Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation

11 Jul 2023

Eight’s a charm at the IGNITE Innovation Symposium 2023!

Held on 11 July 2023, our teams were recognised for their innovations and work improvement efforts at the symposium. Four teams clinched the MINDEF Exemplary Innovator Award, two teams snagged the Dare to Do Award, and two teams received the Dare to Do Commendation Award.


Sparking Innovation

The MINDEF Exemplary Innovator Award is awarded to teams for injecting innovation in their work. One of our winning teams was involved in a project all Singaporeans are very familiar with and excited about every year – the National Day Parade (NDP) fireworks.

To allow more residents to enjoy the NDP fireworks from their home, the team used computational design to quantify the home viewership of fireworks in different locations in Singapore. They first mapped out a 3D model of Singapore’s skyline, and designed an algorithm based on the residents’ line of sight to the fireworks for each location. With this computational tool, the team could easily derive the home viewership numbers of different locations. From there, they determined the best locations and type of fireworks that should be deployed that would allow the greatest number of residents to enjoy.

Programme Manager (Building and Infrastructure) Koh Seow Jin shared: “We are extremely honoured to receive this award and it is a recognition of our team’s effort and hard work. Ultimately, it is knowing that more Singaporeans can enjoy the fireworks from home that gives us the greatest satisfaction.”



3D model of Singapore’s skyline

The second MINDEF Exemplary Innovator Award winning team was credited for their work on the Mixed Reality Training System (MRTS). The system was the result of a close collaboration between our technologists and the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The MRTS enables the Air Force Engineers (AFE) to conduct training for emergency aircraft launch and recovery operations without the physical aircraft. Leveraging mixed reality technology, high-fidelity training scenarios are simulated and conducted in a real-world setting. Beyond the convenience of training anytime and anywhere, the simulator provides a safe environment for the users to practice emergency procedures.

Principal Engineer (Air Systems) Jayaprakash Santosh Kumar shared: "It was a pleasure working with the AFE to develop this application. The team’s perseverant spirit, especially when implementing challenging features that were beyond the original requirements, is what allowed us to win this award and deliver something that would add value to our nation’s defence needs."


For their innovative approach to enhance Make-Up Pay (MUP) claims processes by NSmen and employers, the NSPAY 2.0 team, consisting of members from MINDEF, the SAF and DSTA, also bagged the MINDEF Exemplary Innovator Award.

Previously, MUP claims were manually processed and multiple supporting documents had to be submitted when using the NSPay eService at the NS portal. To improve efficiency, the team enhanced the eService to automate claims processing by drawing data from IRAS and CPF Board to compute claim amounts, auto-submitting the claims for payment, and providing timely notifications on the progress of claims. Beyond saving time required to submit claims, this automated approach also provided significant cost savings.

“This project would not have been possible without the strong collaboration between the various ministries and agencies involved. Seeing the final outcome of the NSPAY 2.0 after all the hard work we put in gave us all a great sense of satisfaction knowing that it would benefit many,” said Principal Engineer (MINDEF Digital Services) Simon Lim.


Consisting of our technologists and the MINDEF Communications Organisation (MCO), the MCO Web Application team also snagged the MINDEF Exemplary Innovator Award for using AI technologies to automate and streamline tasks like report generation, data collation and information dissemination via a cloud-based platform to significantly improve operational efficiency.

Development Programme Manager (Information) Poh Wei Li shared: “We are very honoured to receive the award, and it is a recognition of our efforts in pushing tech boundaries to enhance ops efficiency, and our close ops-tech partnership with MCO. We are excited to continue pursuing new opportunities to innovate and co-create solutions with our partners!”


Displaying Courage

Two of our teams clinched the Dare to Do Award for showing courage to take risks, overcome failure and persevere to try continually and learn iteratively.

When MINDEF had an urgent need for an interim capability to deal with maritime threats, one of our winning teams came up with the innovative solution to expeditiously enhance four of the RSN’s Maritime Security Response Vessels (MSRVs) using SAF assets. All four MSRVs were inaugurated with enhancements ahead of schedule and with cost savings.

In the area of ballistics protection, the team redeployed hardened coverings usually used to protect land vehicles against firearms onto the MSRV. After several rounds of assessment, the RSN found that the solution met the requirements, with no further need to purchase a new system.

Programme Manager (Naval Systems) Soh Liang Bin shared: “My best memory from the project was the satisfaction received from seeing the final completed ballistics protection on the MSRV. Looking back, all this would not have been possible without the collective hard work that the entire team put in.”


The second team that received the Dare to Do Award was involved in the Integrated Smartgrid at Pulau Tekong. In collaboration with the Energy Market Authority, the Housing and Development Board, and the Public Utilities Board, our DSTA technologists conceptualised a smart energy grid for Pulau Tekong to meet the electricity demands.

By integrating conventional and renewable energy resources, as well as other clean energy technologies, the SmartGrid could potentially pave the way to transform the island and its operating facilities into one that is net energy positive.

To test and validate the SmartGrid concepts, the team built a microgrid testbed sited at Kranji and conducted extensive design feasibility studies, which has since been successful in supporting the facility with continuous renewable power using a lithium-ion battery storage system powered by a solar farm. The insights and findings gained from this project helped with the planning of battery-enabled SmartGrids for Tekong and future towns, paving the way for a greener future.

“There were many physical constraints of the project like how the existing submarine cables, which supply power to the island, limited the performance of the SmartGrid. The team came up with innovative solutions such as balancing the electrical supply-demand of the island to overcome this challenge and deliver the best system we can. I believe that this can-do spirit is what helped us to clinch this award,” said Deputy Head (Energy and Power) Tan Hang Kiang.



One of the two teams which received the Dare to Do Commendation Award comprised members from Police Coast Guard (PCG), HTX and DSTA, and they leveraged an existing egress trainer concept for helicopters and came up with the Underwater Egress Training Simulator (UETS).

The UETS provides high-fidelity training for PCG officers, where the layout of their Interceptor boat is replicated. It also simulates realistic sea conditions by using a wave generator to replicate varying sea conditions, from light to heavy seas.

With the UETS, PCG officers can build their confidence and competence in underwater egress and better manage life-threatening situations.

Project Manager (Simulation and Training Systems Hub) Uthayajeevan S/O Krishnanmurthi shared: “I think one of the greatest benefits of working in DSTA is being able to pool everyone’s shared expertise, draw one another’s strengths, and tap one another for in-depth technical knowledge. When you collaborate with a great team of engineers and users, you often come up with solutions that you would not have when working alone. Being part of a multidisciplinary team is definitely something I really appreciate.”


The SafeGuardian team, consisting of members from DSTA and the SAF, also received the Dare to Do Commendation Award for developing an app that allows servicemen to report safety hazards in camps and training areas.

The app has reduced the average time it takes to file a safety report from three hours to under five minutes. It also notifies users of close proximity to hazards, helping to raise the safety awareness within military camps, further strengthening the SAF’s safety culture and empowering servicemen to take greater ownership of their safety. The app’s intuitive design, seamless user experience, and effectiveness in promoting a safe culture have also been highly lauded.

“It has been a profound and impactful journey to have the opportunity to develop an app that addresses the safety of our servicemen, and provide the reassurance to their loved ones that they are in safe hands. The positive feedback and recognition we received has been a strong source of motivation to the team to consistently enhance the app and develop more solutions that provide safety to our servicemen,” shared Head (Safety Administration Solutions) Doreen Tor.


Congratulations to all our winners!