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受外婆启发 新科大毕业生为养老院设计宜居空间

04 Aug 2018

Lianhe Zaobao, 4 Aug 2018, Inspired by Grandma, SUTD graduate designed liveable spaces for nursing home (translation) 

Having learnt the importance of active ageing through her grandmother, the Singapore University of Science and Technology (SUTD) graduating student Natasha Yeo (22 years old) and five school mates collaborated with a nursing home to work on their Capstone project to redesign the living and event spaces for the elderly.

Natasha has had an close relationship with her grandmother, Cheong Tian Neo (84 years old), since she was a child. However, in September last year, her grandmother’s health developed issues and had to be admitted into the intensive care unit. After she was discharged from the hospital, she had to use a wheelchair and family activities were reduced. Natasha said: " From this personal experience, I deeply understand the importance of maintaining physical and mental health for the elderly. The impact of ageing is gradually emerging in Singapore, so I am very interested in this aspect of design."
For their Capstone project, Natasha and her school mates chose to work with the Sree Narayana Mission Home to help them redesign their interior spaces. In their design, one of the walls in the multi-purpose hall will be transformed into display shelves for the exhibition of handicrafts and another wall will have a scenic design. Plants will be placed at moderate heights so that the wheel-chair bound elderly can easily take care of them. This can foster a sense of belonging among the elderly and provide them with space to talk and socialise with one another. In addition, the team has designed electric wheelchairs for the nursing home. The elderly residents need only ring the bell to have their caretakers take them out of their rooms, and they can then choose where they want to go along the corridors. The electric wheelchairs will take them to designated locations, according to pre-assigned routes. The team received positive feedback from the Sree Narayan Mission Home, which was very pleased with several design elements and have plans to make modifications based on the design.

SUTD invites proposals from corporate partners every year, to provide graduating students with real-world problems faced by companies for their Capstone projects. Students can expand on the interaction while helping to solve the organisation’s problems.

41 companies participated, the highest number to date
This year, SUTD will welcome more than 300 [corrected online] graduates, with an exhibition of 55 capstone design project. The number of participating corporate partners amounted to 41, the highest so far. It is not the first time many of them are collaborating with SUTD, and the number of proposals has also increased.

Besides the Sree Narayana Mission Home, there are many other designs that have received approval from many companies and some are likely to apply for patents in the future. In addition, some students hope to continue to further develop their capstone projects. For example, Chua Tze Chong (24) and Stanley Nguyen (22) who will set up a start-up company to promote the parcel delivery robot designed by their team.