Dyson and NTU jointly launch Asia’s first on-campus engineering studio for students

By Olivia Poh

Engineering students from NTU can now enrol in a multidisciplinary elective hosted in a new engineering studio jointly launched by Dyson and NTU on Monday (Aug 27).

Final-year REP student Hset Min Htet, 26, developed Tama-GO!, a smart companion robot for kids, for his final year project last year.

Under the Product Development Challenge elective, students will be guided by engineers from the household appliance manufacturer and NTU professors. They will also have access to advanced prototyping equipment in the Dyson-NTU studio throughout the semester.

The elective is open to students from the six schools in NTU’s College of Engineering.

After identifying problems that they might be able to solve in real life, students will be able to work in teams to embark on creating a functional prototype based on their ideas. For example, building a robot that can help us make coffee.

Currently fully subscribed, the course will take in some 20 engineering students each semester.

Final-year Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) student Cyndi Teh, 23, who was part of the programme’s pilot batch of 15 students taking this course prior to its official launch, said: “It has been an eye-opening experience that has helped me discover the importance of questioning convention and experimenting without the fear of failure.”

Encouraging multidisciplinary learning

Teh has benefitted from interacting with students from other engineering backgrounds, in addition to learning about prototyping from the Dyson mentors and NTU professors, she added.

Similarly, second-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) student Ng Yen Hau, 20, hopes that he will be able to meet students from other disciplines through the studio.

“We can bounce ideas off one another. This could help us to consider different ways to approach and further develop our prototype,” said Ng, who is working on the final stage of a modular electric skateboard with five other NTU graduates. Their innovative skateboard design allows riders to control the acceleration and braking speeds of the skateboard with an app. The decks and motors of the e-skateboard can also be changed to accommodate both long and short distances.

Meanwhile, final-year REP student Hset Min Htet said that he would like to work with other students who want to build things from a “very design-centric perspective”.

“I need help from students that are skilled in areas like artificial intelligence and character design,” said Hset, 26.

“Through this programme, I hope to find more people who share the same vision. The guidance from Dyson engineers also helps. I really admire their approach in integrating engineering with product design,” he added.

Besides students in the course, NTU students can reach out to the school of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering for access to the Dyson-NTU studio if they are interested to start their own engineering projects.

Industry-relevant education

The studio, which is the first on-campus engineering studio in Asia, is equipped with high-resolution 3D printers and digital fabrication facilities.

These aim to simulate Dyson’s working environment and research and development processes. Students will also be able to use the studio’s latest prototyping and modelling software to visualise and print different components of their prototype.  

EEE student Ng said that they can use the studio’s 3D modelling software, workstations and 3D printers to make the final tweaks to their e-skateboard.

“The lab facilities in the studio will allow us to save on prototyping costs. Prototyping software is already quite expensive and will increase our costs greatly,” he added.

Mr Scott Maguire, Dyson’s VP for Global Engineering and Operations, said, “We hope to create exciting new opportunities for young people here, igniting a passion in them to make new technology that solves a problem, to create an original product and design it well.”