‘Pandemic-proof ’ bus by S’porean and 3 others wins design contest
Singaporean undergrad in US part of team that wins international design competition
A 23-year-old Singaporean student is part of a four-member team that has won an international design competition with a "pandemic-proof" bus.
Mr Ryan Teo, together with three foreign students he had met only via Zoom, created what they call the 'Futurebus' in just 24 hours.
The vehicle's features include a sliding door spanning the full length of the bus, remote payment technology that does away with physical card readers, and a rotating handrail that is sterilised by an ultraviolet strip.
Mr Teo said the design could make public transport safer without lowering the capacity of the bus, the inevitable result of social distancing measures around the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The final-year product design and engineering student at Northwestern University in Illinois said: "Our Futurebus concept was designed with this in mind as we asked ourselves: How might we keep public transport safe without lowering the vehicle's capacity?"
The FourC Challenge in June, organised by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, saw more than 200 students from 52 universities compete in a 24-hour "design sprint".
Teams were set up randomly by organisers and collaboration took place remotely.
Mr Teo's team won the 50,000 yuan (S$10,000) grand prize, and its winning entry has since attracted media attention from various countries including the United States, China, and Spain.
The other three members of the team are Mr Yang Shunli from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mr William Ma from Harvard University, and Mr Li Xin from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Mr Teo said his team's ideas, while inventive, were adapted from technology that is already available. The rotating handrail, for instance, was inspired by the toilet seat found at Chicago O'Hare International Airport which rotates its cover after each use. Similarly, the Futurebus' handrails will rotate 360 degrees each time the vehicle is at a bus stop so they can be cleaned without passengers having to adjust their grip.
The team interviewed commuters and found a desire for private spaces in public vehicles.
To achieve this, Mr Teo's team simply alternated the direction of the bus seats so that no two commuters sitting side by side face the same direction, creating a "cocoon of semi-private space" for each passenger.
Mr Teo said: "I think pandemic-proofing should be considered as part of future design criteria as regular infrastructure improvements are made over the next few decades."