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Smart lock and spending tracker among Singaporean uni students’ projects on show

Gadgets aim to solve everyday problems related to healthcare, security and finances

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 3:15pm

By Alfred Chua

No need to fumble for keys at the door. Get your face scanned and the door unlocks by itself, and even greets you by name.

The door locking system, known as the Xavier Smart Door Lock, was among 24 projects on display at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Team leader of the smart door lock project, engineering student Teo Kai Xiang, 22, said the idea came to him one day, while he was in the shower at the rented apartment he shares with five other students.

“I didn’t lock the main door, and then I heard a lot of sounds outside. When I came out, I saw a bicycle missing (from the house),” said Mr Teo, a second-year student in SUTD’s Information Systems Technology and Design programme.

It turned out that his housemate had returned to the apartment to take the bicycle.

“From then on, I (felt that) I needed peace of mind that the house is secure,” Mr Teo said.

With the Xavier lock, users do not need to carry any keys but may choose to retain the option of manually unlocking their doors. And unlike doors that unlock when authorised persons scan their fingerprints, it promises a hands-free experience.

Using facial recognition technology, the camera at the door captures a person’s face and verifies it, before unlocking the door to approved users.

Photos can also be temporarily uploaded on a web application to instantly grant access to someone for a fixed duration.

Mr Teo is using a prototype of the lock at his shared apartment, but the team of five has bigger plans: They are working with the university to pilot the system at the SUTD Fabrication Lab.

Some 140 students – the largest cohort yet – showcased their projects at this year’s exhibition, which was being held for the third time since the Information Systems And Programming module started five years ago.

The students had to make use of different information technologies to solve everyday problems, such as those related to healthcare, security, or finances.

Assistant Professor Cheung Ngai-Man, who co-teaches the module with two other lecturers, said the exhibition will give students exposure and ties in with Singapore’s Smart Nation push.

Students were graded on their presentations, projects and posters.

Another project on display was a spending tracker mobile application with a difference.

While most spending tracker apps simply show users how close they are to busting their budgets, the MoneyWise app provides information on the places users can dine at to avoid overspending, said third-year student Cindy Ong, 21.

It uses crowdsourced information, based on scanned receipts from users, to put up listings of places such as food and beverage outlets or retail shops on a map.

The app uses Optical Character Recognition technology to extract important information from the receipts.

Users can search for food or shopping options on the map, which will come with the prices of various items sold at the establishments.

Read the original article at Today Online