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Ideas on sustainable, vegan leather and programme to aid hearing-impaired children clinch top prizes at Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2020 competition

Jun 30. 2020

A new Samsung poll shows that Gen Zs in Singapore are most concerned about environmental issues, and 81 percent of them feel empowered to be actively involved in solving the nation’s challenges

Samsung Electronics Singapore today announced the winners of Solve for Tomorrow 2020 competition, with teams SUSKIN and JBSamsung taking home top honours for the Post-secondary and University categories respectively. The virtual grand finale of this competition, which took place on 26 June, saw 10 finalist teams – five from each category – pitching their ideas and showcasing their prototypes to a panel of seven judges.


Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under National Infocomm Competition (NIC), this year’s Solve for Tomorrow was launched on 26 February. The 10 finalist teams were shortlisted from over 200 teams comprising more than 640 students in Singapore.


The top team from each category walked away with $10,000 worth of Samsung products, internship opportunities with Samsung, $6,000 cash prize and a study trip1.


“This year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow has demonstrated that the youths in Singapore are fiercely passionate about the societal and environmental challenges faced in Singapore,” said Eugene Goh, President, Samsung Electronics Singapore. “In these ambivalent times, it is ever important that we think out of the box to innovate fast and solve real-world issues. By challenging contestants to solve societal problems through technology, we aim to spark innovative thinking among our next generation of leaders.”


In a Samsung online poll2 comprising 110 Gen Z respondents in Singapore, climate change and environment sustainability challenges were rated as their most important concerns in the nation, followed by healthcare and mental health challenges, such as infectious diseases, chronic ailments and mental illnesses. The poll was conducted at the sideline of the Solve for Tomorrow competition and its goal was to find out Gen Z’s perspective on the different social challenges that the nation faces and how they are playing their part to address these issues.

Gen Z’s top four most important societal and environmental concerns in Singapore

The poll also found that the majority of Gen Z (85 percent) are optimistic that Singapore can solve the societal and environmental challenges it faces, and 81 percent of them feel empowered in solving these issues.


However, when it comes to what the respondents are doing to address the key challenges in Singapore, only eight percent are tackling these challenges by volunteering with NGOs and just 21 percent are working towards a career that can help solve these challenges. Just under half (45 percent) of the Gen Zs polled are tackling the societal and environmental issues by making changes to their lifestyle.


Solve for Tomorrow aims to encourage youth to take a more proactive approach in addressing Singapore’s key challenges by providing them with a platform to ideate and apply their knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to make a meaningful impact in our community. Solve for Tomorrow reflects Samsung’s investment in youth and its commitment to inspiring and developing the capabilities of the next generation of leaders so that they can fulfil their potential.

Entries showcase innovation and aspirations of Singaporean youths for the nation

The judges for Solve for Tomorrow 2020 consisted of an esteemed panel of industry leaders. They included:


  • Eugene Goh, President of Samsung Electronics Singapore


  • Terence Ng, Director, Innovation Office, Health Promotion Board


  • Foo Hui Hui, Deputy Director, Digital Literacy and Participation, Infocomm Media Development Authority


  • Chan Swee Hoon, Country Sales Director, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Sales, Intel Singapore


  • Richard Koh, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Singapore


  • Annabelle Chiong, Deputy Director of Venture Investing, SGInnovate


  • Isabella Huang Loh, Chairman, Singapore Environment Council


The finalist teams were assessed based on creativity and feasibility of their ideas, presentation effectiveness, as well as how they were applying STEM knowledge to the challenges they have identified in one of these themes – (1) environmental sustainability, (2) health and well being, (3) active ageing and (4) inclusive, harmonious society. This year, the public also got to vote for their favourite finalist team’s idea and the competition received nearly 6,220 votes between 6 to 23 June 2020. The voting results were including in the teams’ final scores.


“Innovation doesn’t only come from experts and industry veterans as youths have a new way of seeing the world and tacking the challenges we face – this was something the finalist teams clearly exemplifed during the Grand Finale. The competition provided the teams with an avenue to crystalise their ideas into tangible solutions, and I’m heartened by their inventiveness and drive to create a better future,” said Chan Swee Hoon, Country Sales Director, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Sales, Intel Singapore.


“What was most inspiring for me during the Grand Finale were the teams’ creative energy, critical thinking and unbridled fervour to bring their ideas to life while eliciting positive impact to the community. For the students, I believe the competition was a great opportunity for them to strengthen their STEM knowledge as well as hone their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills – attributes that are vital skills for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Richard Koh, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Singapore.


“What stood out for me and my fellow judges were the finalist teams’ deep thinking and their adept use of technology – including computer vision and artificial intelligence – to address a broad spectrum of challenges in our society. I’m confident that the technical knowledge and experience these teams have gained from this competition will be invaluable in their academic journey and future careers, and serve as an inspiration to many of their peers,” said Annabelle Chiong, Deputy Director of Venture Investing, SGInnovate.


“The innovations that were presented at the Solve for Tomorrow Grand Finale were not only bold and creative, but also well thought-out to ensure the customer centric solutions are practical, impactful and sustainable. The finalist teams really demonstrated that with their passionate approaches and carefully planned application of their diverse technical knowledge, youth can be a powerful force of change in addressing the challenges our nation faces. They are our future-ready leaders,” said Isabella Huang Loh, Chairman, Singapore Environment Council.

Winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2020 competition

Post-secondary category


  • 1st prize: Republic Polytechnic – SUSKIN, an all-vegan alternative to leather derived by converting food waste to textile, using biomaterials engineering for better sustainability.


  • 2nd prize: Republic Polytechnic – Bam-Boots, a cost-effective, lightweight bamboo prosthetic designed to allow individuals with leg amputations move around easily.


  • 3rd prize: Temasek Junior College – TechBoards, a machine-learning mobile app to support technicians in accurate circuit board diagnosis, thereby reducing e-waste. 


  • People’s Choice award3: Republic Polytechnic – SUSKIN


University category


  • 1st prize: National University of Singapore – DeafSpeak, a programme specially designed to aid hearing-impaired children in learning and development.


  • 2nd prize: National University of Singapore – LIBERO, a smart, convertible wheelchair-walker that provides independent and safe mobility for the elderly.


  • 3rd prize: National University of Singapore – Movelei, a gamified fitness machine that encourages physical exercise as well as faciliates social interaction and cognitve engagements for the elderly. 


  • People’s Choice award3: National University of Singapore – DeafSpeak

Post-secondary category winner: SUSKIN from Republic Polytechnic


The Post-secondary category winners, Sokwei Wong and Kai Lin Ong, have created SUSKIN, an all-vegan alternative to leather that is sustainable, durable and ethically-sourced. Tapping on biomaterial engineering to create vegan leather out of food waste, the winners aspire to provide a more sustainable textile substitute. This can help to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases emitted by the leather industry while still allowing consumers to enjoy the same functionalities of leather.


According to the Samsung poll2, respondents highlighted promoting greater usage of recyclable materials as the most important element to them when it comes to environmental sustainability, with 36 percent of respondents indicating this as most important. This is followed by developing and implementing more energy efficient technologies (23 percent) and harnessing of alternative energy sources such as solar power (22 percent).


“We are thrilled to be one of the winners of the competition and glad that SUSKIN, our vegan leather idea resonated with the judges,” said Sokwei Wong, team leader of SUSKIN. “When my teammate, Kai Lin, and I learnt the impact of the leather industry on our environment, we started looking at how we can create a sustainable, high quality alternative for consumers and promote a circular economy. Solve for Tomorrow is a proof-of-concept for us to grow our business model, explore new product lines and forge brand partnerships.”

University category winner: JBSamsung from National University of Singapore


JBSamsung, University category winner comprising Zhang Zhi Yao and Hu Jia Jun, developed DeafSpeak, a programme for hearing-impaired children. The team aspires to enable audio-verbal therapists (AVTs) and caretakers to better engage in the child’s development. The programme consists of three parts: a web portal for AVTs to assign tasks and remotely monitor users’ learning progress; a mobile app that provides learning games to sustain motivation and real-time mouth shape correction for speaking; and a motion-activated phonetics activity to improve the vocabulary of hearing-impaired children.


This problem statement was supported by Samsung’s online poll2 which found that 41 percent believed that creating equal opportunities regardless of class, abilities and gender is the most important aspect to building an inclusive and harmonious society.


“In Singapore, there is a lack of AVTs to aid in hearing-impaired children’s development,” said Zhang Zhi Yao, team leader of JBSamsung. “Solve for Tomorrow gave us the opportunity to address challenges in this area through the creative use of technology, using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to improve our training curriculum and provide real-time feedback to the users. We hope to bring this solution to more hearing-impaired children in Singapore and help create a more level playing field for them in the future.”

Appendix A

About Samsung Solve for Tomorrow

The Solve for Tomorrow 2020 competition, which launched on 26 February, encourages students in Singapore to take a closer look at the social issues around them and think about how they can make a meaningful impact on the community.

The platform also allows youth to express their creativity and passion while encouraging them to apply their knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines - including critical and design thinking, marketing and communications skills, technological expertise and STEM knowledge – when developing their ideas and solutions.

Competition overview

There are two categories for Solve for Tomorrow 2020.

  • Category 1 – Post-secondary: Full-time students aged 16 years old and above, enrolled in any junior college, polytechnic, Institute of Technical Education or the Millennia Institute in Singapore


  • Category 2 – University: Full-time undergraduate students aged 18 years old and above, enrolled in any of the six publicly-funded autonomous universities in Singapore, namely
      o  Nanyang Technological University (NTU);
      o  National University of Singapore (NUS);
      o  Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT);
      o  Singapore Management University (SMU);
      o  Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS); and
      o  Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).


The competition launched on 26 February where more than 640 students, forming more than 200 groups of two to four, submitted a write-up of their ideas or solutions.


A total of 20 teams (10 from each category) were shortlisted from over 200 teams on 17 April. Each of these teams received a $1,000 cash prize to help them develop and refine their ideas and/or develop their prototype.


Virtual workshops were organised for all the shortlisted teams from 4 to 19 May where all teams completed two online courses – (1) innovation and design thinking and (2) effective communication skills.


Out of the 20 teams, 10 teams (five from each category) were selected to present at the finale event on 26 June, where the top three winners from each category were crowned.


This year, the public also got to vote for their favourite idea from each category on the Solve for Tomorrow website. The finalist team from each category with the greatest number of votes won the People’s Choice awards.

Judging criteria for the grand finale

  • 30%: Feasibility - Elaboration on how the solution can be created and implemented


  • 20%: Creativity - Innovativeness, uniqueness and originality of proposed idea


  • 25%: STEM - Elaboration on the use of STEM and how it can solve the problem


  • 20%: Presentation - Flow and effectiveness of the presentation


  • 5%: Public voting - Based on the number of votes the team receive from the public


  • First prize for Category 1 and Category 2:
      o  $10,000 worth of Samsung products
      o  $6,000 cash prize
      o  A study trip
      o  Internship opportunities


  • Second prize for Category 1 and Category 2:
      o  $8,000 worth of Samsung products
      o  $5,000 cash prize


  • Third prize for Category 1 and Category 2:
      o  $6,000 worth of Samsung products
      o  $4,000 cash prize


  • People’s Choice awards for Category 1 and Category 2:
      o  4 sets of Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
      o  4 sets of Samsung Galaxy Buds+


Appendix B


  • About Samsung Gen Zs online poll


  • Samsung conducted an online poll among 110 respondents in Singapore, aged 15 to 24 years old, between February and June 2020. The poll aims to understand the views of Gen Zs on Singapore’s societal and environmental challenges.


  • Here are the key findings from the poll:

1 Subject to global travel restrictions and developments of Covid-19.

2 An online poll by Samsung among 110 respondents in Singapore, aged 15 to 24 years old, conducted between February and June 2020. Please refer to Appendix B for more details.

3 People’s Choice award - Finalist team that received the most votes from the public in the category.