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Feature

Movers, shakers and go-getters

Everyone’s a winner in NTU’s Class of 2017. HEY! salutes the many talents in our midst here

Going places award

Timothy Chan

Product design

  • Timothy Chan
  • Timothy Chan
PHOTOS: MARK TEO

Timothy stands tall among his cohort at the School of Art, Design & Media. Born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the 27-year-old has been in a wheelchair since 13. Timothy candidly tells us that he is the “worrying kind”, yet he rose to the challenge while he was at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. When he had complained then about the archaic design of his wheelchair, his occupational therapist said: “Why don’t you design a better one?” Bells went off and Timothy set out to create a wheelchair he would love to use.

His final-year project at NTU is an improved version of that wheelchair named QUADOM. He attributes the futuristic wheelchair to his lecturer, Mr Jeffrey Hong. Timothy had originally wanted to work on a personal mobility device like a hoverboard, but Mr Hong advised him to redesign the wheelchair instead. “It was a no-brainer for him,” says Timothy, who has also created artwork inspired by X-ray images of his own body.

If QUADOM makes it to the market, it would be the only self-balancing wheelchair with four degrees of movement built for quadriplegics, says Timothy. This would extend his range of motion on the move. The virtuoso, who pursues fine arts in his spare time, hopes to commercialise the QUADOM so people with muscular dystrophy can face the world with their heads held high.