Designed to improve lives

27 May 2015 | Education
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Dex, an integrated healthcare system and awareness tool for diabetics in the form of a smart insole, was one of the designs on display at the NUS Industrial Design Graduation Show

Over 50 innovative designs by students from the NUS Division of Industrial Design (DID) were displayed at this year's NUS Industrial Design Graduation Show. The annual event showcases the thesis projects of DID's graduating cohort along with projects from design platforms over the past year and the latest innovations by the NUS School of Design & Environment's Design Incubation Centre.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition on 22 May, Mr Robert Tomlin, Chairman of DesignSingapore Council, said that the products, systems, services and interactions on display reveal the power of design and "illustrate the incredible potential of the graduates' ability and energy to bring a fresh perspective to Singapore…. The event was attended by 250 staff, students, alumni and industry collaborators.

Themed Momentum, the projects were grouped into three categories: Health and Wellness, which address pressing health conditions such as dementia and stress; Culture and Communication, which encourages rethinking of the contemporary Singaporean culture; and Interaction and Technology, which provides a glimpse into possibilities of the future.

The wide range of ideas and interests on display parallel the vision of the DID to incorporate a mix of artistic, humanistic, technological and business disciplines into design with the aim of improving lives. Students were encouraged to explore the relationship between objects, users and the environment and go beyond aesthetics and function to develop holistic solutions that are sensitive towards human perceptions, behaviors, emotions, psychology and cultures, said Associate Professor Yen Ching Chuan, Head of the Division. Many of the projects were developed in collaboration with industry partners such as Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Red Cross, resulting in highly relevant designs with potential for commercialisation.

One such design is Dex, designed by Elyn Wu in collaboration with the National University Hospital. Dex is a smart insole that offers real-time foot health monitoring for better diabetic management, reducing the risk of diabetic neuropathy. It is also linked to a mobile application that encourages the use of exercise through fun games. "Diabetic patients face a higher risk of nerve damage and often can't sense pain or pressure. This device functions to replace the lost nerve, explained Elyn.

There is also Chew Jia Ying‘s Orikumo, a three-dimensional structure made of folded felt pieces that are fastened together to absorb ambient noise. Its modular system enables flexibility and adaptability to any space, such as libraries and offices. It was developed in collaboration with the NUS Department of Building.

The NUS Industrial Design Graduation Show will run until 30 May at the National Design Centre.

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The opening of the NUS Industrial Design Graduation Show was attended by 250 guests and featured more than 50 designs