RP students have you covered with umbrella-sharing project
We've heard of ride- and bicycle-sharing.
Now, four Republic Polytechnic (RP) students have come up with umbrella-sharing, so commuters will not get caught in the rain.
The initiative, Sharella, allows users to borrow umbrellas from a kiosk on one side of a road and return it at a kiosk on the other side.
The initiative was developed with the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Community Partnership division to aid Singapore's transition towards a car-lite society.
Sharella was the graduation project of students in RP's Diploma in Design for User Experience course.
There are similar projects overseas, such as UmbraCity in Vancouver, Canada, and 'brellaBox in New York City.
One of the RP project members, Mr Kishan Kumar, 20, said: "It will help Singaporeans get to work and back without getting caught in the rain.
" It's a basic need."
The team conducted five trials at Woodlands Square and Woodlands Avenue 6 by placing a kiosk of 10 umbrellas on either side of a road and observing from a distance.
"We were surprised - not a single umbrella was stolen," said team member Chan Min Yi, 21.
Stickers are used to mark the Sharella umbrellas, and the team created a mechanical prototype that works like supermarket trolleys - dispensing an umbrella requires a $1 coin, which is refunded on return of the brolly.
Sharella was presented at Symbiosis 2017, the annual graduation showcase of the best projects from RP's School of Technology for The Arts.
An LTA spokesman said the project "showed potential" and also highlighted the students' understanding of community needs and user behaviour.
"The concept is in its infancy, and LTA will further study it in partnership with the community and businesses," she added.