/source: 8world

New Urban Kampung (@nukampung on Instagram)

A faculty led research team, the group aims to create living environments that promote a strong community vibrancy and resilience. In light of COVID-19, the team has initiated the #WeCanSG campaign inviting the public to share moments of gratitude to uplift each other through these trying times. Through series of illustrations, the team is also proposing innovative design interventions in public spaces that maintain social vibrancy while practising safe distancing.

Here are a couple of innovative design interventions at eateries and on public transportation.

At eateries:

  • Using menus as partitions between diners, while publicising menu items
  • Providing baskets to mark out alternate seating and store diners’ belongings

Photo credit/source: @nukampung on Instagram

On public transportation:

  • Installing a 1m-span table top to the poles to create space for only one person, and commuters can use the table top to place their belongings
  • Attaching hooks to alternate grab handles to space people apart, which double as added barriers when utilised to hang items

Photo credit/source: @nukampung on Instagram

Currently, the team is kickstarting an open-source virtual network #KampungKaki to bring resources from community groups and residents to those in need and living nearby. You can play your part and join their network here:

Carbon Capture Composite (C3) – a novel film membrane for respiratory filtration

Led by SUTD’s Engineering Product Development (EPD) faculty, Associate Professor Low Hong Yee and Associate Professor Tan Mei Chee have been working on C3, a film that is capable of air filtration and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2).

 

C3 incorporates a CO2 absorber that purifies exhaled air to function like a mechanical ventilator support that delivers enriched oxygen to the lungs of patients with severe breathing problems – a timely piece of work that could potentially alleviate the shortage of physical ventilators and oxygen supply.

On top of that, the film’s membrane is perforated with highly uniform and precise micro-nano-pores capable of filtering particles of specific sizes, with a 90% filtration efficiency for particle sizes between 200-400nm.

 

ChopeAndSave

Photo credit/source: ChopeAndSave

Part of a five-strong team, Joshia Seam, a final-year student at SUTD and SUTD alumni Agrim Singh and Aravind Kandiah, developed ChopeAndSave which is the Singaporean adaptation of SaveOurFaves. Juggling their full-time jobs, the team came up with the platform, a directory of small businesses in Singapore that offer online gift cards for customers to use when the current situation eases. The purchase of these gift cards not only allows consumers to continue patronising the store at a later date, but more importantly, the team hopes that this will help small businesses tide over the economic impact of COVID-19.

As seen on Youth SG, The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia.

The ChopeAndSave team (clockwise, from top left: Nicolette Tan, Joshia Seam, Agrim Singh, Aravind Kandiah and Tammie Siew).
Photo credit/source: Nicolette Tan

Animal disease, industrial livestock farming and global health

Photo credit/source: Lyle Fearnley

The work of Lyle Fearnley, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) at SUTD, in the discipline of anthropology has involved fieldwork research into wild animal farming and zoonotic disease risks in China. Together with Christos Lynteris, an anthropologist at the University of St Andrews, Lyle’s research has provided insights into the unfolding crisis, showing the linkage between the coronavirus and industrial livestock farming, and discussed the prevention of another pandemic.

Through these innovative solutions, we hope that you are just as inspired as us by how technology and design can, and should come together to pit against such unforeseen challenges. Further, as what Professor Lim Sun Sun, Head of HASS at SUTD mentioned in her recent op-ed in The Straits Times on five lessons from fighting COVID-19, let us not forget that “[our] collective resistance is only as strong as its weakest link”. Which is why together, we can continue to fight this battle with our powers of design and only together, can we truly build a better world.

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