A team of students from the Singapore Polytechnic have created smart glasses that use AI, IoT, and cloud technologies to help dementia patients recognise their family members.

Autonomous delivery robots and smart home appliances already use these technologies to improve people’s lives, says the team’s leader, Fang Qian. “But they are not targeted to the elderly.”

The innovation awarded the all-girls team the grand prize and the TECH4ALL Social Contribution Award at the Huawei ICT competition. “We are really heartened and excited to see these solutions developed by young talents from Singapore,” said Nicholas Ma, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei International.

Tech for the elderly

The team – Fang, Chen Zihan, and Nashita Fatima – created ‘the Forever-Smart Glasses’ using Huawei’s AIoT and OBS technology, a stable and secure cloud storage service. The cloud service is used to establish a secure connection that allows for images to be uploaded and stored easily for facial recognition.

The team also developed an app, Your Helper, which has a built-in GPS tracker that alerts family members when the senior is lost.

Fang shares that they were inspired by a Chinese reality series Forget-Me-Not Cafe – where five elderly waiters with mild cognitive impairment run a restaurant. “We were thinking whether there is anything that we could do to help these special groups of people,” she says.

According to the Institute of Mental Health, one in 10 people aged 60 and above in Singapore has dementia. This translates to an estimated 82,000 cases locally in 2018, and the number is expected to go beyond 100,000 by 2030.

They hope the project’s GPS tracking and facial recognition functions can also be used for the visually impaired in the future.

The team emerged as winners among a total of 109 teams from 39 countries and regions. “Singapore, with talent as its critical asset and competitive advantage, will continue to be a core driver of digital transformation in the intelligent era,” said Ma. Huawei plans to continue investing in the nation to nurture its talents and help it accelerate its Smart Nation efforts.

Temasek Polytechnic’s team of Andrew Tan Yong Jun, Wong Yao Hui, and Caleb Lee clinched second prize with their innovation that detects when an elderly falls down. It immediately alerts caregivers or family through an IoT device, ensuring the elderly receives critical care.

The system can also be integrated into existing CCTVs, and no additional hardware is required, says Wang Yao Hui, the team’s leader.

Fighting climate change

Another team from the Singapore Polytechnic created a cloud-based system to help fight climate change, clinching second prize.

The Intelligent Wildfire Mitigation System automates the process of detecting a wildfire. It then uses a prediction model to create a simulation of how the fire might spread – allowing residents to be evacuated safely. The model can be customised with data from other regions, allowing for adaptability and scalability.

The system is completely serverless with the help of the Huawei FunctionGraph. It hosts and computes event-driven functions while ensuring high availability, high scalability, and zero maintenance. “This helps our system handle spikes in network traffic (in the event a fire breaks out and there is a surge of residents accessing our system) at a low cost,” the team says.

“Wildfires have dire consequences, ranging from adverse impacts on human health to environmental damage. Our system aims to detect these fires early and allow for measures to be taken to stop the wildfires from spreading,” the team says.

Talent cultivation in Singapore

The result comes after Huawei’s first AIoT bootcamp in January. It gathered students from the island’s polytechnics and universities to learn, experiment and explore AIoT technologies and applications.

“The bootcamp provides an excellent opportunity to impart AIoT knowledge to our students and expose them to innovative cutting-edge technologies from Huawei,” said Dr. Tan Wee Kek from NUS School of Computing.

Huawei also launched its Virtual AI Academy in June to help Singaporeans reskill. It offers 140 free courses in cybersecurity, cloud computing, and AI on its website. Over 800 Singaporeans and 50 local enterprise partners have taken the courses, according to Huawei.

Huawei’s ‘Seeds for the Future’ programme, organised in collaboration with the Infocomm Media Development Authority, will go virtual in December. It will allow 10 undergraduates to hone their ICT skills and learn from leading tech companies.

These three programmes are part of Huawei’s commitment to equip Singaporeans with AI and IoT skills. The tech giant recognises the nation’s tech leadership in the region, and will work closely with its partners to cultivate Singapore’s talents.

“We will continue working with our partners and institutions of higher learning to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital world,” Ma said.

Singapore’s young people will pave the way in Singapore’s push to become a Smart Nation. Training programmes and competitions, like Huawei’s, will be key.