Robots that disinfect lift panels, clean floors, trap mosquitoes, chase away pigeons and mynahs are smart technology initiatives to upkeep sanitisation and raise public health standards in Tampines. Showcased on 19 September 2020 at the Tampines Round Market and Food Centre, five robots (Emu, hTetro, Hornbill, Dragonfly and Falcon) are fruits of a successful partnership between the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Tampines Town Council.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, and fellow MPs Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health, Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Ms Cheng Li Hui, Chairman of Tampines Town Council officiated the launch of smart facilities management with robotics.
“Robotics is a very important part of how we are going to transform the economy. This is important for the now, so that we are able to be more productive, and also for the future, when in Singapore particularly, manpower is going to be a very big challenge 10, 15 years down the line,” Mr Masagos said.
Based on the cobot principle wherein humans and robots work together as a team, there is no reduction of manpower, and cleaners can move to high-value tasks, such as robot-handling and sanitising frequently touched surfaces that are difficult for robots to handle.
“Robots will never take over our jobs... We will find use for the robots where it is either dangerous for our workers to go, or [where] it is not productive to deploy labour,” Mr Masagos added.
Emu: Disinfecting Lift Panels
An intelligent lift panel disinfection system, Emu can adhere to any lift panel wall and dispense a certified disinfection solution to clean the lift buttons. It does not interfere with lift usage.
hTetro: Highly Reconfigurable Floor Cleaning Robot
Taking its name after the popular tile-matching puzzle game Tetris, hTetro belongs to a pioneering class of shape-shifting robots that can autonomously transform itself into tetromino forms to maximise floor coverage. It is equipped with onboard sensors that enable the creation of real-time maps of the operating environment, optimal cleaning paths and robot morphologies.
Hornbill: Water Jet Floor Cleaning Robot
Using the enclosed hydro blasting method to remove stubborn dirt from the floor and suck up wastewater, Hornbill saves both water and time compared to the manual method.
Dragonfly: Keeping Dengue Fever at Bay
Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara from SUTD called it the ‘sacrificial robot’. This robot makes itself more attractive to mosquitoes than humans with its ultraviolet light and emission of carbon dioxide within a confined chamber. Trapping mosquitoes with a ventilator system, this robot is fitted with a SIM card that facilitates daily report on mosquito density; control action can then be taken accordingly.
Falcon: False Ceiling Inspection Robot
Besides inspecting false ceilings, detecting and collecting rodent droppings, this robot can also emit sound frequencies to drive away pigeons and mynahs.