Hands on with the Makers

Hands on with the Makers

We check out some of the cool projects and cool Makers at Maker Faire Singapore 2016.

Where could you find Singapore’s largest gathering of inventors, creators and tinkerers?

Answer: Maker Faire Singapore, which kicked off on 25 June with a record 600 makers, 330 maker booths and 78 workshops and talks. 

The two-day event, held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), hosted do-it-yourself enthusiasts of all ages who showcased how they were using design and engineering to dream up new and creative solutions for everyday problems.

Here are some of the makers we spotted:

Precision parts with 3D printing

One of the makers was a familiar face.

ACE Chan

Mr Low Yee Cheok, who picked up 3D printing skills at IDA Labs@NLB, is taking his passion to new heights.

When Mr Low Yee Cheok signed up for a 3D printing course at the IDA Labs facility at Jurong Regional Library, he wanted to do more than just create 3D models of himself, his daughter and the family’s stuffed teddy bear – he also wanted to build functional components for model aircraft.

Spoiler alert: He succeeded!

A model aircraft hobbyist, Mr Low combined his own knowledge as a precision engineer with his newly-acquired 3D printing know-how and made use of equipment at IDA Labs to print out propeller adapters, a landing gear bracket cast at an exact 15-degree angle to ensure a smooth touchdown, and a battery casing with tiny apertures so precisely positioned such that the indicator lights could be clearly seen through them.

Looks like this maker's potential is ready to take off!

Everything but the kitchen sink for citizen science

Mr Wee Soon Keong, a final year biological sciences student at NTU, is a proponent of the Open bio movement.

Scientific tech doesn't need to cost a million dollars or so.

Creating centrifuges from kitchen blenders, building incubators from hair dryers and growing bacteria on agar agar – these are some of the ways everyday items can be used in citizen science, said Mr Wee Soon Keong, a final year biological sciences student at the Nanyang Technological University. 

Mr Wee is a proponent of the Open Bio Movement, which champions the innovative use of low-cost equipment and reagents to support scientific research. 

In one of his own projects, he created a lab robot using parts sourced from a 3D printer.

The robot, which automates the addition of reagents to hundreds of tiny wells on a well plate for analysis, cost about $400 to build, compared with a commercial version which could cost about $100,000.

We look forward to more low-cost innovations from the Open Bio Movement participants.

Freedom Personal Electric Vehicle

Sorry joggers and walkers, but for some of us, the last mile transportation to our homes should be “no sweat”. 


Mr Jaron Lee, an undergraduate at SUTD, is commercialising the Freedom Personal Electric Vehicle for people who really don't like to walk the last mile home.

With this thought in mind, Mr Jaron Lee and fellow SUTD undergraduate, Mr Brandon Chen, embarked on a research project to design a personal mobility vehicle that would enable commuters to travel hassle-free from their homes to the MRT station and back.

An internship stint at IDA Labs exposed Mr Lee to the world of start-ups and inspired the duo to take their personal mobility idea a step further – they formed a company called FOM Innovations to commercialise their creation.

Hotdesking at IDA Labs and participation in events like Tech Saturday, Innofest Unbound and Maker Faire also opened up networking opportunities and connected them to manufacturers, parts suppliers and other members of the start-up ecosystem.

The Freedom Personal Electric Vehicle piqued the interest of Minister of Commununications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who took it for a quick test spin.

Electronics concepts made easy 

Building electronics the rinse and repeat way: Pick, connect and build a circuit, using a circuit tile.

Building an electronic device from the ground up might not be so daunting after all.

What if, for starters, you could just pick a component, connect to a point and build a circuit?

Using “circuit tiles”, people of all ages will be able to pick up basic electronics concepts using these three simple steps. 

Each tile could be a power source, a variable resistor or a motor or buzzer or LED. The base can be made of plywood or thick cardboard or plastic sheets, and the electronic components recycled from old appliances. 

The circuit tiles and mosaics demos at Maker Faire also drew the interest of Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who couldn’t resist testing them out by creating a simple helicopter -- just by attaching a rotor to a circuit tile that is a motor.

Soft robotics for stroke patients

Mr Chan Chow Khuen, from the Evolution Innovation Lab at NUS, showing the pneumatic-powered silicon glove.

Here’s something that isn’t mainstream yet: Soft robotics.

The Evolution Innovation Lab at the National University of Singapore is looking at how soft robotics can be applied to develop assistive devices for stroke patients. 

The Lab focuses on bio-inspired engineering research, with knowledge gained through studying the mechanisms of nature. 

Soft robotics is one of the various aspects of assisitive tech being tested by the Lab team to meet medical needs.

For example, pneumatic-powered silicon socks and gloves can help promote movement and blood circulation in bed-ridden stroke patients, said Mr Chan Chow Khuen, a PhD student from the university’s biomedical engineering department.



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