Ideas on bacteria-driven biofilter for vehicles and solar energy management system emerge as winners at Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2021 competition


SINGAPORE –
Media OutReach – 2 March 2022 – Samsung Electronics Singapore today announced the winners of the Solve for Tomorrow 2021 competition, with teams MNKS X CO2 from Singapore Polytechnic and Team Adustio from the National University of Singapore (NUS) taking home top honours for the Post-secondary and University categories respectively. The final round of this competition saw 10 finalist teams five from each category – showcasing their ideas to a judging panel of industry leaders.

Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under its Digital for Life initiative, the fifth edition of Solve for Tomorrow was launched on 7 October 2021. The 10 finalist teams were shortlisted from over 170 teams comprising more than 510 students in Singapore. The top team from each category walked away with $10,000 worth of Samsung products, $5,000 cash prize and an insider tour of Samsung Singapore office, and a study trip to Seoul, South Korea [1].

“We believe that our youths hold the keys to address our most pressing issues and shape the nation’s advancement, tapping on their passion and knowledge while harnessing the power of technology and innovation,” said Mark Kim, President, Samsung Electronics Singapore. “Science and technology play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change and creating a sustainable, circular economy. Digital solutions’ immense potential to overcome real-world issues has been highlighted tremendously during the pandemic. Through this competition, we hope to spark the light of innovation amongst our next generation of leaders and innovators, thereby enabling them to pioneer positive social and environmental change through technology.”

In a Samsung online poll [2] participated by 107 Gen Zs (aged 16 – 25), half of the respondents (50 percent) ranked diseases, chronic illnesses and mental health issues as Singapore’s most critical challenges. This is followed by climate change and environment sustainability challenges.

Health and mental well-being and environmental sustainability are top concerns for Gen Zs

The poll was conducted on the sidelines of the Solve for Tomorrow competition to highlight youth perspectives on the different societal and environmental challenges that the nation faces, as well as understand how they are playing their part to address these issues.

More than four in five GenZs (82 percent) indicated that the rapidly changing economy and widespread changes in jobs have become even more concerning due to Covid-19. However, despite these heightened concerns, most respondents (75 percent) are still optimistic that Singapore can solve the societal and environmental challenges it faces.

Covid-19 has also made 57 percent of Gen Zs realise that everybody has a role to play in addressing Singapore’s pressing issues. Additionally, 58 percent of respondents also highlighted that the pandemic has made them realise the critical role digital technology plays in addressing Singapore’s societal and environmental challenges.

Furthermore, more than four in five GenZs (81 percent) stated that social entrepreneurship is important or highly important in addressing societal and environmental challenges. Nearly two-thirds of them (64 percent) also aspire to be social entrepreneurs if given the opportunity.

Solve for Tomorrow encourages youths to take a more proactive approach in addressing Singapore’s key challenges by providing them with a platform to ideate and apply their knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), to make a meaningful impact in our community. It also allows them to ignite their entrepreneurial spirit by empowering them to develop tangible innovations that can potentially be implemented at scale. Solve for Tomorrow reflects Samsung’s investment in youths and its commitment to inspiring and developing the capabilities of the next generation of leaders to fulfil their potential.

Entries showcase innovation and aspirations of Singaporean youths for the nation

The judges for Solve for Tomorrow 2021 consisted of an esteemed panel of industry leaders. They included:

  • Mark Kim, President of Samsung Electronics Singapore
  • Foo Hui Hui, Deputy Director, Digital Literacy and Participation, Infocomm Media Development Authority
  • Aziza Sheerin, Vice President, APAC, General Assembly

The finalist teams were assessed based on the relevance, creativity and feasibility of their ideas, as well as how they were applying technology to the challenges identified in one of these themes – (1) environmental sustainability, (2) digital inclusion for seniors, (3) health & wellness and (4) preparing for the future of work. The public also got to vote for their favourite finalist team’s idea during the final round, and the competition received nearly 3,000 votes between 21 Dec 2021 to 31 Dec 2021. The voting results were included in the teams’ final scores.

“The growing challenges of tomorrow across areas such as healthcare, climate change, and transportation will require fresh thinking and novel solutions. Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow competition is a great catalyst to inspire the next generation of young leaders as they build core skills that will serve them well in their future careers. By providing a platform for students to utilize their skills to solve a real-world problem, competitions such as Solve for Tomorrow help young people adopt a growth mindset towards upskilling and applied learning that ensures that Singapore continues to build its status as a global leader in technology development and innovation,” said Aziza Sheerin, Vice President, APAC, General Assembly.

Winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2021 competition

Post-secondary category

  • 1st prize: MNKS X CO2
  • 2nd prize: Team Mech Care
  • 3rd prize: PowerWHATt
  • People’s Choice award [3]: MNKS X CO2

University category

  • 1st prize: Team Adustio
  • 2nd prize: JBSamsung
  • 3rd prize: Team S^2 Brace
  • People’s Choice award [3] : JBSamsung

Post-secondary category winner: MNKS X CO2 from Singapore Polytechnic

The Post-secondary category winning team, with members Mohammed Khambhati​, Ti Kyi Kyaw, Keeret Singh, and Toh Siew Hean, conceptualised a biofilter for vehicles with a biofilm made of genetically engineered Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacteria that can consume carbon dioxide while emitting oxygen gas. The filter chamber design is similar to the villi of the small intestine, which will help maximise the bacteria’s contact surface with exhaust fumes, thereby increasing its overall filtration efficiency.

“Vehicle carbon emissions is a key culprit for climate change, and our team believes that addressing this issue will require us to rethink current solutions. The idea of a biofilter was inspired by the amazing ability of genetically modified E.coli to absorb carbon dioxide. With the assistance of my teammates Nick, Keeret, and Siew Hean, we were able to integrate different STEM disciplines and develop our idea into a feasible solution. Taking part in the Solve for Tomorrow competition allowed us to crystallise our idea as well as gain valuable knowledge and experience. We hope that our E.Coli-driven biofilter can make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change.” said Mohammed, team leader of MNKS X CO2.

University category winner: Team Adustio from NUS

Team Adustio, the University category winning team comprising Alyssa Cheok​ and Yuan Hai Shu, ​ developed an integrated two-part solar energy system that combines an organic solar battery with a mobile app-assisted asset management system. The organic solar battery cell is made from seaweed carrageenan, which is a binder for high energy and low-cost lithium-sulfur batteries. Its ability to stabilise the battery will help maximise battery efficiency. The battery is also biodegradable, which addresses the issue of toxic waste. Additionally, an integrated mobile application with sensor devices and an asset management system enables the solar panels to be tilted according to the sun’s position throughout the day, maximising its ability to harness solar energy.

“The global appetite for energy continues to grow as countries continue to develop, and there is an urgent need for renewable energy to catch up with the rising demand. Our integrated two-part solar solution will not only increase solar energy output, but it is also biodegradable and has a low production cost. We hope this will incentivise more companies to implement it at scale. Solve for Tomorrow is an ideal testbed for refining our solution and conceptualising a potential business model. The journey has been rewarding as it broadened our horizon and encouraged us to push the boundaries to create something impactful,” said Alyssa, team leader of Team Adustio.

For more information on Solve for Tomorrow, visit
https://www.samsung.com/sg/solvefortomorrow/.

More information on the competition can be found in Appendix A.

Profiles of the judges can be found on the Solve for Tomorrow website
here.


[1] Subject to global travel restrictions and developments of Covid-19.

[2] Samsung conducted an online poll among 107 respondents in Singapore, aged 16 to 25 years old, between October 2021 and January 2022. The poll aims to understand the views of Gen Zs on Singapore’s societal and environmental challenges.

[3] People’s Choice award – Finalist team that received the most votes from the public in the category.

 

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