$500,000 fund launched to test-bed ideas to improve HDB living

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has launched a $500,000 fund to help transform ideas that seek to improve HDB living into reality.

Budding inventors will be able to tap on the Cool Ideas Fund to develop prototypes for test-bedding in HDB flats.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced this at the second Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living exhibition on Saturday.

The fund will be built up over three years and will support 50 ideas.

HDB said the money will help to bridge the gap between the ideas stage and the test-bedding stage.

Inventors will be given a grant capped at $10,000 to support the development cost as well as the test-bedding costs of their prototype.

But they have to put in an equal amount of money in order to receive the grant.

The “Cool Ideas” initiative, launched in 2011, has received over 200 ideas from the public on ways to improve HDB living.

Mr Khaw noted the number of ideas submitted this year has gone up by more than 50 per cent.

Fourteen ideas and prototypes are currently on display at the exhibition held at the HDB Hub Mall in Toa Payoh.

The ideas were submitted via several channels – the Cool Ideas Facebook page, student competitions and local constituency competitions.

The fourth constituency to take part in this competition is Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

Residents will work on new ideas to tackle problems such as high-rise litter and cluttered common corridors.

Previous competitions were held in the East Coast, Sembawang and Nee Soon GRCs.

HDB plans to hold such competitions island-wide, so that all residents can be engaged and involved in enhancing their living environment.

Mr Khaw said: “I hope the fund (Cool Ideas Fund) will be well used. We hope to see the fund being depleted, rather than the fund sitting there with no cool ideas. So, please put on your thinking cap, take a look at the HDB estates. Are there ideas, are there problems waiting to be solved?”

Among the projects on display at this year’s Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living exhibition is an anti-theft bicycle parking system.

It bagged the second prize in the Constituency Competition for Sembawang and Nee Soon GRC.

The inventors are a group from the Woodlands Youth Executive Committee.

Anas Rahamat, one of the inventors, said: “We found out that the number of bicycle thefts has increased from two years. So we created this prototype to better enhance the security of the bicycles. It can secure the triangular frame of the bicycle and it also uses a padlock, which can better withstand the abuse of a board cutter, as opposed to a cable tie lock.”

Another winning invention is the water-saving devices that control the amount of water that flows out of a tap.

Designed by a group of students from ITE College East, the project took first place at the Student Design Competition for Polytechnics, Junior Colleges and Institutes of Technical Education.

Student Muhammad Nor Hisyam Salimnor said: “It’s to prevent the wastage of water. You can save up to one litre of water per minute.”

One product which may be commercialised soon is the swing rack, which allows you to hang your laundry out to dry, without having to lean out the window and without having to use much effort.

The idea was submitted about three years ago, and its inventors are awaiting approval to sell the product.

They have set up their own company since talks of commercialisation began.

The device has already been through about a year of rigorous testing.

Inventor Yan Feng said: “Previously through the help of HDB, we’ve also contacted several people to test our pilot product. So now our final product is based on their feedback and their feedback is generally positive, that our device has indeed helped them a lot in their daily lives.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 29 Mar 2014

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