A QaneMate to Bind Generations

SPD’s Rehabilitation Centre is the proud recipient of 12 QaneMates and walking canes on 25 February.

SPD’s Rehabilitation Centre is the proud recipient of 12 QaneMates and walking canes on 25 February.

The QaneMate is a portable walking cane holder designed to keep the cane in an upright position when the user is not holding onto it. It is the brainchild of 12-year-old Seng Ian Hao and 10-year old sister Seng Ing Le.

Inspiration for the invention came to the pair when they learnt that an elderly lady lost her balance and injured herself when bending over to pick up her fallen walking cane. The siblings realised that the walking cane, which is commonly used by the elderly with unsteady gait, could easily fall and be a hazard to elderly users when they try to pick them up. Two years and more than 12 prototypes later, Ian Hao and Ing Le finally came up with QaneMate, a walking cane accessory that prevents the canes from slipping to the ground.

The little inventors conducted countless surveys and tested their prototypes with elderly users, including those at various nursing homes and eldercare centres where the two volunteer with their family.

In 2014, Ian Hao and Ing Le became the first Singaporeans to participate in the 26th Young Inventors’ Showcase of Houston with their nifty device, bagging Gold for their category in the history of this event. The QaneMate was also an award winning invention at the local Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award in 2014.

Even national para-athlete Alvina Neo was spotted with one on her crutch when she received the SPD Youth Aspiration Award in January!

The two have taken the lead to drive home the message that young Singaporeans can play a bigger role in helping people in need. “No one is too young to make a difference, or too old to care. We just need to create opportunities!”, said the young inventors.

The 12 units presented to SPD by Ian Hao and Ing Le’s mum, Dr Loh Yin Sze, were especially meaningful as they were adorned with messages of appreciation produced using Ian Hao and Ing Le’s hongbao money and savings, and were customised to the Chinese New Year and SG50 theme.

The donation-in-kind will be most useful to 12 clients receiving therapy at the Rehabilitation Centre.

“We do not remain kids forever…hopefully our grandkids will invent better tools for us to use when we grow old one day!”

said Ian Hao and Ing Le.