NOW Design Spotlight

Monthly Global Curated

Sourced from a global network of design directors, executives and influencers. It's what we do NOW that makes a difference

Image Credit : GovTech Singapore


Project Overview

Singaporean agencies NParks and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (comprising Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and Government Technology Agency) are conducting a pilot trial of a four-legged robot called Spot to assist safe distancing efforts at parks, gardens and nature reserves managed by NParks, including Park Connectors, Pulau Ubin, as well as parks managed by town councils.


Boston Dynamics/ National Parks Board / Smart Nation and Digital Government Group

Project Context

Utilising American robotics firm Boston Dynamics' highly customisable quadrupedal robot 'Spot', the pilot trial of Spot joins the The Safe Distance @ Parks portal, and a fleet of 30 drones as technological solutions deployed by NParks to monitor crowd numbers in its parks, and provide the public with accurate information to allow them to enjoy these parks safely.

Spot is also currently being trialled at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility to deliver essential items such as medicine to patients.

Project Innovation

SPOT is being deployed over a 3-km stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park for two weeks during off-peak hours. A recorded message will be broadcast from SPOT to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures. SPOT will also be fitted with cameras – enabled with GovTech-developed video analytics – to estimate the number of visitors in parks. These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognise specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected.

SPOT will be controlled remotely, reducing the manpower required for park patrols and minimising physical contact among staff, volunteer safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors. This lowers the risk of exposure to the virus. Unlike wheeled robots, SPOT works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles effectively, making it ideal for operation in public parks and gardens.

SPOT is fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people in its path. It has in-built algorithms to detect an object or person within 1 metre of its proximity to avoid collision. SPOT will be accompanied by at least one NParks officer during the trial period.

Social design applies a design methodology and intervention to tighten the social fabric that holds us together. Addressing issues of social inequality, such as poverty or social isolation, social design is the pathway to a more just and sustainable society. Community-oriented design is a human-centered and participatory design practice that emphasises the betterment of local communities through the improvement of public facilities, equipment, identity and experience.

The object category celebrates creative and innovative design for an object or product. Consideration is given according to the design context and need, design innovation and the application of human centred design principles.

More Details