Published on 25 Sep 2020

​MAE student wins James Dyson Award

Congratulations to MAE student Kong Shao Ming for being Singapore's National Runner-up of the prestigious James Dyson Award. 

Shao Ming is a Year 3 Aerospace Engineering undergraduate.  He is very passionate in engineering and uses his skills and knowledge in practical applications to create solutions for a better world.

About the award

Since 2005, the James Dyson Award (JDA) has challenged inventive and entrepreneurial undergraduates and recent graduates of engineering and design, to invent something that solves a problem.

The JDA is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It is run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson's charitable trust, as part of its mission to get young people excited about design engineering.

Project descriptions

ASCEND is an accessory to be retrofitted onto existing manual wheelchairs that aims to mitigate the challenges that wheelchair users face when climbing an incline.

Ramps are a major obstacle to wheelchair mobility for a multitude of reasons. Climbing a ramp in a wheelchair is a highly strenuous task that places undue physical and mental strain on manual wheelchair users. Apart from having to deal with the laborious climbing process, wheelchair users also risk endangering themselves or the people around them if they were to lose control of their wheelchair on a ramp and roll backwards.

To combat this problem, ASCEND utilises a unique one-directional mechanism that prevents wheelchairs from rolling backwards on an incline. Fatigue is also minimised as the wheelchair user would not have to climb the ramp in one sitting and they are able to stop and rest without worry of the risks of rolling backwards if needed. This allows the wheelchair users to take charge of their own mobility and helps reduce their reliance on others for assistance as help may not always be available.

The simplicity in the design of ASCEND contributes to keeping manufacturing costs low and facilitates ease of installation. The design is able to fit a majority of the common manual wheelchair models available in the market. A retrofitted solution would also prevent unnecessary costs from being incurred in the research, design, manufacturing and purchase of a completely new type of wheelchair and would enable wheelchair users to continue using their existing manual wheelchairs.

ASCEND was created as an affordable alternative for an electric wheelchair. It closes the gap between an electric wheelchair and a manual wheelchair in order to empower wheelchair users with enhanced safety and control in tackling the mobility issues that they face in their daily live.