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12 Jun 2017

“Smart Home Appliance” - Inter-Varsity Entrepreneurship Challenge 2017 at Shanghai

The Inter-Varsity Entrepreneurship Challenge 2017, held at Shanghai from 28 May to 4 June 2017, gathered students from Dual Degree Program in Technology & Management (T&M-DDP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and ShanghaiTech University (SHTECH). Students teamed up with peers from different universities were challenged to create a new smart home product/ service to solve a particular social problem in China.

The 8-day trip was intensive but enriching. Workshops, expert talks, company visits, brainstorming sessions, industrial mentoring and pitching were arranged to inspire students in developing a solution in smart home area to benefit the society.

Students visited the Innovation Centre of Haier GE Appliance Division, the world leading brand and manufacturer of major household appliances, to understand the latest development in smart home appliances. Students also visited XNode, a startups accelerator in Shanghai, to explore how startup is incubated in China.  Another visit to Tezign, a platform for connecting creative talents with tech companies, was to stimulate students in the latest trend in graphic design, UI/UX design, illustration, animation, and social marketing. Experts from academia and industry of computer hardware, appliance manufacture and management consulting held talks and shared industry insights with students. 

Final presentation was held on 3 June 2017 for students to pitch their smart home product/ service to judges. The winning team formed by Cornelia TANG (HKUST), GUO An (SHTECH), LIM Shu Fang (NTU Singapore), and Dennis XUAN (NTU Singapore), targeted to help the aging population communicate effectively with their children regardless of geographical separation. 

The team found a worrisome research which revealed that 77% of the elderly in China who live alone or with their spouse feels immense loneliness because they live far away from their children. It can drive them into depression, mental disorders and even suicide. Existing communication technologies such as WeChat and QQ are not widely adopted as the elderly are tech-averse. To effectively bridge this gap, the team conceptualized an IOT device, named “Little Guy” (小伙子), aimed at delivering a close to reality communication experience by virtually linking the elderly and children’s homes together through video capturing and 1-to-1 scale projection on home walls to simulate face-to-face communications in the same virtual space. The device is operated by smart voice activation and recognition through keyword “Little Guy” (小伙子) to make it user-friendly for the elderly.

The judges appreciated the team’s vision of addressing the issue of elderly who live alone, which represent a big and growing market in China; the wining project is innovative yet doable to apply live projection on home wall for instant virtual communication.           

After the exciting final presentation, students joined the cruise tour at Huangpu River to enjoy the river view and went sightseeing at the nearby central district to know more about metropolitan Shanghai.         

  • Prof. Betty LIN, Associate Director of T&M-DDP, held the Belbin Workshop for team building

  • Prof. Ming Kin LEUNG, Adjunct Professor, Co-lead Design and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, delivered a talk on creative thinking and product design

  • Mr. David FINCHER, Engineering Fellow Advanced Micro Devices, AMD, shared his engineering experience in multiple MNCs

  • Mr. Lei NIU, Innovation Instructor, School of Entrepreneurship and Management, SHTECH, held the Design Thinking Workshop to guide the students to think about their project ideas

  • Mr. Arthur WANG, Partner, McKinsey & Company (Hong Kong office) shared with student the latest market trend

  • Brainstorming session

  • Brainstorming session

  • Students visited the Innovation Centre of Haier GE Appliance Division, the world leading brand and manufacturer of major household appliances, to understand the latest development in smart home appliances

  • Students visited XNode, a startups accelerator in Shanghai, to explore how startup is incubated in China

  • Students visited Tezign, a platform for connecting creative talents with tech companies, to get insight in graphic design, UI/UX design, illustration, animation, and social marketing

  • Prof. Chi Ming CHAN (left), Founder of T&M-DDP, coached the students during mentoring session

  • Final presentation

  • Final presentation

  • Final presentation

  • The judges enjoyed students’ presentations

  • The winning team took photo with judges

  • Students joined the cruise tour at Huangpu River to enjoy the river view