Students at InnoVenture IdeaLaunch presenting their ideas to company representatives

 

25th October 2016

The hard work that InnoVenture teams have been putting in culminated in an IdeaLaunch session held on the 25th of October. The stakes were high as the seven teams sought to move into the second phase of Innoventure, where they will receive prototyping grants and will continue to develop a real prototype based on their pitched solution accompanied by a viable business plan.

The teams each presented their proposals to a panel of judges comprised of representatives from the companies that provided the problem statements, as well as members of the Institute for Engineering Leadership team. They were judged based on four criteria – customer desirability, technology novelty and creativity, technological feasibility and business viability. A wide range of solutions were proposed, for example, Team UNO which was working on the National University Hospital (NUH) problem statement, which concerned the tracking of nurses’ efficiency in the wards, proposed a data tracking system using Bluetooth transmitter. The group emphasised not just the data logging aspect, but also the processing of data in a meaningful way through machine-learning. They team suggested that their product would only cost a quarter of what NUH now pays for their current system.

Other teams had similarly innovative ideas. Team Innov8tion worked on the PSA problem statement. They developed a system to monitor truck drivers’ alertness in an effort to prevent accidents, emphasising early detection of drivers’ fatigue. This is achieved through a system of eyelid and head tracking, ocular movement, eye blink parameters monitored by cameras and sensors in the truck cabin.

Some solutions were simpler but no less creative; TrioblazerS, which worked on the Nestle problem statement came up with a simple way of detecting spoilage in food products such as yoghurt. It proposed a customised pH meter costing just $0.02 for a sticker which could be attached to food products packaging.

Following their presentations, the teams’ ideas were scrutinised by the company representatives, who quizzed participants on their technology, business models and the viability of their proposals. In the end, four teams progressed to the next round who can surely breathe a sigh of relief that their hard work had paid off. Teams who have progressed to the next round will move into phase two, where teams be supported by Innoventure and IEL as they develop a working prototype and a validated business plan. This culminates in DemoDay which will take place next year, where they will present their prototypes and refined business strategies.

Dr Goh Wei Ping, Senior Resident Physician at NUH who attended the IdeaLaunch, initially came with some scepticism as the problem statements were extremely challenging. He was pleasantly surprised by the ideas the groups came up with. He said “I love how the participants injected fresh perspectives to the problems and came up with innovative ideas to address them. This is an ideal platform for different industries to come together and share their own experiences and expertise.”