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Innovating at Innosparks: Folo Fleet

Experience how the resident engineers of Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab, play a critical role in fast tracking the multidisciplinary innovation process.

Walk into the Innovation lab at Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab, and you will be greeted by scenes of engineers tinkering at different spots, workshop-style, on their various projects. One of these engineers is Ng Cheng Leong, Assistant Principal Engineer.

Cheng Leong’s flagship project is the Folo Fleet, a mobile transporter that some might mistake for a wheelchair. He has been hard at work on this for the past 10 months together with a team of eight resident engineers in Innosparks from a multitude of engineering disciplines.

Innosparks is a worldwide innovation exchange bringing together intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs with the desire to innovate and create to address urban challenges. Providing deep engineering capabilities in the form of more than 40 resident engineers and five multi-disciplinary engineering labs who will team up with these innovators, Innosparks was where Cheng Leong, an electronics engineer, chose to get his project developed from idea to market within 18 months.

The Folo Fleet, a smart mobility device convoy system, addresses the manpower crunch such as when it comes to transporting people who may need wheelchair assistance. Instead of having one service staff push one wheelchair at a time, it allows a single operator to manage multiple devices at the same time, through the integration of smart sensors, obstacle detection and collision avoidance algorithms. While trained in electronics engineering, Cheng Leong admitted that the Folo Fleet system required multi-disciplinary expertise to be built. To fast track the innovation process, he had to leverage on the support from the multi-disciplinary resident engineers of Innosparks who were well-versed in a diverse range of engineering disciplines.

The team challenged themselves to take on multiple roles in a collaborative manner to deliver this innovation within the tight timeframe, exceeding their customer’s requirements. In a fast-fail-fast-iterate approach, they came up with more than 10 hardware prototypes in its journey from idea to market in 10 months.

Highlighting the importance of the user journey and experience in the creation of the Folo Fleet, Cheng Leong quipped, “The Folo Fleet could not have been created in the comforts of the office. It was only made possible by us heading out to the customers’ work environment to understand airport ground staff’s actual operating concerns.”

A little known fact that Cheng Leong shared about the Folo Fleet: While the current version of the Folo Fleet enables one operator to transport three passengers concurrently, the Folo Fleet can technically be programmed to convoy an unlimited number of devices! This is testimony to the limitless possibilities of this innovation.

Cheng Leong was short and succinct by describing his journey in creating the Folo Fleet as an “exciting engineering endeavour”.

Cheng Leong is one innovator who has taken a step forward to innovate with Innosparks and their team of resident engineers. Fast track your engineering-based urban innovation within 18 months or less with Innosparks. Contact contact.innosparks@stengg.com to learn more.

As Singapore’s first engineering-based incubator, Innosparks goes beyond offering funds to start-ups, in its contribution towards building the innovation ecosystem via its through-train incubation programme. Every start-up that incubates with Innosparks receives a generous half a million Singapore dollars in funds and resources. Start-ups work with a dedicated team of more than 40 resident engineers to speed idea to market within 18 months or less. Fast-fail-fast-iteration of product development and the eventual launch of the innovation are facilitated with deep engineering expertise and multidisciplinary engineering labs, as well as access to global business networks and distribution channels.

Ng Cheng Leong working on Folo Fleet
Resident Engineers of Innosparks with Ng Cheng Leong
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