A*STAR Makeathon 2022

ASTAR Makeathon 2022
 

This year’s A*STAR Makeathon is co-organised with our strategic partner, co11ab - BioMedTech incubator tripartite of A*STAR, NTU and NHG. 


This is an opportunity for A*STAR, NTU and NHG staff to accelerate their innovative ideas into prototypes through the process of making. 

This innovation programme is a chance to collaborate with like-minded individuals and create innovative solutions to important problems, all while learning new ways of working and innovating. Most importantly, we want you to have fun while being creative. 


The second edition of the Makeathon focuses on the theme of Health & Wellness in the Digital Age. Our challenge statements have been developed by drawing insights from government agencies, healthcare institutes, academic institutions, and industry players. 


Theme & Challenges

"Health & Wellness in the Digital Age"

Digital technologies have transformed global healthcare for both healthcare workers and patients across the world. They will continue to do so by further incorporating the new developments in artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things and other emerging technologies. With global shifts in trends such as behaviour changes due to the pandemic, increased smartphone ownership, and healthcare manpower shortage, it is an opportune time to innovate, and even reinvent how healthcare and wellness services are delivered to improve accessibility, quality, and affordability. 

The opportunities for digital-enhanced healthcare are present in both developed and developing countries, each with their unique market needs. Singapore has a population that is familiar with digital services. Six in ten people are already adopting digital technologies to manage their health (source). Affordability and better health outcomes are key to increasing adoption.

Developing countries are among the fastest growing markets for healthcare services. For the next billion users to access digital healthcare, it is important that we address the realities that these potential users would face. This includes adopting frugal innovation principles to develop solutions that can cater to a population with an income that ranges between $3 and $60 per day. 

A*STAR Makeathon 2022 is supported by our partners from the healthcare sector: Co11ab, Livful, MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation and TZPBC HealthTech. The following challenge statements have been developed by drawing their insights on the sector and highlighting their key interest areas.


People at the Centre of Their Health

  • How might we support patients to perform health monitoring and diagnostic activities independently, in order to manage and improve their own health and well-being?
  • How might we equip patients with emergency first aid kits and digital support tools that can help relieve or control their conditions before receiving the required medical attention?  

With a person-centred healthcare approach, we empower patients with the capabilities to manage and improve their own health and well-being rather than consider themselves passive recipients of care. Patients, especially those with health risks and chronic diseases, would be able to monitor their vital signs, generate useful insights for their care team, and potentially administer timely interventions before their condition worsens.


New tools with advanced analytics and biosensors would allow patients to perform advanced monitoring and diagnostic tests traditionally limited to healthcare professionals with the requisite skills. In addition, patients could perform these functions at a convenient location, under the supervision of a professional via telemonitoring if needed, without the need to schedule a physical appointment with a healthcare professional. 


In case of emergency, there is also the opportunity to upgrade the patients’ own first aid kits to cater to their specific conditions and guide them through critical moments with more fail-proof methods.


A blood pressure monitoring programme piloted for hypertension patients in Singapore has yielded positive outcomes. There are many more opportunities for people of all ages to take charge of their health, which include: 

  • Elderly patients with rheumatoid arthritis

  • Diabetic patients

  • Patients with chronic (non-healing) wounds

  • Accident victims recovering from surgery

  • Children with asthma


Good reads:

Digital-enhanced Healthcare Providers in Our Communities

  • How might we empower primary care providers to provide value-added services effectively and efficiently, so that they sustainably perform new roles for the communities they serve?
  • How might we use digital technology to equip and empower community health workers, so that they can provide basic healthcare screening and treatments for their community?

Healthcare services that operate in our communities and/or provide primary care must be enhanced to prevent the unsustainable influx of patients to our hospitals and help vacate hospital beds required for patients with more urgent needs. 


Digital technologies can help general practitioners, community nurses, community health workers, and other primary care providers expand their roles, e.g. promote health, detect illness early, rehabilitate patients, conduct post-recovery follow-ups, etc. 


The pandemic has accelerated the growth of Point-of-Care diagnostics and telemedicine, even introducing the possibility of virtual wards that are unconstrained by physical space. Technology can be used to reinvent spaces, processes and tools used by healthcare professionals and workers so that they remain efficient and effective while taking on new roles. 


There are also opportunities to train a new pool of community health workers by lowering entry barriers to acquiring knowledge and skills, especially in regions where healthcare systems are underdeveloped and inaccessible. A gig economy of community health workers would improve the accessibility to essential healthcare screening and treatment for patients while creating new income opportunities for the workers. 


Good reads:

User-centric Mental Health, Care and Support Ecosystem

  • How might we enhance existing mental healthcare and support systems by incorporating digital tools at different touchpoints, involving caregivers and employers, so that detection, diagnosis, interventions, and follow-ups can be done more effectively and appropriately for the users?
  • How might we develop innovative methods that utilise new biomarkers and digital phenotyping to monitor mental health seamlessly and accurately to detect early signs of mental health impairments or distress?

The World Health Organization estimates that lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety,  two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy USD 1 trillion per year.  The consequences of mental health decline are not limited to productivity loss. They include various socio-economic problems and workplace accidents. The worst effect is the loss of lives, both of the afflicted and innocent bystanders. 

Mental health issues are different for everyone, and we need to adopt a more targeted approach to address specific needs across an individual’s life journey. In addition, different segments of the population would have different touchpoints (when, where, and how services can be rendered) and stakeholders (who are involved in the service journey). Thus, there is an opportunity to tailor solutions to the user and contextualise them for more effective detection, diagnosis, interventions, and follow-ups. 

Exploring new biomarkers and digital phenotyping methods could also offer innovative ways of detecting and monitoring mental health that are less invasive, less manual, more convenient, and more accurate.

Examples of opportunity areas:

  • Dementia detection and prevention: Help seniors detect dementia early and support them to perform regular mental-related activities to slow down mental decline. We can also achieve better adoption by incorporating these activities as part of their daily routine and involving the people close to them. 

  • Stress/anxiety management: Help individuals stay aware of the stress and / or anxiety in their lives, understand their effects on physical health and well-being, and learn how to manage these conditions. 

  • Early intervention for childhood mental disorders: Help parents detect their children’s cognitive development or neurodevelopmental disorders early, so that they can be addressed without medication. 


Good reads:

Timeline

Makeathon Timeline

How to Participate

Watch the Recording of the Info Session

The info session served as an essential introduction for prospective participants of the A*STAR Makeathon. Together, we explored the objectives, theme, and opportunities for innovation, as well as the Makeathon process in detail.

In case you missed the Info Session, or would just like to revisit the discussion, you can refer to the session recording below:

Making Your Team Application

Applications for the A*STAR Makeathon are now closed. All entries will now be evaluated.

Up to ten teams will be shortlisted to enter the Make Phase commencing in July 2022.


Opportunities & Prizes

Terms and conditions apply.

CONTACT US

If you have any questions, please send an email to makeathon@padang.co

FAQ

General

Who can participate in the A*STAR Makeathon?

The programme is open to A*STAR, NTU, NHG staff and their partners. The team should comprise at least one researcher with an A*STAR affiliation. Participating researchers may collaborate with healthcare professionals and invite friends with the right skills to join their team. An A*STAR researcher should be a research scientist, engineer, technician or specialist (or equivalent) from one of the research performing units of A*STAR.

What is the time commitment needed by selected teams during the 3-months Make Phase?

Makeathon participants are expected to commit 4-10 hours a month to attend the Makeathon bootcamp (currently planned on 6 July) and workshops (selected Fridays 4pm-6pm). Participants should also plan to spend 8-16 hours a month during the Make Phase (July - September) to participate in activities to develop their ideas such as building prototypes and conducting user research.

Do all of our team members need to possess design and prototyping skills?

We believe that strong teams have good diversity of members. Not all members need to possess design or prototyping skills. Other ways that members could contribute to the team include user research, business strategy and financial modelling.

Do I need to attend the info session and pitch night?

Although attendance at these events is not a pre-requisite, interested participants were highly encouraged to attend the events. You may watch the recording of Info Session here to better understand the Makeathon objectives, programme and challenge statements.

You can still apply for the Makeathon even if you missed the Info Session or Pitch Night.

Intellectual Property

May I work on a solution based on existing IP?

Participants are encouraged to tap only into open-source information. 


Participants who want to bring in background IP, or who think they might develop foreground IP should immediately inform the organising team at makeathon@padang.co



Who will own the IP of the developed solution?

You may refer to Clause 4: Intellectual Property Rights under our Terms of Participation to learn more about how the Intellectual Property developed during the course of the Makeathon will be handled.  


Innovation Award

What can the Innovation Award be used for?

The Innovation Award can be used to fund the development of your product and bring it closer to the market. These projects are scoped and carried out within A*STAR Research Institutes within a 12-month period. The Innovation Award cannot be converted to cash.


Do winning teams automatically win the Innovation Award?

The evaluation for the Innovation Award would be governed by the SOP for Approval and Management of A*VC-Funded Projects (QP-23). Teams would be contacted after the Makeathon to apply for the Innovation Award.