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Take Tech to Market

Or come to the info-session on 10 Jan 2019! Register for the info-session here.




TechLaunch is a unique experiential module in which students develop skills in identifying and capturing value from technological innovation. Our approach is to select an engineering technology developed at NUS or by third parties and go through the process of creating a technology start-up. Students will work in cross-disciplinary teams of graduate and Ph.D. students from the Faculty of Engineering & School of Business.

In this module, students will spend most of their time talking to customers, partners, competitors in search for the right market and the right business model that can leverage the uniqueness of a technology. Students will experience the typical creative and often unstructured start-up or new product development process that will challenge their innovation and leadership skills.

Students will learn how to differentiate a business idea from a business opportunity and learn how to validate the multitude of assumptions inherent in any business plan in the market. They will learn that every successful business is a search for the intersection of technology feasibility, customer desirability and business viability. They will learn how to identify and capture value from technology innovation, improve on their business management skills, and manage the team dynamics in doing so.

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Plenary sessions will introduce frameworks for commercialization of new ideas and technologies. Professor Ignatius Rasiah will lead the module.

The objective of this one-semester project is for students to learn how to search for the maximum value creation of a (patented) technology in an iterative manner as start-ups do in the real world. Through these experiences they will understand how technology can create value and how such value can be captured in a start-up. While doing so their business management skills and team leadership skills will be enhanced.

Students will be assessed based on their creativity, team collaboration, progress made in developing their project, peer reviews and overall participation. Successful students will receive 4MCs for this module, registered under MT5913 TechLaunch: Experiential Entrepreneurship.

The module does not require pre-requisites.

The module requires students to actively engage with industry in the form of interviews (in person, skype, phone) during normal week work hours. Part-time students currently employed may be disadvantaged and will have to balance their time well.

We do not allow students to audit the module due to the sensitivity of information regarding technologies being shared.

The module will meet once a week. Each week a new concept critical to business viability will be presented. Teams will have a week to map their assumptions related to this concept, find out in the market place by talking to customers and industry players whether their assumptions are true or not and adjust them. Teams will present their lessons learned related to this concept the week after.

Each team will be required to keep documenting their progress through the module. The module will conclude with students presenting their project and value proposition to a committee of entrepreneurs, industry experts investors and university staff.

Teams will meet on Wednesdays (6-9PM) starting at TechHub@E2

Have some questions? Please email Professor Ignatius Rasiah at

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Many products in today’s market such as food items like drinks, snacks and food ingredients come sealed and with an expiry date. Most of these seals are made and tested in the factory. However, there is no way to test these seals in a fast and cheap manner as most test methods for seals are expensive. Thus, a purchaser will never know if the packaging of the product they bought have some tiny hole, which is spoiling their food sooner than the expiry date. This becomes especially important in areas such as medical devices where proper sealing or the lack of it could become a life-threatening issue.

Today, we have a new technology that is able to detect such a loss in sealing in packaging. This is a fast and sensitive measurement of the quality of a sealing using an electromagnetic technology. Such a fast method could be incorporated into a production line for quality testing at high throughput or even be used by consumers to check a good seal over a long period of time. The team will need to find a good market application and figure out the design of the product so as to properly incorporate the technology so that it meets the customer requirements.

Understanding and controlling the interactions between different types of organic growth with different surfaces has a variety of applications in diverse fields; the growth of biofilm on solar panels, barnacles on ships and human cells on temporary medical catheters are all problems that cause different types of losses, from finance to patient well-being. At the same time, being able to accelerate cell growth will be beneficial in pharmaceutical drug testing, medical cell therapies, prevention of industrial biofilm formation and others.

The technology in this project is a thin film coating based on unique oxide chemistry that could either help cell growth or stop them, depending on how the coating is done. The applications for this kind of technology has been demonstrated to enhance bacterial / mammalian cell growth or retard bacterial / mammalian cell growth, according to the requirements of the scientists. As such, they have the potential to beneficially disrupt various medical, industrial and consumer uses. The team will need to look for all the various applications for this kind of technology and figure out the best go to market strategy for this unique technology.

There are many occasions where there is a need to know the molecular composition of the surface of materials. For example, the molecular composition of the surface of the skin would be able to identify and characterize the various types of skin diseases and conditions such as dry skin, Fungal infection and Psoriasis.

What we have is a hand-held device with a technology that can detect the Raman spectrum of surfaces up to 150 micrometer in depth confocally. This can provide molecular finger-printing of various conditions on the surface of materials. This capability can be used in various markets apart from skin diseases, such as agriculture where they would characterize various plant conditions and pathogens in food. There is a need to understand market needs and plan out the best avenue for commercialization of this new and innovative technology.

Heat is something we waste in a number of human activities. For example at air-conditioner condensor outside our homes, hotels and offices, from the engine and exhaust of cars as well as the exhausts and chimneys of factories and power plants. In addition, low grade heat can come from solar collectors or geothermal sources. Most of this heat is simply wasted and goes to the environment. However, most of these low grade heat could be harnessed and turned into something useful, such as electricity or cooling source.

Utilizing low-grade waste heat leads to increased energy efficiency and profitability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The existing technologies for harnessing waste heat are complex, expensive and cannot utilize very low temperature heat (<100oC) in an effective way. There is a strong need for systems which can utilize this abundantly available very low-grade heat. A combined cooling and power system is desirable because it can be compact, less expensive, efficient, effective and easy-to-operate.

The developed technology converts the abundantly available low-grade (low-temperature) heat into cooling or power by using the patented configuration of the system. There is now a need to study all the possible uses of this technology and identify the best way to commercialize them as well as figure out the form and function of the eventual product so that it fits the need.

Human breath contains thousands of molecules called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are produced by metabolism at various sites of the body, circulated by blood, and exhaled into breath through the blood-gas change in the lung. When a particular disease develops, it would lead to detectable changes in the breath VOC profile. Thus, it should be possible to detect diseases by testing the VOCs from the breath.

We have validated the potential of breath analysis in detecting lung cancer using high sensitivity mass spectrometry and customized breath sampler. In theory, breath analysis can be used to detect any condition that causes significant changes in the biochemical pathways involving volatile metabolites. Compared to conventional diagnostic techniques, breath analysis offers a low cost, non-invasive and fast screening technique that is also promising for early detection. It has the potential to become the new frontier for medical testing and revolutionize healthcare industry. There is a need to figure out what are the best ways to use this technology so that it can be a viable business. That would also dictate the design of the product for this technology.

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A Modular Multi-Organ Insulin Resistance Testing System

Imagine that you have a miniaturized version of yourself, an avatar, one that you can feed the avatar with new food or new drugs which you can determine with great accuracies if you are allergic to them. It would, revolutionize the world.

Our patented technology, TetrIs-LikE (TILE) modular microfluidic platform provides a quick and easy strategy for researchers, pharmaceutical companies, doctors to obtain vital information (drug toxicity, patient sensitivity and drug effectiveness) all from palm-sized devices. TILE modular microfluidic platform provides sets of simple and independent modules, carrying target organ of interest, which can further be connected into complex “mini-human” to study multi organ interactions.

Today, more than 700 million people globally suffers from diabetes and related complications. Currently, there is no platform that would allow assessment of insulin resistance of multiple interacting metabolic tissues simultaneously. The total diabetes care market is estimated to be $80 billion with a growth rate of 12.4%. Moreover, our product exhibits great application flexibility and most likely in the future could be used for modelling of other chronic diseases or even become integral part of personalized medicine for biomarkers discovery and companion diagnostics.

This project aims to validate and re-define the most promising market for this technology.

Carbon nanotube based conductors able to carry higher current loads in circuitry

The transfer of electricity through copper wires has been the backbone of all our electrical supply. They can be seen in the cables running into our homes, factories powering all kinds of devices and equipment and even through undersea cables supplying off-shore rigs and platforms. While these are good, our increasing demand for electricity is limited by the capacity of copper to carry current. Thus, the number of cables have to be increased so that more current can be carried through our transmission cables to serve facilities with a higher need for electricity. This adds to the weight and subsequently to the cost of transferring electricity. In a world where everything is being miniaturized and becoming lighter, this seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Well now we have the latest innovation which uses carbon nanotubes, which inherently has a higher current carrying capability, to increase the capacity of conductor to carry current. The project explores ways of utilizing this new and innovative technology for meaningful applications that are commercially viable. The potential applications are wide and varied such as reducing the weight of heavy cables for off-shore rigs and for reducing the amount of wiring in weight sensitive applications such as in aerospace.

Milli-fluidic based process control for nanoparticles

The development of nanoparticles have matured in the last few years. More recently, the use of nanoparticles have found their way into many industries including the consumer space, such as antimicrobial in refrigerators and smart paints as well as in display technologies. However, the widespread use of nanoparticles are dependent on the ability to disperse them uniformly with a good size based distribution for new applications in both consumer and industrial applications. However, the translation of this technology faces several challenges, such as industrial scale-up validation, batch-to-batch reproducibility and poor product quality due to non-uniform mixing.

This latest innovation is able to provide a high throughput fully continuous mixing setup for large-scale synthesis of monodisperse polymeric nanoparticles with a tightly controllable size distribution. The project will look into the need for such a technology in various applications and study their viability for commercial translation. Some potential applications include industrial chemical processing and production of coating materials.

Silk electronics – paradigm shift to an ultra-thin, flexible alternative

You have seen the printed circuit boards (PCBs) on which electronic components are mounted: they are thick and rigid, and good for old computers and electronic devices. Today we live in the era of small, thin, and flexible, e.g. watch, skin patches and wearable electronics, curved TVs. They need a fundamentally novel way to make circuits, and the answer may be given by nature: Silk! Silk is ultra-thin, ultra-flexible, and most interestingly biocompatible. So, using the silk-based circuitry we should be able to pack electronics into watches, wrap it around all types of curved, surfaces and, in a biocompatible, manner put it on or inside the body. This innovation, based on silk, should lead to much more flexible and biocompatible products. Indeed, other designs can also have multiple layers of circuitry thus lending itself to much more complex systems design. As a biocompatible circuitry, this has many potential applications in the medical arena as well as the wearable and the wellness spaces. Apart from these, as a biodegradable material, silk-based PCB (and sensors) will also lead to green eco-friendly electronics. The potential applications are wide and varied. The next great challenge indeed is to choose the best application for this promising technology, and invent new technical development, marketable products for real or unmet needs.

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensor for finger printing of biomoleculese

The quick sensing of very low concentration of biomolecules for the identification of new types of pathogens, biomarkers and chemical reactions are becoming important in today’s world. However, current technologies are typically expensive and routinely take a long time for detection and are not as sensitive, especially at very low concentrations.

The Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) patented technology is increasingly being used for biosensing because of its high sensitivity and low detection limit, which are made possible by the unique Raman fingerprint spectra from the biomolecules. This novel SERS method for low-cost, fast and quantitative biomolecule detection is more sensitive than existing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). This technique can also be extended to detection of many types of biomolecules. The application of such a technology can have a significant impact in the saving of lives for disease prevention as well as therapy as pathogens are identified fast before they cause serious harm to the human person.


Portable Explosive Detector For Fast And Convenient Screening of Crowds “Not if, but when.” Terrorist activities cast an inescapable shadow in today’s world. Timely detection of explosive materials is the mission critical in our anti-terrorism efforts. With Nevermore, a portable explosive detector enabled by our patented material NUS-21, bombs are now nowhere to hide. When trace amount of explosive is drawn into Nevermore, it interacts with fluorescence-emitting NUS-21 at a molecular level, quenching its fluorescence immediately. With its unprecedented event organizers to clear threats at mass-gathering occasions. With Nevermore, no more bombs shall escape our screening.

Wearable Microtubular Sensor For Pulse Monitoring

Real-time arterial pulse monitoring facilitates early detection of diseases and disorders of human heart and vascular system, and can improve patient survival rate and reduces healthcare costs. However, current pulse monitoring devices are cumbersome and fail to conform to the skin perfectly. In contrast, wearable devices can enable point-of-care health monitoring and provide advantages such as unobtrusiveness, compact size, and light weight. We have recently developed a soft microtubular sensor as small as a strand of hair is proposed as a fast, low cost, reliable and imperceptible human pulse monitoring solution. This microtubular sensor features a unique architecture comprising a liquid-state conductive element (eGaIn) core and an ultrathin silicone elastomer microtube, which responds to subtle epidermal pressure perturbations based on sensor resistance change. Its performance, such as sensitivity, durability and wearability, has already been investigated. This sensor has great potential for development into wearable devices for point of care health monitoring.


A Safe & durable large-scale energy storage flow battery for alternative energy. CARB (Condensed-phase Aqueous Redox-flow Battery) is an advanced battery system which uses low-cost and environmentally-friendly material that is suitable for large-scale energy storage (e.g. smart grid, photovoltaic, wind farm, etc.). CARB uses the concept of redox targeting which was developed by NUS to store energy and produce power in a safe and durable way. As compared to the conventional Vanadium Redox-flow Battery (VRB), CARB has the advantages of being twice the energy density, superior power density, lower cost, and wider operation temperature. CARB is a promising battery technology for the near-term deployment.

Highly sensitive molecular detector for diseases, food safety and environmental monitoring

This project uses a highly sensitive technique using Surface Plasmon Resonance technology to detect very low concentrations of specific molecules. The invention is currently being tested at analytical labs. The device has the potential to revolutionize the detection of diseases such as infections like Avian flu, cancer and even be used for food safety and environmental monitoring.

You will have a first-hand look at the technology together with its inventors and be able to discover new market segments and work out customization of the device for end users while developing business cases for this new and novel technology.


Go Green, Drink Clean

Sole Watchmen

The Smart Sole for Preventive Care Against Diabetes


Providing an ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ platform for predictive maintenance for conveyor systems

ALT Drones

Smart drones for inspection of confined spaces

[Tech from AeroLion; an NUS Engineering start-up]

The headband for early detection of high levels of fatigue.

[Tech from Biomedical Engineering]

Delivering confidence with your skincare solutions.

[Tech from Pharmacy/Science Faculty]
High Barrier Coating

Why throw when you can store it?

[Tech from Dou Yee; a Singapore enterprise]

IoT with predictive maintenance.

[Tech from MEDSTech; a Singapore enterprise]

Advancing Healthcare. One molecule at a time.

[Tech from Physics/Science Faculty & Mechanobiology Institute]

See it Bigger. See it Alive.

[Tech from Electrical & Computer Engineering]

Convert waste energy to purified water.

[Tech from Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering]

Infra Red Sensor Distraction free driving. All with a wave of your hands


Advanced Adsorbent Materials Nanomaterials redefining gas usage for a greener world


Coating for Bone Implants Growing bone for you


Sports Training Sensor Suite Discover dance. Whenever. Wherever


Deformation Sensor Monitoring for early action


Printed Electronics Luminous surfaces to Enlighten your World


Flexible LCD Intensify nature’s colors at your fingertips


Soft Robotic Gloves for Rehab Gentle Touch, Enhancing Life


Technology to build entirely soft actuators Brings Comfort to Everyone


Waste Water Treatment Creating wealth from your unexploited waste water


Portable Spectroscopy Providing accurate colour measurements anytime, anywhere for anyone


Phosphate Monitoring Eradicate fish death, saving billions to fish industry


Offers a unique non-toxic battery binder that makes batteries 5% lighter and 4x faster charging.


Sells novel test kits enabling early pneumonia detection in 2 minutes


Introducing a pioneering portable, radiation-free device allowing early-diagnosis and monitoring of hematoma patients.


Provides a patented, disposable, skin-penetration-testing device that uses 10x less drug


Sells unique micro-inverter systems enabling easy access to solar power for households


Offers a novel Tiling Robot that tiles floors accurately and 3x faster


Provides a unique membrane dehumidifier system that decreases inlet air humidity by half thus dramatically reducing the energy required to cool a building


Commercializes novel micro-needles developed at NUS. The first product is an effective overnight patch for reducing cellulite.


Commercializes novel micro-needles developed at NUS. The first product is an effective overnight patch for reducing cellulite.


Commercializes a patented bacteria and simple process to convert organic feedstock into useful green products. The first product is bio-succinic acid produced out of sugarcane bagasse.


Revolutionizes skin testing in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries by providing real life human skin derived from stem cells assuring consistency and thus speeding time-to-market for cosmetics products.


System enables patients to perform prescribed rehabilitation exercises from home and measures their progress. Therapists can focus on customizing treatment thus allowing them to see 3 times more patients than before


Produces bio diesel made out of waste grease using a unique patented biocatalyst for the Asian emerging economies hungry for energy.


Offers a unique cell-tracing product to the pharmaceutical industry that enables ten times higher visibility and dramatically longer tracing of cancer cells than any other product on the market today.

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If you have an interesting, demonstrable, technology and would like to enter your technology into the programme, please send an email to We will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your technology and its suitability for the module.