In this day and age, it really isn’t easy being a student. From navigating university life, juggling schoolwork, social activities, and personal time, to figuring out which career path to pursue after graduation, the four (or more) years spent in university can be overwhelming. Sure, having a strong support system and friends going through the same struggles help, but nothing beats having concrete solutions to these perennial problems.
This is where our SUTDents come in. Armed with design thinking skills, abundant resources, and entrepreneurial spirit, our SUTDents—from freshmores to seniors—are encouraged to embark on their own student-led projects throughout the course of their study in SUTD. These projects range in scale, with some that can continually be developed and refined by newer batches of students, and others that can easily be completed within months, but they all aim to address common dilemmas that our SUTDents face.
So, what are these problems, and what solutions have been created for said problems? Read on for an overview of three notable student projects by SUTDents, for SUTDents.
Problem #1: New students and visitors often feel lost and awkward around campus
The team behind MOMOBot and the latest version of their roving robot.
In new environments, it’s natural for us to feel alienated and awkward. For freshmores especially, it can be quite intimidating to come into a new school with so many unfamiliar faces, not knowing who to talk to or where to go.
Enter MOMOBot, a roving robot that welcomes and interacts with new students and visitors of SUTD, spreading warmth and positivity with its fun, simple design that appeals to the inner child in all of us.
Designed for extensibility, MOMOBot is modular and scalable, so future batches of students can tweak the robot or change its programming to create new features, meet new needs, or configure it for other purposes. Currently, MOMOBot functions as a remote-controlled meet-and-greet robot that shows students and visitors around school.
As with projects of such a large scale, it wasn’t easy developing MOMOBot into what it is today; the team attributes the success of their project to their passion and combination of different skillsets within the team.
“SUTD offers a unique environment unlike any ordinary classroom, where projects are initiated based on your personal area of interest,” the team shares. “By working on MOMOBot, we get to know people from different pillars, and learn from each other by bringing our own skillsets to the table to solve problems.”
Problem #2: Seniors are unsure of what they want to do after graduation, and don’t know who to approach for career advice
Part of the team behind the online knowledge-sharing platform, SAGE.
Graduating and having to start adulting can be terrifying, especially if you have yet to find your calling in life or ideal career path to venture down. It might seem as if everyone around you has their life all sorted out, but the reality is that we’re all just trying to navigate life too.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a helping hand to guide us along this journey. This is the reason why SAGE, an online knowledge-sharing platform that fosters the sharing of career guidance and higher educational experiences, was created.
With an ever-growing pool of industry professionals and advisors, SAGE serves as a one-stop platform for both students looking for career advice, as well as mentors looking to share their knowledge and experiences. After creating an account, students are free to link up with any of the mentors (or SAGES) listed on the platform for career guidance. Alternatively, anonymous or more general questions can also be posed in the SAGE Telegram channel for SAGEs to respond in their own time.
The project might sound straightforward, but the SAGE team went through many different iterations of the platform before landing on the final version of SAGE.
“We started off as team SilverWellness with a completely different project idea, but after participating in SUTD’s Design Odyssey’s DRIVE 3-day Bootcamp, we came up with and fine-tuned the idea for SAGE. We then started working closely with our own SAGE, Lee Siew Yian, Manager of the Singapore International Foundation and Founder of The Good Exchange Org, to develop the platform,” shares the team.
As of December 2021, the SAGE platform has over 350 SAGEs and apprentices and counting!
Problem #3: COVID makes it hard for students to volunteer in-person at large-scale events such as Open House and Freshmen Orientation Camp
Solution: AI Portrait
Sure, the world is opening up again, but ever since the pandemic, it just feels a little uncomfortable to have someone cough or sneeze within close proximity to you, especially if you’re helping out at a large-scale event like the SUTD Open House, or the Freshman Orientation Camp, for instance.
Instead of having a generic informative video playing on loop to replace frontline volunteers at events, the AI Portrait provides the best of both worlds—it allows for student volunteers to engage and communicate with people remotely through a talking portrait. Think of it as an fun version of Zoom, where you get to don a virtual mask and greet students and visitors in a safe, comfortable way.
Beyond design thinking, the team shares that working on this project allowed them to pick up technical skills that now enable them to solve other real-world problems.
“SUTD’s rigorous curriculum allows students to acquire relevant skillsets like AI and cloud computing,” the team says. “In fact, with this knowledge, we’ve even gotten the chance to work alongside an industry mentor from HTX to develop a real-time Sign Language Translation SaaS application to help bridge the communication gap between Home Team officers and the deaf/mute community.”
With a combination of technical skills, supportive mentors, and enthusiastic batch mates, the sky’s the limit for our SUTD community.
So tell us, what’s your problem? Because chances are, our SUTDents will be able to help you solve them.