Twenty-two start-up companies have emerged from the SUTD-MIT IDC. These companies are described below.
LionsBot International Pte Ltd
LionsBot is the first company to mass-manufacture professional cleaning robots within Singapore. Founded in February 2018, the company is the brainchild of three Singaporean entrepreneurs: Dylan Ng and Michelle Seow, the husband-and-wife team behind Singapore’s leading cleaning equipment and chemicals supplier, SuperSteam Asia Pacific, and Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara, a robotics/AI expert from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). An associate company of SuperSteam, LionsBot has developed its robots based on SuperSteam’s extensive expertise and knowledge of leading-edge cleaning technology and methodologies.
Created using the latest advances in rapid prototyping technology, LionsBot robots differ from other cleaning robots by integrating “cute”, “human-like” personality traits. Imbued with interactive (robot-to-human) characteristics, LionsBot robots feature a range of emotional responses ranging from expressive eyes and voices, to speech, to a beating robotic heart. The robots can communicate in any language appropriate to their regional setting and are capable of simple human interactions like asking people to move out of their path. Failure to comply causes the robot’s facial expression to switch to “sad” followed by “irritated”.
Founded in February 2018, Singapore-headquartered LionsBot International is poised to become the global brand leader in advanced, fully-autonomous, team-based cleaning robotics. Offered to the international market on a “service-based” business model, LionsBot’s range of professional and human-like cleaning robots combine the R&D acumen of a strong in-house design team with the latest cutting-edge cleaning technology from SuperSteam Asia Pacific. LionsBot’s corporate mission is to provide “Better Cleaning with Robotic Technology, Better Living for Billions”. Further information about LionsBot may be found at www.lionsbot.com
Americans consume 8.6 billion water bottles — every year. Of those, only 1 of 5 is recycled. Fortunately, a handful of MIT students have developed a solution to this problem, and it involves repurposing waste plastic bottles to reinforce concrete. Because the newly-invented method results in the concrete being more durable than existing concrete, plastic bottles may soon be used to construct everything from stronger building foundations to sidewalks and street barriers.
According to the study, which was published in the journal Waste Management, MIT students discovered a method to produce concrete that is up to 20 percent stronger than conventional concrete. First, plastic flakes are exposed to small amounts of harmless gamma radiation. Then, they are pulverized into a fine powder, after which it is added to concrete.
The discovery has far-reaching implications, as concrete is the second most widely used material on Earth (the first is water). MIT News reports that approximately 4.5 percent of the world’s human-induced carbon emissions are generated by manufacturing concrete. By replacing small portions of concrete with recycled plastic, the cement industry’s toll on the environment would be reduced.
The newly-discovered method would also prevent millions of water and soda bottles from ending up in landfills. Michael Short, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, said, “There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year. Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.”
MIT students Carolyn Schaefer and Michael Ortega explored the possibility of plastic-reinforced concrete as part of their class’s Nuclear Systems Design Project. In the future, the team intends to experiment with different types of plastic, along with various doses of gamma radiation, to determine their effects on concrete. So far, they’ve determined that substituting 1.5 percent of concrete with irradiated plastic significantly improves the mixture’s strength. While this may not seem like a lot, it is enough to have a significant impact if implemented on a global scale.
“Concrete produces about 4.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” said Short. “Take out 1.5 percent of that, and you’re already talking about 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a huge amount of greenhouse gases in one fell swoop.”’’
On October 19, at Breakout Lab’s Unboxing event, LogicInk, a pioneer in programmable materials, announced its first product to market: LogicInk UV, a wearable that resembles a temporary tattoo and monitors your UV exposure, signaling when it is time to take action to prevent skin damage.
The company’s first product, LogicInk UV, targets people concerned about radiation from the sun that can cause (1) severe diseases such as skin cancer and (2) the premature aging of the skin (photoaging). LogicInk UV is not powered by electronics. Instead its user interface is programmed with chemistry, alerting users when they have reached a safe daily UV limit determined by medical research on minimal erythemal dose (MED). MED identifies the least amount of UV exposure needed for each skin tone to get a noticeable sunburn.
LogicInk has raised $1M in a pre-seed round from Mission Bay Capital; Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs, Berkeley Catalyst Fund; Antoine Blondeau, the CEO of Sentient.ai; and others. LogicInk is currently raising a seed round.
Logicink is asking anyone interested in the upcoming beta program to sign up now at http://logic.ink to stay informed about when and how to try LogicInk UV.
The creator of Hosta Labs, Rachelle Villalon, a former student of Takehiko Nagakura, MIT Professor of Department of Architecture, and is now an advisor for Hosta Labs.
“Hosta enables anyone to easily turn simple pictures into intelligent 3D models for design and renovation.”
coUrbanize was co-founded by David Quinn, PhD, graduate of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, with the advisory support of Prof John E. Fernandez.
coUrbanize is a civic engagement platform for urban development projects. Residents use coUrbanize to learn about real estate and planning projects and share their input. Real estate developers, project planners and municipalities list projects on coUrbanize to share information and gather broader resident feedback to supplement the in-person meeting process.
At coUrbanize, the primary goal is to make project information accessible and help residents to more easily participate in the development process so that everyone’s voice can be heard. This goal evolved out of work supported by the MIT-SUTD collaboration as part of Prof. Fernandez’ study of South-East Asian cities, including Singapore.
The company’s founding team met at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and was part of the TechStars Boston Spring 2013 class. coUrbanize is now headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more information, please see http://www.courbanize.com/.
Over 90% of engineers consider a “maximum system size” when considering the use of their workstation or computational cluster. Akselos provides solutions that fundamentally alter the limitations of scale in the design of complex systems, using cutting edge algorithms and technology developed at MIT & the US Department of Defense. The work proceeds through industrial scale HPC clusters that can scale to any system size required using Reduced Basis simulations of fully meshed components, and taking into account the modeling of relevant system behavior in detail. This results in the elimination of truncated simulations that are often accomplished with piece-by-piece disaggregated analysis of limited sections of a system. SUTD-MIT IDC funded the research work headed by Prof. Anthony Patera of MIT that led to the founding of the company Akselos S.A. based in Lausanne, Switzerland and Boston, Massachusetts. This company has incorporated. IDC funding was critical in completing the development of the simulation platforms required for launching the company. For more information see http://www.akselos.com/index.html.
The Akselos software has also had an important curricular value at MIT and beyond. Reduced Basis simulations of the Akselos software is now integrated into an edX/MITx subject; 2.01x. This project, a collaboration between Dr Simona Socrate of MIT (2.01x instructor-in-charge) and Tom Leurent and his Akselos team, is very innovative, and strongly couples research and education.
Embodied Sensing, Inc.
Many times we are caught in a situation where we are unable to hear what’s happening around us. One could be a homemaker cooking in the kitchen, unable to hear the little one crying in the bedroom; or a music buff, indulging in one’s favourite music on headphones, yet unaware of someone knocking at the door. Enter StickEar, a personalized sound awareness assistant which can be attached to any surface and helps to overcome challenges and inconveniences faced by the loss of hearing.
Mr. Yeo Kian Peen, who worked on this project under the supervision of Asst. Professor Suranga Nanayakkara, founded a start-up company, Embodied Sensing Inc., which offers a range of services, including networked noise level monitoring systems, sound classification systems and embedded hardware design. For more information on StickEar, see http://stickear.com and on Embodied Sensing Inc., see http://embodiedsensing.com.
EdgeBotix is a start-up company incorporated in Singapore and dedicated to designing and delivering, at a low cost, the world’s first robust 3D printed educational robots called eBots. eBots provide an effective platform for students to learn on. Its simple physical interface design makes it robust and extremely easy to use compared to other educational robots. Its modular platform allows eBots to be easily integrated with various software packages, all the while meeting specific performance. The platform makes it easy to rapidly create prototypes as it supports many sensors and software packages. This results in a shorter time-to-market and gives EdgeBotix an advantage over its competitors.
EdgeBotix was spun out of IDC-supported research projects at SUTD, and partnered with 3D printing companies, design software companies as well as institutions to provide a complete, versatile educational robotics solution. This ranges from fully assembled robots to various robot kits, all of which will be completely supported with content libraries and educational material. The current directors of EdgeBotix are Harsh Bhatt and Abhishek Gupta. The board of directors include Prof. Erik Wilhelm and Prof. Shaohui Foong.
Halogram Asia Pte Ltd
The SUTD Multi-Rotor Society (MRS) is a unique ‘organization’ in SUTD. It is a registered 5th row student club that promotes aviation and design and fabrication of customized aerial crafts. They also represent SUTD in various competitions. It engages in research and development through IDC and UROP where unconventional aerial crafts are designed and tested. Some of these crafts include variable pitch multi-rotor crafts that can fly upside down, a nature-inspired single-rotor aerial craft (Monocopter) and more recently a ruggedized craft that is capable of maritime and aerial operations. In addition due to the expertise accumulated from aerial craft flying and development, the SUTD MRS also engages in aerial videography and photography, which is a highly specialized and technical area. SUTD MRS has a long list of both SUTD and external engagements for aerial filming services. This includes various SUTD events to ad hoc requests by various external parties. Because of such interest, a group of highly passionate students have registered a company in Singapore “HALOGRAM ASIA PTE LTD” (Application N411976R) http://www.halogram.asia/ & https://www.facebook.com/halogramfilms which allows them to better engage external entities for specialized UAV services such as UAV familiarization and training sessions.
Currently SUTD MRS is working on a customized microUAV platform with NParks for up close tree inspection.
Ring Theory, LLC
Ring Theory was formed as an LLC (Delaware) in Dec 2013 and as a private limited (Singapore) in Feb 2014. Representing a SUTD student based effort, with mentoring from a MIT IDC RA graduate student, the group concluded a successful crowd funding campaign, the company worked on the following:
- Developing a 2nd generation NFC wearable device (not launched yet)
- Engaging a contract manufacturer in SG to scale the production
- Launching a web store
- Retailing the Sesame Ring in stores around Cambridge and Boston
- Partnering with metro systems and organizations to adopt/develop the wearable device for fare payment, ticketing and access control
SKY Optimum Technology Pte. Ltd.
SKY Optimum Technology Pte. Ltd. (Skyopt) is a new Singapore-based company which provides IT services and solutions. A Hong Kong-based partnership company, Palm Capital Asia Partners Limited (PCAP), invested S$500,000 in its first year of startup. Its spin-off company is currently located at SUTD with a SUTD undergraduate working on a research project that will be a significant component in a future product. As Skyopt works mainly on Computational Interior Design products, it provides multi-disciplinary opportunities for student internships. SKY Optimum Technology (Skyopt) is an interactive technology company that provides a unified interactive visualization solution for users to immerse themselves into a virtual environment. The immersive solution is produced by integrating novel technologies in computer vision and graphics such as augmented, virtual and mixed reality into practical applications.
Lecturers in IT institutes are dedicated to teaching programming but have to spend tremendous amount of time in course development, assignment marking and other administrative processes, most of which are time consuming and do not add value. Started in early 2015, Proqod aspires to make coding education much more efficient and effective.
To date with a crew of four makers, Proqod has turned from zero to half a million dollars valuation in just a few months’ time. Proqod is in the process of developing an education Software-as-a-Service with two institutional clients on-board, ready for live tests in late 2015.
Dr. Kristin Wood, Professor and Pillar Head of Engineering & Product Development (EPD) Pillar, and Dr. Aditya Mathur, Professor and Pillar Head of Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD) Pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design are co-advisors for Proqod.
Proqod also received investment and mentorship from angel investor Mr Matthias Yao who sits on the board of directors of HDB and the listed company iFAST Group. Mr Yao formerly served in various political offices including Senior Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office, Mayor of the South East District of Singapore, and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
FOM Innovations is a mobility solutions provider, as a company we design and develop last mile transportation solutions.
Freedom is our company’s flagship product and It is portable, compact, foldable in 1 second, low learning curve and stable at high speeds. Freedom’s unique (IVOA) Inverted V One Arm folding mechanism is currently in the process of applying for a patent that allows the vehicle to be fully folded within a second.
Souschef focuses on developing automated kitchen solutions for F&B outlets addressing the 3 main concerns in Singapore to:
- Reduce manpower
- Achieve consistent taste
- Optimize inventory management
- Reduce wastage through portion control
Souschef is the world’s first automatic recipe based ingredient dispenser with a smart and functional top. It ensures you have all the tools to achieve perfection in the taste of your cooking every time, for any occasion.
The high-quality wood surface offers home chefs a stylish top for all their chopping and dicing needs. Also on-board is an integrated weighing scale with 4-point force sensors for weighting large raw ingredients like meat, and beneath, it has an array of actuators-equipped ingredient jars and containers that will dispense ingredients systematically as per the recipe you are working on.
WOK: Automatic Cooking Device
Wok by Souschef is an automated cooking device which can cook a complete meal on its own! It can store and dispense dry ingredients such as salt and pepper and liquids such as water and oil. There is also a refrigerated unit that can keep cut vegetables and meat fresh for up to 3 days. Based on the recipe chosen, the needed ingredients are selected and mixed sequentially by the stirrer to be cooked in the wok.
OJO provides an innovative, affordable, watch-sized digital braille reader for the blind.
Current braille systems cost thousands of dollars and are the size of a lunch box; OJO’s braille reader is one tenth the price and small.
OJO is partnering with Perkins School for the Blind and the National Braille Press to reach first blind U.S. adults and plans to expand to serve over 286 million worldwide, a number growing at 500K per year.
Muddy Charles Coaster Company
The Muddy Charles Coaster Company handcrafts premium kitchen and bar accessories based on the Danish philosophy of ‘Hygge’ (pronounced hue-gah) – living a healthy, cozy life with simple and warm things in good atmosphere. The functional art is composed of multiple layers of sustainably-sourced native hardwood that are individually hand-dyed, rubbed, and finished to produce dramatic 3D topographic effects.
Hue is a human behavior lab. We rigorously study people, experiment with emerging technology and predict the future. Using our predictions for the future, we help companies imagine new ways of operating–to protect them from disruption.
Design Forall Pte Ltd
Design Forall designs and builds flexible interior spaces through the use of electrically enabled operable partitions. This Flexi-system built empowers the users to customize their home or workspace layout to cater to their different needs. It is truly a solution for all.
Enlitho Pte Ltd
Enlitho is a precision engineering start-up company from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) specialising in micro- and nanoscale fabrication and services. Founded in 2016, Enlitho aims to provide both affordable and high-quality products and services to support the growing nanotechnology industries in Singapore and South-East Asia. Currently, our core business consists of the design and fabrication of micro-nano molds commonly used in nanoimprint lithography for research prototyping or proof-of-concept testing. The mold designs can range from basic structures like gratings, holes and pillars or can be designed for high resolution (sub100nm) or 3D customisable structures depending on application. Sometimes nature is used as a guide to create biomimetic surfaces that could exhibit anti-reflection, anti-fogging, or even generate dyeless colors. The application is widespread and can range from the biomedical industry, to the optics industry or even aerospace industry. 1umOur secondary business involves collaboration projects with companies to assist in process development or providing our services through expertise and know-how. Recently, Enlitho was contracted by Moveon Technologies to develop and execute a lithography process for their microlenses.
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Pawsitivity creates products designed to change people’s lives on an emotional level positively. Wheelpower is the company’s first product designed for connection. It is a wheelchair attachment designed to empower wheelchair users and connect them with their loved ones. It connects to almost any type of wheelchair with a universal design, powered by a hoverboard. Wheelchair users can mount, dismount and even pilot the Wheelpower independently. The Wheelpower is extremely portable and can fit into the boot of the smallest cars, unlike most electric wheelchairs in the market.
InnoSenze Private Limited
A registered company in ACRA, Innosense seeks to connect business, government, and communities with technology forecasting approaches. Through such approaches, innovation areas may be identified based on network theory and technology areas in proximity to core competencies.
Codomo Pte Ltd (https://www.codomo.com.sg/)
A diverse team of engineers and designers with the vision of embedding social learning, innovation, technology and entertainment in education. As the world ascends with complexity, design thinking is a skill highly sought after in many modern industries. It takes more than just a great academic qualification to solve these problems. Our team wants to inculcate this skill in children at an early age and guide them through creative and critical thinking. Children are innately curious; their imaginative minds are always full of interesting ideas. By exploring and questioning everything around them, they learn very quickly at their age. Sometimes, children do not realise their full potential until we provide them with the right platform to discover, excel and shine bright – the main reason for Codomo’s formation.
Founders: Being pioneer students of Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), we had great exposure to the two great universities in the United States and China (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Zhejiang University). Problem-solving through design thinking is deeply rooted in us.
Our team comprises an architectural designer, product developer, hardware and software engineer and a data analyst, who came together with the goal of making learning real-world 21st-century skills trouble-free and exciting!
Through a novel and innovative product offering (Potato Pirates), Codomo raised $262k on Kickstarter.