Terence Thaddeus Lew was part of a five-member team, who called themselves 5wift, which won the Best Prototype Award at Designathon 2016, held on 9 - 10 January 2016 at the National Design Centre. Terence is a second-year School of Business student in the Visual Communication with Business degree programme at SIM University (UniSIM). The Visual Communication with Business degree programme is a collaboration between UniSIM and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Designathon 2016 is a 36-hour design challenge organised by the Asian Insights & Design Innovation (AIDI) unit of the DesignSingapore Council, which facilitates the infusion of user-driven innovation into Singapore enterprises and public agencies. Themed "Living Beautifully: Designing for the Golden Years", this inaugural hands-on competition saw a total of 45 participating teams coming up with the prototypes of products catering to the needs of the elderly, empowering them to live their desired lifestyle and stay active.
Terence and his teammates – Lu Xiaocheng, Sarup Banskota, Lie Ming Chang and Gabriel Chang, who came from different institutions and organisations, brainstormed and came up with a product that integrated technology to enhance the mobility of elders. Recognising that seniors desire safe commuting while having to deal with deteriorating hearing due to old age, the team developed a prototype of the easy-to-use 5wiftband which would notify the wearer through sound, motion and visual alerts of any oncoming vehicles. The intelligent product also featured a distress button which could be activated to get help in times of emergency. 5wift's prototype and presentation impressed the panel of judges, and the team was presented with the Best Prototype Award, along with S$500 cash prize, by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the event. With a few parties having already expressed interest in 5wiftband, the team is hoping for good news on receiving grants for product development.
Terence, who has had hearing impairment since the age of five due to a viral infection, shared that he found it extremely challenging to work under such a tight deadline, especially when he was not equipped with product design expertise. He conveyed his thanks to his teammates for their patience in communicating with him and for their willingness to share their knowledge and ideas.
Terence added: "I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I had gained in my modules taken at UniSIM's School of Business, such as Design Research and Marketing, in this competition. Special thanks to Dr Jenson Goh, Head of the Visual Communication with Business programme at UniSIM, for his encouragement for me to participate in Designathon 2016. I would also like to thank Mr Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of the DesignSingapore Council; and Ms Marn Lim, Assistant Director of AIDI, who made it possible for me to participate in this competition by arranging for a sign language interpreter."
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (extreme right), Minister for Communications and Information, presenting 5wift with the Best Protoype Award.
5wift team members (clockwise, from left) Gabriel Chang, Lie Ming Chang, Lu Xiaocheng, UniSIM student Terence Lew,
and Sarup Banskota, proudly displaying their award-winning prototype.