This article is brought to you by the SUTD – Women x Tech & Design series.

We are often plagued by complex issues that call for innovative, technology-powered solutions that are both efficient and sustainable.

As a woman who aspires to innovate, you believe that every challenge our world faces can be solved with a new invention or product innovation.  From using design to increase accessibility for the under-privileged to the development of the latest wearable tech that enables faster payment for train rides, you and SUTD will be set to make the world a better place for everyone through design.

A High-Tech Helping Hand

Kimberlyn Nicole Tjipto, 2017’s valedictorian of SUTD’s Engineering Product Development (EPD) programme, has helped pave the way for innovators who believe in technology’s abilities to empower the disadvantaged. In partnership with two group mates, they founded Movinc, a company that specialises in rehabilitative technologies.

Their flagship product, EMMA, is an attachment that motorises manual wheelchairs and also overcomes the issue of portability by being small enough to fit into a car boot. This effective and ingenious product won them the grand prize at Create4Good in 2017 and a $50,000 cash prize that came with the award.

All this started from a simple observation. “One of our group mates was volunteering at the Handicaps Welfare Association and noticed that not everyone there had motorised wheelchairs,” remembers Kimberlyn.

“That’s the thing about SUTD: we focus a lot on applying what we learn to solve real problems.”

Learn about Kimberlyn’s story, along with a few of her fellow women innovators here.

Inspired by Nature

Back in SUTD campus, EPD Associate Professor Low Hong Yee – an expert in discovering and designing new materials, is delving into the nanoscale world. One of her more fascinating projects is what’s known as “biomimicry” – taking inspiration from the natural world to design new materials and technologies. She talks about one such example – the lotus leaf.

Plastic films where biomimetic textures are created

“The bumpy texture on the leaf creates a superhydrophobic environment that compels water droplets to roll off with exceptional ease, taking any dirt or mud along with it,” she explains. This could potentially help develop self-cleaning materials that can be applied to everything from vehicles to buildings.

If the thought of being an innovator in this field and building a better world excites you, find out more about EPD here.

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