Close to 40 undergraduates from the Innovation and Design-Centric Programme showcased some of their exciting projects over the course of the academic year on 9 May 2017. This year’s Showcase attracted more than 35 students from five junior colleges, as well as guests from industry, some of whom are collaborators.
iDCP Project Showcase 2017
Among the exhibits featured was the solar-powered helicopter. Supervised by Dr Aaron Danner and Mr Brian Teo Shohei, students Jiang Yisong (Year 2 Computer Engineering), Manoharan Karthik (Year 2 Mechanical Engineering), Tan Qi Zhi (Year 2 Mechanical Engineering) and Teo Kian Chong (Year 2 Mechanical Engineering) strived to improve the design of quadcopters in the market. Presently, there are constraints, such as range and flight time due to the capacity of batteries. Previous prototypes with integrated solar cells failed, due to inefficient use of solar panels and ineffective mechanical framework. The students are continuing to modify the existing models of the multi-copter drones, which includes making them solar-powered and having large propellers to generate more lift to escape ground effect. With these modifications, the drones could achieve stable-controlled flight and precision-position flying.
The optical microscope is a widely used imaging tool. It is cost-effective and convenient to use. However, its resolving power is limited by the diffraction limit – the smallest feature size that could be observed is about 200 nanometres. By inserting a microsphere between the sample and the objective lens, Prof Hong Minghui, from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, discovered that the image can be magnified further, and the smallest details can be observed. The results were first published in Nature Communications in 2011. The Optical Microsphere Nanoscope leverages on Prof Hong’s discovery. It allows biology researchers to observe smaller features in live samples. Supervised by Prof Hong, Ji Jiahao (Year 4 Materials Science & Engineering) hopes to actualise the laboratory prototype into a compact and low-cost equipment that could be commercialised to benefit more users. The prototype design has been patented and licensed to Phaos Technology, which is co-founded by Prof Hong, for commercialisation.
Other interesting projects highlighted included an ECO-car, which is an urban concept car that meets the demand for small and fuel efficient personal transportation, and a low-cost immersive virtual reality (VR) training system which could be adopted by industries for technical training.