Undergraduate Lionell Loh creates prototypes that solve real-world problems
Feb 24, 2018
Mr Lionell Loh, 21, liked the strong “maker” culture at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) where he can gain technological and design skills to help improve people’s lives.
So the Hwa Chong Institution student chose to join the SUTD Technology Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), a four-and-a-half year integrated programme culminating in bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUTD.
He is also a recipient of the STEP Scholarship, which covers his tuition fees and fully funds a one-year overseas entrepreneurship programme in the United States and China.
He will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering (Information Sys tems Technology and Design) and Master of Science in Technology Entrepreneurship.
Working well under pressure
School life can get hectic for Mr Loh.
He recalled a “hell week” where he and his friends worked on a potential idea for a social enterprise on top of mounting schoolwork.
Their prototype device aims to combat drowsiness of drivers by using a sensor that can detect the driver’s eyes closing. It will then cause the driver’s seat to vibrate and may even navigate him to a nearby rest stop.
In the span of one week, they submitted a major school assignment on their prototype, participated in a social entrepreneurship competition Create4Good and an external hackathon Startup Autobahn.
Through the back-to-back challenges, and Mr Loh learnt about teamwork, how to pick himself up quickly after setbacks and present to potential investors with confidence.
Mr Loh and his team entered the finals of Create4Good and secured $10,000 funding to prototype their innovation solution.
At Startup Autobahn, thanks to the pitch they refined over the week, they won an overseas trip to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress to exhibit their prototype.
Mr Loh, who plans to establish a start-up after graduation, says: “At SUTD, students take ownership of their environment and their life. If we find inefficiencies, we propose and build solutions.”
A future-ready education
Such a mindset is crucial for entrepreneurs like Mr Loh in an evolving world where smart technology is being integrated into everyday life.
In his third year, he will take advanced technical modules that will better equip him to enlist smart technology to offer up-to-date solutions.
Mr Loh says: “I am looking forward to the Machine Learning and Computer Vision modules.”
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Feb 24, 2018.