Supporting Singaporeans With Quality & Affordable Healthcare Through Innovations

Supporting Singaporeans With Quality & Affordable Healthcare Through Innovations

Healthcare and wellness innovations play a crucial role in the betterment of our society.

On this special edition of Health Suites, Claressa Monteiro spoke to Tan Wee Siong, Senior Conexus Manager, School of Infocomm, Republic Polytechnic, Project lead for the IGO Smart Toilet, and Dr Papia Sultana, Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering, Republic Polytechnic, Project lead for the Dilution Air Processing Unit (DAPU), to find out more about these innovations that are currently being developed.

Claressa Monteiro: Could you give us an overview of [RP’s] Health and Wellness Hub as well as your project?

Papia Sultana: Our newly launched Health and Wellness Hub is a one-stop hub that brings together Republic Polytechnic’s capabilities for health and wellness through several ways. First, the hub features a laboratory that is used for lessons, physical trials, health screenings and data collection for research. Students will now have the tools to learn how to conduct health screenings and we have been using this as a step to conduct trials for different multidisciplinary R&D projects. This hub also facilitates a web portal that industry partners can use to contact RP. It has been very useful as it allows us to connect with potential industry partners and collaborators for the commercialisation of our various projects.

Ultimately, the hub aims to equip students and staff with professional healthcare skills and will support the continued quality and affordability of healthcare for Singaporeans.

Claressa: Could you give us an overview of your project, Wee Siong?

Tan Wee Siong: My project – a smart toilet project – is an application that can detect diabetes in a non-invasive manner. Currently, most of the devices in the market require drawing blood from bodies to get an accurate reading. But since this project is done in a non-invasive manner, we use IoT devices and spectrometers instead to detect glucose levels in urine. The data collected from the spectrometer will then be stored in a mobile application that can detect trends, using the results gathered, and send alerts if the user’s glucose level is consistently high. This device is also portable and can be installed in toilets of hospitals, nursing homes and any households.

Claressa: Now let us get back to Dr Papia. Could you share with us how your innovation will improve our lives?

Dr Papia: The project I am working on is the Dilution Air Processing Unit - better known as DAPU. The device features a simple and eco-friendly design for air ventilation and filtration. It has a lesser environmental impact as it does not release any harmful gas such as ozone or require ultraviolet rays to disinfect the ear. It could be an option for enhancing ventilation and maintaining high levels of indoor air quality in non-residential settings - which are both recommended by authorities when it comes to living in a pandemic that has turned endemic.

DAPU can reduce the airborne particle accumulation of a room by as much as 70 percent. So, having this device – that comes with a real-time display of particle concentration levels – installed in a restaurant or the waiting area of a clinic, can make occupants feel much safer when they are required to stay longer for their various indoor activities. For these reasons, we hope that DAPU can help create a smoother transition towards the opening of businesses.

Claressa: In your opinion, where would DAPU be used the most?

Dr Papia: DAPU is suitable for any enclosed space within a building or areas with high-risk activities. So, places with high-risk activities could either be hospitals with clinical treatment rooms, hotels that are now used as Stay Home Notice (SHN) facilities, or even commercial indoor spaces such as gymnasiums, restaurants, and dedicated areas within shopping malls.

Claressa: Wee Siong, with your IGO Smart Toilet, how easy would it be to have it installed in someone's home?

Wee Siong: As you know, early detection is critical when it comes to managing diabetes, or even reversing pre-diabetes. Hence, we created a portable non-invasive detection system that can be easily used at home to help more people detect diabetes early. Since users do not need to go to clinics or hospitals to do a blood test, it is more convenient for them and there will be less resistance when doing the test. This will also encourage more [members of the public] to do regular checks which will aid with early detection.

Members of the public who may be at risk of diabetes can install the system temporarily in their homes to monitor their glucose levels. As of now, we are looking for partners to commercialise this project. Our aim is to develop it for all kinds of people, including those in elderly care facilities and nursing homes.

Listen anywhere and enjoy more features on Awedio: SPH's free digital audio streaming service. Find out how both Tan Wee Siong and Dr Papia Sultana involve their polytechnic students for these projects and the key takeaways that they have learnt throughout the process.

Download the podcast.

For more, tune in to Workday Afternoon with Claressa Monteiro from 1PM to 4PM.
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This interview was broadcasted on MONEY FM 89.3 on 14 December 2021.

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