All the Right Moves

(from left) Pei Xuan, Asri and Van with their robot, Xuan)

How many can claim that their final-year project has been featured on international news sites like BBC, and even led the Prime Minister in exercises at the Ang Mo Kio-Hougang SG50 carnival? The team of three Electrical Engineering graduates behind Xuan the robot certainly can.

Van Koh, Muhammad Asri Bin Yacob and Lim Pei Xuan are the brains behind the robot-making waves. Designed and built from scratch, Xuan is named after Pei Xuan, the group’s only female member. The robot was created with the purpose of being an exercise coach for elderly.

Customised for voluntary welfare organisation, Lions Befrienders, Xuan is made of Perspex. Her neck, arms and wrists can fully mimic human movements to coach the elderly in 15 different arm exercises, improving their flexibility and circulation.

Touted as a great way to incentivise senior citizens to take ownership of their own health, the robot recognises human voices instructing her to start an exercise routine. Like a human coach, Xuan slows down the pace during group workouts to ensure everyone can catch up. She will also guide individuals during personalised exercises and gently correct the individual.

“We wanted to encourage the elderly to exercise as they may not normally be motivated to do so. That’s why we created Xuan, as we thought an exercise robot would be more engaging,” said team leader, Van.

Xuan the robot might have started off as a humble final-year project, but its makers are proof that good and simple ideas, which empower a small community, can in fact create great social impact.

  • Name: Van Koh, Muhammad Asri Bin Yacob, Lim Pei Xuan

  • Polytechnic: NP

  • Course: Electrical Engineering

  • Year of Study: Class of 2015

Former Secondary School: ITE (Van Koh and Muhammad Asri Bin Yacob), Bukit Merah Secondary School (Lim Pei Xuan)