Semester break is a precious period for many to recharge, to hang out with friends, or to pursue hobbies. But for some, this time is spent on meaningful activities while visiting new places and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Find out how three student teams from SP travelled to neighbouring countries for LeX+ projects to develop prototypes that tackle certain problems using concepts learnt from their classes.
Their engineering background came to good use when four third-year students, Lim Fang Yi from Diploma in Engineering with Business (DCEB); Loh Kuan Ming and Natalie de Guzman from Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (DEEE); and Navindran Chandran from Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (DME) visited Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Helping mushroom farmers monitor humidity and temperature levels to optimise the growth of their crops, this team designed Shroom Sense: a monitoring system using Arduino programming. Partnering with BOSCH gave the team the chance of a lifetime to incorporate the XDK, an Internet of Things (IoT) device, into Shroom Sense. The XDK has multiple sensors integrated into a single device that allows them to sense various parameters. In doing so, data collection of climatic conditions can be mined to develop sustainable agricultural practices.
To pull off this electronic-based project, each of them turned to the skills and knowledge they have acquired from their classes. Working in tandem with students from Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta (UMY), this cross-cultural experience taught them how to work with different groups of people, like the farmers, and also researchers from BOSCH. Now these farmers can water their mushrooms at the most optimal times to obtain the best yield!
“Creating something and being able to implement it in another part of the world, and seeing how it can help other people made this trip an unique experience”
WHAT IS LEX+?
LeX+ is a social innovation programme at SP where students together with partering ASEAN universities join hands in the co-development of functional solutions that seek to Improve lives.
The idea of a salt wheel came about after meeting salt farmers from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam who had to transport 80kg of wet salt on their backs during harvest. Wheelbarrows were inconvenient because of the mushy ground and carrying such heavy loads strained these farmers’ backs. Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) students, Lee Hui Ting, Natashaa Elvita Tan and Muhammad Rifdil’arifin Bin Rizwan, along with Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science (DPCS) student, Esther Chan Hui, each played their part in developing a prototype of a salt wheel: the solution to a predicament that salt farmers have faced for years.To devise a low cost solution, there were several rounds of prototyping to construct a salt wheel that could withstand corrosion caused by salt and be easily moved around. Under the guidance of their lecturer, Mr Neelesh Bhatia, the team applied the concepts they learnt from their chemical engineering classes, and also picked up business negotiation skills. This would not have been possible without the help of Ho Chi Minh College of Economics (HCE) students, who partnered the SP team and helped them bridge the language barrier.This salt wheel prototype was featured at the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme by the Singapore International Foundation, and emerged the top 20 amongst 180 teams from 33 countries at the Hong Poly-U Global Student Challenge. Who wouldn’t be in awe of them?
COW’S MILK SOAP
Third-year Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) students turned “soap-makers”, Goh Yu Tian, Lee Shi Er, Lo Jia Jee, Roselle Ong Hui Loo and Tan Wee Keat had an ingenious idea to repurpose surplus cow’s milk that would have otherwise been thrown out. Despite their hectic schedules, these students made their way to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during their semester break for this LeX+ project.
There, they researched on methods of processing soap and experimented with different oils to arrive at the perfect formulation. The result is an all-natural, additives-free soap that does not harm the environment and is suitable for sensitive skin types. Throughout this journey, their lecturer Dr Noel Kristian supported their efforts and provided valuable guidance no matter how busy he was. Collaborating with Business students from the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), they were also able to understand the local buyers’ behaviour in Vietnam and tailored their product to optimise its selling points.
As part of their entrepreneurship module, SP’s Diploma in Business Administration (DBA) students have launched this product under the brand, FAIRE. This cow milk soap will be hitting shelves soon as an artisanal beauty product in both Vietnam and Singapore, so look out for it!