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'Smart' seat to prevent train rows

Project mates (from left) Chua Beng Hoe, Muhammad Aliff Siddiq Aziz and Seah Xiang Long showing how their priority seat is released for use by flashing an approved ez-link card at a sensor. -- PHOTO: NGEE ANN POLYTECHNIC

Publication Date : 08-01-2013

 

SINGAPORE: They had seen the online videos of train commuters quarrelling over reserved seats. So the three students decided to do something about it. They set about creating a folding seat that would open only if someone in need, such as an elderly person, flashed an ez-link card at a sensor. "We wanted to come up with a way to make sure the seats were used by only the people who really need it," said Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Chua Beng Hoe, 25. He and his teammates, Seah Xiang Long, 19, and Muhammad Aliff Siddiq Aziz, 21, also came up with ways for the system to be used by pregnant women, the disabled and anyone feeling unwell. The trio's invention was one of five unveiled to the media yesterday as part of the polytechnic's open house.

 

They had seen the online videos of train commuters quarrelling over reserved seats. So the three students decided to do something about it.

They set about creating a folding seat that would open only if someone in need, such as an elderly person, flashed an ez-link card at a sensor.

"We wanted to come up with a way to make sure the seats were used by only the people who really need it," said Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Chua Beng Hoe, 25. He and his teammates, Seah Xiang Long, 19, and Muhammad Aliff Siddiq Aziz, 21, also came up with ways for the system to be used by pregnant women, the disabled and anyone feeling unwell. The trio's invention was one of five unveiled to the media yesterday as part of the polytechnic's open house.

Chua explained that the refurbished "priority seat" worked using a mechanism operated by magnets that kept it in an upward "locked" position. Senior citizens can unlock it by tapping their cards against a reader. This allows the seat to be pulled down from its folding position. Then, when the commuter gets up, it automatically springs back upright and is locked again.

Chua added that pregnant women and those feeling ill could have their ez-link cards activated for a given period of time at a train station after producing a doctor's note. Their invention has a video feature that allows the train driver to monitor the reserved seats and release them if he spots people in need whose cards do not allow them access.

The students, who are taking a course on automation and mechatronic systems, said they had written to the transport authorities and were waiting to hear from them.

Other inventions showcased yesterday included a remote-controlled traffic light system for pedestrian crossings in busy areas and a toilet with an alarm to alert caregivers when an elderly patient is attempting to get up.

Electrical engineering student Anne Lee has developed a multi-purpose wand to reduce the amount of equipment that police officers need at roadblocks. Currently, they carry three separate devices - a red reflective wand to tell motorists to stop their vehicles, a blinking light attached to their uniforms so they can be seen in the dark, and a torch for reading and conducting checks.

Officers often have trouble managing the different devices, said Staff Sergeant Ali Anwar, 29. The multi-purpose wand - which was created specifically for Clementi Police Division - combines all three into one large gadget, with separate buttons to activate each function.

"This will definitely be less cumbersome to carry around," said Staff Sgt Ali. "The wand also has a strong base magnet, which means we can rest it on top of a car during checks without worrying about it."

 

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