Squinting at the time may soon be a thing of the past for the elderly, with an innovative solution seen at this year’s Tah Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award.
|CN PHOTO: Adalia Tan
She looked at the clock intently, trying hard to make sense of the various numbers and clock hands, only to give up after a minute. Turning around, she asked, “What time is it?” This was the situation which Josephine Ng Ying Tian often found herself in, when her grandmother could not read the time by herself.
This thus gave Ng and her classmate, Kay Si Ying, both studying for their diplomas in Telematics and Media Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic, the inspiration to design a clock that would allow the elderly to read time clearly without difficulty. They named their invention the “Elderly Clock,” and participated in the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award 2010. With this entry, they were one of the four teams to be awarded the Silver Award this year. The silver medal is the top award for the Senior Student Category. They received the award from Ms. Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Education on June 5.
Through the courses taught at college, Ng learned about the latest advancement in technology, including artificial intelligence, digital media and next generation user interfaces. Through her knowledge of creating smart products, services and experiences, she aims to help improve business and quality of life in the community. Together with her co-inventor, Kay, they applied their knowledge and came up with the highly innovative solution. “The idea behind this invention was to reduce the confusion faced by the elderly when they read the time by showing only the relevant information of the clock. We wanted a digital clock that could be read using the analogue system,” said Ng.
“We faced several difficulties and challenges in creating the clock. Both Si Ying and I had to play around with the colors of the clock, ensuring contrasting background colors that would suit the elderly. We also spent much time in getting the numberings for the clock right, going to print shops to finalize the correct template. Two prototypes were created before deciding on the final design,” added Ng.
The design of the clock is such that it has a unique “Lollipop Concept,” where the white circles at the end of the clock hands is in high contrast to the colours of the numbers, thus showing the hour and minute more clearly to the viewer.
The Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award was first mooted by Nobel Laureate Professor C.N. Yang in May 1986. Yang, who holds the position of Tan Kah Kee Foundation’s advisor and mentor, observed that Asian students including Singapore students were good at learning but lacked originality in scientific research. He thus proposed an award that would encourage students to be more creative in order to create new inventions that would bring about economic benefit to the country.