About Me


Dr Foong Shaohui is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Product Development (EPD) pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2011. He is currently the principal investigator for the Aerial Innovation Research (AIR) Laboratory @ SUTD and has significant expertise in unmanned systems and robotics and works closely with the Ministry of Defence Singapore (MINDEF) on developing intelligent micro spherical ground robots (Project STARS) and nature inspired aerial crafts (Project MONOCO) which adapts the dispersal mechanism of maple seeds to achieve efficient flight. This under-actuated configuration is a true hybrid between fixed-wing aerial crafts and helicopters/multi-rotors: It is able to perform vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) as well as possess flight endurance similar to that of fixed-wing crafts. Dr Foong is also the principal investigator for an NRF/PUB funded research project to design and develop a novel UAV to perform autonomous inspection of the deep tunnel sewerage system (DTSS). This bespoke aerial platform is designed around a novel 360° revolving camera which allows high-fidelity images to be captured with minimal optical distortion and a composite-based structural frame to minimize weight and enhance flight endurance.

Dr Foong also has extensive R&D experience in applied magnetic sensing for medical application and is currently the PI for a number of funded grants that focus on incorporating magnetic localization techniques into conception, design, prototyping and development of novel medical devices. In collaboration with the National University Hospital (NUH), one of these funded research project is on devising and fabricating a patented ergonomic magnetic-based system to track insertion of a nasogastric tube as it descends into the stomach in real-time. In early 2016, this magnetic-based localization system was tested successfully in a cadaver. Dr Foong also has also published extensively on utilizing passive magnetic fields for localization in renowned peer-reviewed journals and conferences where has contributed significantly to the field of magnetic field modelling, spatial design optimization of sensing assemblies and introducing flexible magnetic sensing devices. In 2014, he was award the Best Application Paper at the SCIS & ISIS joint conference for his contribution to robust magnetic sensing. As a Visiting Academician at Changi General Hospital (CGH), he is developing a novel device harnessing optical methods for reliable detection of blood at wound sites. This device can potentially translate to significant cost savings with regard to reducing workload of nurses and yet provide reliable and continuous monitoring of wound sites which is currently not feasible with periodic inspection by nurses.

Last but not least, Dr Foong has a deep passion in engineering education and has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to devise and organize a series of Aerial Craft Design Workshops for pre-tertiary students to educate, advice and guide them through the process of designing, building and flying their own aerial crafts from scratch and without any prior knowledge. For his immense contributions to innovative education and dedicated university service, he has been awarded SUTD Award for Excellence in both Teaching and University Service in 2014 and 2018 respectively.

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The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering, (GPA 3.9/4.0), Jan 2006 – Dec 2010
    • Doctoral Dissertation “Development of Magnetic Field-Based Multisensor System for Multi-DOF Actuators” (Advisor: Professor Kok-Meng Lee)
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, (GPA 3.9/4.0), Jan 2006 – Aug 2008
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (with Highest Honour) , (GPA 3.97/4.0), Aug 2002 – Dec 2005
    • Faculty Honours: Fall 2003, 2004 and Spring 2003, 2004, 2005; Dean’s List: Fall 2002


  • Associate Professor, Engineering Product Development (EPD) Pillar, Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), Singapore, Oct 2018 – Present
  • Assistant Professor, Engineering Product Development (EPD) Pillar, Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), Singapore, Jan 2011 – Sep 2018
  • Visiting Academician, Office of Innovation, Changi General Hospital, Singapore, Apr 2017 – Present
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA, Jan 2011 – Jan 2012

Honours & Awards

  • Singapore National Day Award – The Commendation Medal, 2018
  • SG Mark Award for THOR: Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft, 2018
  • SG Mark Award for SWIRL: Surveyor With Intelligent Rotating Lens, 2018
  • SG Mark Award for TIM: Tree Inspection Microdrone, 2018
  • SG Mark Award for Virgo Intelligent Surveillance and Reconnaissance Robot, 2017
  • SUTD Award for Excellence in University Service, 2018
  • SUTD Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2015
  • Best Application Paper Award, 2014
    • E. H. Aoki, S. Foong, D. Madhavan and Y. L. Lo, “A robust stochastic magnetic field model for sensor network mapping,” 2014 Joint 7th International Conference on Soft Computing and Intelligent Systems (SCIS) and 15th International Symposium on Advanced Intelligent Systems (ISIS), Kitakyushu, 2014, pp. 512-517. doi: 10.1109/SCIS-ISIS.2014.7044786
  • Best Paper Award, 2018
    • A. G. Dharmawan, P. Xavier, K. B. Perez, H. H. Hariri, G. S. Soh, A. Baji, R. Bouffanais, S. Foong, H. Y. How and K. L. Wood, “A Bio-inspired Miniature Climbing Robot with Bilayer Dry Adhesives: Design, Modeling and Experimentation” 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE), Quebec City, 2018.


  • Today, “High time for laws to catch up on drones: Experts,” 16 Oct 2016.
  • The Straits Times, “No permit, but drones are still flying high,” 30 Oct 2016.
  • Channel NewsAsia, “‘Sky’s the limit’ in Singapore’s bid to become a drone hub,” 11 Nov 2016.
  • The New Paper, “Making it safe for drones to fly here,” 29 Dec 2016.
  • The Straits Times, “LTA considering using drones to inspect tunnels,” 2 Mar 2017.
  • Gov Insider, “Four things you need to know about Robotic Process Automation,” 6 Jun 2017.
  • Today, “Tougher drone rules at NDP vital amid terror risks: Experts,” 3 Aug 2017.
  • The Straits Times, “Winning marks of good design,” 31 Mar 2018.
  • The Straits Times, “Plan to beef up laws governing drone use in Singapore to ensure public safety,” 29 Apr 2018.
  • The Straits Times, “Plan to beef up laws governing drone use,” 30 Apr 2018.
  • Channel NewsAsia (Video), “CAAS plans changes to regulations on drone use in Singapore,” 30 Apr 2018.
  • Channel 8 News, “无人机使用者或需考取执照 获批后才可升空,” 30 Apr 2018.
  • Zaobao, “预计明年第一季起 使用无人机须接受培训或考执照,” 30 Apr 2018.
  • Today, “Want to fly a drone? You may have to complete a compulsory online course first,” 30 Apr 2018.