Partnering older adults to co-create innovative ageing solutions

With Singapore facing a challenging ageing population, the event introduced emerging and innovative technologies that associated with growing old, showingcasing projects by NUS Biomedical Engineering as well as innovations from NUS faculty members and NUS start-ups.

“While we have been working closely with Lions Befrienders for various initiatives, this is the first time we are holding a gerontechology showcase in the community,” said Dr James Kah, a Senior Lecturer with the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr Kah teaches the module “BN4102 Gerontechnology in Aging” at NUS, which produced several of the projects on show, and oversees the good initiative, which also co-creates solutions for the disability community. Dr Kah is also a member of the Health District @ Queenstown initiative.

“By bringing this Showcase to senior residents at their estates, and having our NUS students and researchers interact with the older adults, we hope to co-design and jointly develop technological innovations that will improve the quality of life of our seniors. Prototypes will first be tested in the community, and eventually be in a larger scale within the community to benefit more seniors.”

Senior-friendly innovations

Besides Grip Buddy, another NUS student project featured was Happy Feet 2.0, an elderly-friendly dancing game designed to keep the elderly physically and mentally active as they dance to popular songs they are familiar with.

To encourage older adults to both move their feet and promote cognitive stimulation, the students came up with an engaging and fun activity where players follow a series of arrows shown on a screen and steps on corresponding tiles on the mat to earn points. Created specially for seniors, Happy Feet 2.0 comes with a non-slip mat, cushioning foam, slower game speeds and larger on-screen icons.

NUS researchers also participated in the community event. One of their inventions on show was the EsoGlove, a lightweight, soft robotic glove that patients with impaired hand functions to perform rehabilitation exercises in the comfort and convenience of their home. Designed to detect and interpret muscle signal, the EsoGlove also serves to assist patients in carrying out tasks like holding a cup.

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