Prince William meets Snowstorm

17 June 2016 | EducationResearch
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Prince William (seated in Snowstorm) with Team Frogworks

It’s not every day that royalty takes a fancy to your school project, but that’s what happened to the lucky members of NUS’ Team Frogworks when they showcased the new and improved Snowstorm at the Founders Forum in London, UK, from 15 to 16 June. His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, a pilot and fellow flight enthusiast, found the personal flying machine fascinating, spending half an hour sitting in it and trying out the controls while sharing his dreams of flying.

“The Prince met our team during his tour of the Demo Tent at the Founders Forum. Himself a helicopter pilot, he immediately understood our business proposition, which is to give members of the general public unique flying experiences. He was amazed to see that this is possible now…eager to hear the technical details…and appreciated the engineering solutions developed by the students,” said Associate Professor Martin Henz from NUS Computer Science and NUS Engineering.

Assoc Prof Henz, as well as Dr Rangarajan Jegadeesan from NUS Engineering, supervises Team FrogWorks, a design and prototyping team which originated from the NUS Engineering’s Design Centric Programme (DCP) and the University Scholars Programme.

Team FrogWorks received an invitation to showcase Singapore’s first personal flying machine at the Founders Forum this year. Assoc Prof Henz, Dr Jegadeesan and a group of seven Team Frogworks students were joined in London by the initiator of the project, Dr Joerg Weigl, a former lecturer at DCP who is now based in Germany.

Snowstorm wowed the 3,000-strong gathering of top digital and technology entrepreneurs, corporate CEOs and investors from around the world. With live demonstrations and one-on-one sessions with industry power hitters, the personal aircraft’s power and potential was on full display. The team received strong interest surrounding the budding commercialisation of the aircraft’s technology at the event, and is currently “in talks to explore the far-reaching possibilities”.

"We did our best to explain the purpose and motivation behind Snowstorm to the attendees of the Forum…we managed to achieve what we initially set out to do, build good connections with other founders and potential investors,” said Year 3 Electrical Engineering student Zufar B Adnan. He added that it was “a great honour” to have Prince William show passion for Snowstorm and encourage them to further develop the device and break into the consumer market.

The good showing by the team is further testament to the continued strength and achievements of NUS Engineering, which ranks in the top 20 of the world’s best universities for engineering in five out of seven engineering subjects, according to the recently released ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2016.

See media coverage.