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Syinc Blog

Here we muse about creativity & innovation, and document (some of) the work we're doing about it in Singapore.

Fork 2: Cardboard Robots, Kids Hacking, & Evil Biosensors



Shaun looking particularly dashing

Our second edition of FORK was a blast! It was truly a coming together of peeps in the community who believe in making things out of curiosity, and love. And about creating something in a safe space, where you can tinker with unfinished ideas, and infect someone else in that same space with the same passion for the $h*t you love.

Many came for the event alone, but by the end of the night, something about the vibe (with the help of some beer) had strangers were chatting away like old friends. 


Abuzz with anticipation

Some of you folks asked what FORK means: it's a reference to open source software coding, where hackers might "fork" some code and branch out to make something else. It's about building upon, and a kind of creativity that is…combinatorial

For those curious about FORK1: check this out. Also, 2 of our pitchers from FORK1 - Yen the fine artist and Hanyang the 3D printing geek - are now collaborating in this project!


Hanyang showing off the product of their collaboration: merchandise to support the art project!


They made tiny houses! With windows!

Also, we heard you:

 Yup, we gottit (from FORK1) - you want a more tangible way

of connecting (apart from the obvious mingling). So here is the rudimentary "sign-up sheet" we tried out so people could connect with pitchers they found interesting! 


William appeared to be quite popular!

Without further ado, our pitchers for the evening!:


William with volunteers showing how, with a bit of technology, you can have human presentation clickers

William Hooi | Hackidemia

William was an engineer by training, and a teacher by profession at the Singapore Science Center. He combines the two in Hackidemia, workshops which allow children to try out sophisticated technology and make stuff. The eventual dream is for children to have a change in world view: from being helpless in the world to adopting a tinkerer’s disposition, a belief that the world can be acted upon, that they can do stuff.


William is looking for venue hosts, volunteers to help in facilitation and sponsors to keep the program free for all participants! 

Get involved here


Bartholomew Ting | Cardboard Playground

Bart has only one slide with his name and a photo of a huge cardboard robot assembled outside Artistry  (which was taken that very afternoon). He gets onstage and sheepishly admits that the massive robot, put together with cardboard lego blocks, was his creation. We are impressed, and are collectively peering out the window at the nearly two-story tall giant.

He tells us his story: it all started from his time in NUS, when he built sculptures with recycled materials for the charity event Rag & Flag. He then worked at a cardboard packaging factory, where he got the idea to work with cardboard in more creative ways (and started learning how to navigate 3D software).

His cardboard lego blocks are visualized and turned into templates with the help of 3D rendering software. He then manually cuts out the pieces, and puts them together using hot glue or cable ties.


Bart is looking for volunteers to help with putting together a cardboard playground in the National Library from 13th May to its opening on 31st May. Shaun had at a go at assembling the giant robot, and swears it was the most fun he’s had in years. You can too.

See past projects, gifs and Bart’s contact at!


Sahasrangshu Sinha | Sreejan

Saha is a change maker working on rural development in eastern India. After a trek to the Saïd Business School at Oxford, He’s back in the village of his boyhood to effect some very real changes to poverty, sanitation and environmental issues.

While at B school, he realized that these issues were all inter-related, and unlike the silo-ed nature of many government agencies, he developed a holistic approach to successfully tackle several problems all at once. Through the synergy, he effects greater social impact with less resources.

He calls his approach "livelihood convergence”, and has been running programs for several years. 24,000 households have benefited thus far.

His second project, a non-profit collaboration between Spandan and Sreejan, is another brilliant example of synergy. The project expands the micro-finance model to include micro-insurance, micro-loans, market  access and capability building. Each would not work individually, but together, they make sense. There is immense potential to revolutionize current “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP) models here. 


Saha invites you to check out the website, have a think about what they’re doing, and email him if you'd like to know more.


Brandon Leong | Interfsce

Brandon started a curated online journal on design after being fed up with the enormous amount of unfiltered stuff floating around on the interwebs.

He spends about three hours a day working on his blog, filtering cool stuff to share with other people. When asked if he loved what he did, with absolutely zero hesitation Brandon replied “Yes I do”. The best takeaway from Brandon’s sharing was his personal philosophy “Do what matters to you, the rest, so what” (add casual shrug for effect).

Follow his blog here.


Shanmugam Mpl, EvilBioSensors

Shan comes up on stage, and asks for a volunteer. When his presentation has the word ‘evil’ in it, you want to be wary of volunteering for this sort of thing. “I wanted to wear this tshirt but it’s too small”, he explains.

A girl comes up, dons the tshirt and we watch as she gets hooked up to a whole bunch of wires. What follows is an interesting commentary on the dualism of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that accompanies any kind of creation.

Shan demonstrates how the tshirt, with a big graphic heart on it, lights up in rhythm to the volunteer’s heart rate thanks to a biosensor clipped onto her finger that measures her pulse. We all go ohhh on cue.


Makes you think.

Then things get serious. The project was born out of a hackathon “Future Jamming”, on the future of governance (incidentally, co-founders Shaun and Bernise were part of the organising team behind that).

Shan paints a pessimistic picture for us: “imagine a world where everything you are feeling could be on display. Anyone would know when you were nervous, or angry, just from your displayed heart rate. Or if you had AIDS, or diabetes, and the government forced you to wear a tshirt that showed this from other bio data”.

open me in a web browser tooo.gif

Hmm..... ahh!!


 The whole idea behind FORK is to create a space for a creative vat of randomness and fun. People working on interesting side projects out of curiosity and passion pitch, or simply share, what they’re doing. In the spirit of the Creative Commons, they can run with the idea in their own way, or say “hey I love your idea and I want to work with you!” The folks who pitch often aren’t famous - a big part of FORK is pulling people out of the woodwork - but they’ve always got something cool to share.