Inaugural design challenge by local startup receives over 130 submissions during circuit breaker

By igloohome | January 1, 1970

SINGAPORE – 1 July, 2020 – What started as an SGUnited initiative by local smart access startup, igloohome, to encourage innovation and creativity during the extended circuit breaker period has turned into a whopping design success. Named The igloohome Design Challenge: Circuit Disrupt, the competition received over 130 submissions over a span of 4 weeks, and boasted prizes worth up to $30,000 for grabs.

Winning entries were Nudge, a food safety signalling and reminder system and UPlive Series, a range of home improvement fittings from smart doors to parcel and shoe lockers. The submissions showed the participants' knack in addressing day-to-day issues for a smarter and safer way of life.

"We're extremely happy to see Singaporeans unlocking their inner creator, innovator or designer to come up with novel ideas for smarter ways of living," said Kaihui Tan, Creative Director of igloohome.

Nudge, the winning entry of the open category, was contrived from Alrissa Zheng's desire to create something for the collective good of society. Addressing the issue of food waste, the visual designer came up with a food safety signalling label and app-based reminder system to let people know when their food is going or has gone bad.

Winners of the student category were a team from LASALLE College of The Arts. Jessie Li, Nang Cho Mar Myint and Khin Thapyay were inspired by the evolving trends of smart living; coming together to create the UPlive products to mitigate minute inconveniences such as switching electrical appliances off, missing deliveries and shoe odours.

The challenge also saw entries submitted by 10-year-old pair, Danielle and Joash Soh. The young siblings are no strangers to such competitions having participated in a few COVID-19 hackathons prior to this. Their idea, DorMap, was designed to act as a TripAdvisor-type website for foreign workers' dormitory and living conditions. "Dirty dormitories were brought to light due to the rising numbers of foreign workers contracting this virus. We've volunteered before and even learned how to play cricket with them, and we'd like to give the migrant worker community a voice through this," commented the pair.

"Works like Danielle and Joash's showed an important aspect of design: empathy first, design later," says Astley Ng, Creative Director of Creative X Asia and one of the six esteemed judges of the competition.

Runner ups in the student category, Palash Jain and Orion Dai, creators of Jaga, wowed judges with their smart parcel storage solution. Aimed to streamline the last-mile delivery for logistics partners and customers, the slash-proof bag can be securely fastened to railings or doors for safer parcel deliveries. The final-year Nanyang Technological University students won themselves the igloohome HQ experience, giving them the chance to bring their idea to life.

"We want to give students an opportunity to take their ideas forward. If it's something we can build together, we will. It's also a great chance for them to grow their design and entrepreneurial skill sets, and give them a glimpse of what it's like to be an entrepreneur or start a startup." said Anthony Chow, CEO and co-founder of igloohome.

The challenge saw a strong collaborative spirit with submissions featuring participants from different tertiary institutions coming together to pitch ideas. Wan Ding Yang, an information systems student at the Singapore Management University, Koh Jin Jie, business major at the National University of Singapore, and Joey Ong, finance undergraduate at the Nanyang Technological University, collaborated to create an intelligent router that protects users against modern cybersecurity threats on Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

"This design challenge demonstrated that the pandemic did not constrain creativity. On the contrary, it provided a setting that allowed the most creative to thrive." said Low Cheaw Hwei, the Head of Design at Philips Singapore.

Winners across the open and student categories also receive mentorship from judges of their choice. The panel consists of industry experts that includes Steve Melhuish of PropertyGuru and Wavemaker Partners; Banny Banerjee of Stanford ChangeLabs; Jacques Malz of Strate School of Design on top of Anthony Chow, Astley Ng and Low Cheaw Hwei.

The mentorship sessions offer students and design enthusiasts practical experience and perspectives on what it takes to go the extra mile with their ideas.

On top of that, winners also receive cash prizes, hotel stays from Shangri-La and Lyf by Ascott, Grab and Lazada vouchers and uHoo air quality devices that provide the world's first real-time assessment of virus survival in the air, including COVID-19.