Lighting the path
This simple idea to improve lighting at the traffic junction and reduce accidents took home second prize.
Low visibility contributes to over 40 percent of all fatal car accidents; those involving passengers are often due to poor visibility at night or during heavy downpours, when drivers are unable to see the pedestrians crossing at the traffic light. What remains a key area of concern is the traffic accidents involving elderly pedestrians. The number of elderly pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased by 21.7 percent from 2015 to 2016. Also during that period, the number of accidents involving elderly pedestrians increased by 19.6 percent.
With an ageing population in Singapore, it is important that we continue to encourage mobility and senior activity, but we have to consider their safety as well. An innovative idea from a team of Secondary One students from the School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST) that came out at the recent 2017 SST-3M InnoScience Challenge addresses this. The product called Safety Lights aim to improve the lighting at the traffic junction using an LED light panel, which when activated will illuminate the road when pedestrians are crossing. Having a lit path for pedestrians will not only alert motorists to stop for people crossing, but also help pedestrians see the path in front of them during times of low visibility.
The team called Team Lustre which included 13-year-olds Caleb Lau, Ang Lija and Ian Chua bagged the second prize after another team which conceptualised a plant nursery built into a coffee table with the aim to promote urban farming among city dwellers. Although the team did not take home the top prize, they however took home many lessons. Said Ang Lija: “I learnt how to collaborate with my teammates to finish the whole project and how to communicate effectively with my teammates to ensure that we finished all the tasks by the given time.”
Added Caleb Lau: “The InnoScience Challenge has helped me in my communication skills as well as how to think about a design problem, ideate solutions and create a prototype. Creating a prototype is very important as you will see how the product works first and if there are any problems before even making the real one.”
He added that his team’s product would help pedestrians feel safer when crossing the roads, without fearing to be unnoticed in the dark. “Drivers would also feel more secure that they would be able to see the pedestrians if any are crossing, and would be able to stop in time to avoid any unwanted accidents. This will also lessen road accidents and there would be fewer victims of car accidents,” explained Caleb.
Though each member of the runners-up teams took home a goody bag of stationery worth S$120, 3M said it has no plans to commercialise the various teams’ design concepts. It shared: “This is the third year that 3M Singapore is collaborating with SST, where we encourage students to start thinking critically about the global megatrends impacting Singapore. As a science-based company, 3M hopes to engage students to come up with smart urban solutions to address future challenges.”