techlaunch nus iel


Take Tech to Market


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.

Find out more about TechLaunch!

Plenary sessions will introduce frameworks for commercialization of new ideas and technologies. Associate Professor (Practice) Glenn Vandevoorde will lead the module, assisted by Adjunct Associate Professor Vinod Vasnani and Lecturer Randall Sie to help guide the teams through the programme.

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 Fridays 6-9pm starting on 13 January 2017 in TechHub.

A cutting edge desalination technology powered by waste cold energy
Water-Energy nexus is one of the biggest challenges confronting Singapore. To solve this challenge, Linga Lab at NUS are building a next-generation water treatment technology based on gas hydrate which is cheaper and more sustainable than competitive technologies. During the hydrate crystal formation, salts and other impurities present in the water get rejected. Pure water is recovered by effectively separating these hydrate crystals from unreacted water. As hydrates form at low temperatures, the lab has implemented an innovative solution that uses cold energy from LNG regasification terminals. We strive to be the first mover in this water-waste energy segment.

Autonomous vehicle
This innovation uses sensors to judge the surrounding environment and feedback to an autonomous vehicle (AV) such as a drone. The sensor’s data not only provide awareness of obstacles in the environment but also helps the drone to calculate the position of itself relative to take off position. Hence, the drone can fly autonomously according to the defined waypoints and avoid the obstacles on the way. The whole process does not rely on any GPS information, thus achieving autonomous flight in GPS-less environment and avoiding obstacles in a cost-effective way. It can be used for surveillance, monitoring, search & rescue and many other application in a GPS-less environment.

Microsphere nanoscope
The microsphere nanoscope technology developed is an attachment for optical microscopes providing a considerable upgrade to its resolution. The minimum feature size viewable using this nanoscope is 25nm. This size is typically only achievable with an electron microscope that is expensive (more than $1 million) and under stringent operating conditions (high vacuum and tedious sample preparation). The process of conventional preparation also is likely to damage biology or soft samples. The nanoscope delivers similar performance without making such sacrifices, which will in turn provide great value to biological research at nanometer scale.

A novel nano-sensor to measure bio-molecule interaction providing the opportunity for a generic platform for drug screening
Our invention probes how strong any bio-molecule may interact with another in various solutions, using home-built magnetic tweezers. We differ from other competing technologies by: the ability to pick only a single molecule at a time, considering its dynamics with the partner at nanometer resolution, delivering unparalleled accuracy in quantifying the interaction, and detecting any interference from the surroundings. Such power is particularly desired when the bio-molecule is a drug target. Our invention can serve as a generic platform to screen drugs from a drug library. It provides a cheap, high-throughput and accurate solution for drug discovery.

Silicon Chip & Software platform for Rapid Development of IoT Devices
UbIQ is the first silicon chip/software platform for rapid development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Thanks to its extremely low power consumption, UbIQ enables decade-long battery lifetime (100X better than Arduino boards), mm-scale form factor (50X smaller), dollar-range cost (10X lower), and time-to-market of weeks. Its unique reconfiguration enables developers to design/customize IoT devices for a very broad range of applications, while avoiding the large initial cost of chip prototyping/design ($1-30M). UbIQ is configured via software programming, empowering any (HW or SW) developer to build best-in-class IoT devices, from wearables to Industry 4.0, to smart objects, homes and buildings. Easily and cheaply.

IoT platform for continuous monitoring of cold chain applications
MEDsSensorTrack is the first integrated IoT platform solution for continuous monitoring of temperature-sensitive products (perishable foods) in a cold chain system. Thanks to its fully connected wireless capability, it can track and timely report the condition of the products on the move in the cold chain operation. Its unique reconfiguration platform enables developers / system integrators to design and customize IoT solution for a broad range of cold chain applications in a matter of weeks while avoiding a huge initial cost of high radio frequency (RF) circuit prototyping / critical PCB board design. MEDsSensorTrack is software configured allowing developer (HW and SW) to easily build an industrial grade IoT solution for the cold chain industry.

TV White Space (TVWS) uses the underutilized TV broadcast frequencies for wireless communication. Its concept is similar to Airbnb and Uber where it is a new type of sharing economy in frequency spectrum. Due to its long range and good penetration characteristics, TVWS enables many applications that were previously impossible or too costly to deploy. Whizpace, a spin-off from A*STAR, is a pioneer in TVWS where we have equipment and solutions that address the needs of rural Internet and Internet-of-Things applications. Various pilots and deployments showed that TVWS provided up to 10x cost and/or time savings. As mentioned by the then FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the potential of TVWS is only limited by your imagination

Emosis – The Anxiety Management Headband
The Emosis headband is a wireless wearable brainwave-sensing solution that detects anxiety and provides active intervention to modulate anxiety. Currently, there are no consumer devices in the market that provides objective anxiety monitoring-management. We were motivated by the opportunity of helping people manage anxiety effectively through wearable technology, and supporting them in achieving greater performance in their respective domains. This innovation is developed with Singapore Sports Institute for the purpose of providing real-time objective anxiety monitoring-management for air rifle shooters, in order to enhance their athletic performance. Other potential applications could be for managing academic anxiety and competitive gaming anxiety.

Packaging Film
Global food wastage has been increasing over the years. Food waste and loss from post-harvest to processing and from retail to consumer level sums up to hundreds of billions of dollars each year. One of the ways to reduce food wastage is to improve the food packaging. Our innovation addresses this global problem with its excellent oxygen barrier properties which was created by integrating the desirable properties of plastic films with the naturally occurring nanomaterials. In addition, the packaging film possesses high flexibility, transparency and good mechanical strength which overcomes the shortcomings of conventional gas barrier films.

Dissolving micro patch for skin applications
Varieties of skin care products are available for a number of skin related problems. However, most of the products takes a long time to show the desired effect because of the slow penetration of ingredients into the skin. The main cause is the tough barrier created by the uppermost skin layer. In addition, the cosmetic ingredients larger in size like hyaluronic acid, collagen, etc. cannot penetrate into the skin. This micro patch is based on microneedle technology which can overcome the skin barrier by creating micro-pores into the skin without causing any sort of pain. Micro patch can show its effect in few minutes while normal cosmetics may take days.


Application for TechLaunch

Click Here to register for techLaunch

You will be informed by mail of your application. Successful candidates must then complete the Cross Faculty Module application form and submit to their home department for approval to take the module.

Do you have an interesting technology?

If you have an interesting, demonstrable, technology and would like to enter your technology into the programme, then please download the application form HERE and send it to Associate Professor Glenn Vandevoorde ( We will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your technology and its suitability for the module.

TechLaunch Past Projects

(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
EcoBind offers a unique non-toxic battery binder that makes batteries 5% lighter and 4x faster charging.
NeumoSol sells novel test kits enabling early pneumonia detection in 2 minutes.
SeeRebro introduces a pioneering portable, radiation-free device allowing early-diagnosis and monitoring of hematoma patients.
SKINetrate provides a patented, disposable, skin-penetration-testing device that uses 10x less drug.
TransVerter sells unique micro-inverter systems enabling easy access to solar power for households.
versaTile offers a novel Tiling Robot that tiles floors accurately and 3x faster.
HumidFree provides a unique membrane dehumidifier system that decreases inlet air humidity by half thus dramatically reducing the energy required to cool a building.
Nusmetics is commercializing novel micro-needles developed at NUS. The first product is an effective overnight patch for reducing cellulite.
ReVoice equips surgeons with a medical device for in-office tracheo-esophageal puncture (TEP) surgeries for immediate voice restoration.
Greenus is commercializing 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.
StemDerm 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.
HomeRehab 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.
BioCycle produces bio diesel made out of waste grease using a unique patented biocatalyst for the Asian emerging economies hungry for energy.
LuminiCell 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.

Tech Launch News & Events