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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Frederick Phua

Coming from an Industrial design background and a lead vehicle designer by profession, Frederick is an all-rounded designer who understands beauty and functionality. With the ability to think widely and beyond, he creates unique designs that give new meaning and values to consumers. 

Growing up in multicultural, multilingual Singapore and living in Japan for 7 years before joining the IDE program in London. He always had respect for others and developed a deep appreciation for and ability in Japanese and European design. Living in very different countries led him to highly value the importance of a multicultural design sense.  

From production to speculative conceptual designs, Frederick has worked on projects covering subjects such as well-being, sustainability, furniture, vehicle, future mobility and many more.  


2020 - InnovationRCA Patent Award Winner

2020 - K Design Award FInalist (Ongoing)

2019 - RCA X CERN Grand Challenge Winner (Digital Disruption) 

2013 - Japan Industrial Design Association Award 

2013 - James Dyson Award 1st (Japan) 

2013 - Nagoya University of Art President’s Award 

2013 - Nagoya University of Art Graduation “Best in Show” 

2012 - James Dyson Award 2nd Runner-up (Japan) 

2011 - Axis Roppongi Golden Egg Award 

2010 - Opus Design Winning Award 

2008 - Polygon International Bicycle Award 2nd Runner-up 

2007 - Temasek Polytechnic Design School, Honours List 

2007 - Nominated for Philips Design Excellence Award 




Degree Details

School of Design

Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

My goal is to synthesize art and technology for innovative creation. My interests are in the future of mobility – not just limited to products with wheels – to provoke emotions not by mimicry of nature but through calculated study and research to explore possibilities that will stimulate human instinct, mind and imagination. As a chameleon that adapts to any kind of projects, my broad spectrum of experiences and inquisitiveness will challenge the status quo offering radical new perspectives to projects I work with. 


Every journey begins and ends with a walk - It is a tool we use to connect the dots on a daily basis. Walking has the ability to take people off crowded public transports and lower motor vehicle usage. Reducing congestion, accidents and carbon emissions while increasing spaces for social activities. A crucial role for our quest towards an efficient, sustainable mobility future.

City Glider explores design and technologies that augments and extend the functions of walking for able-bodied people. It uses pneumatic mechanical systems within the shoe, coupled with energy expended from the body (during the heel strike) when walking, to propel the user forward when in the mid-stance position (stationary moment) of the gait cycle. Increasing the user's distance coverage by up to 10%. Empowering people to go further with less time. It also provides a therapeutic experience to walking.  

Compact, lightweight and does not rely on external power sources, City Glider requires little to no effort from the user and does not weaken them over extended use.

This project challenges and disrupts perceptions towards walking as a mode of transport.

The Making of City Glider
The making of Next GEN footwear - City Glider

Aesthetics with Functionality

Motion Cycle

City Glider 01

City Glider 02

Aesthetics for functionality. Negative spaces not only give a lighter feel but also acts as cushioning when compressed. The back end of the heel is extended acting as a lever to give mechanical advantage aiding compression of the pneumatic system, making it even more effortless. The cage design is for locking down the foot for stability.

Exploded View

Pneumatic System

The pneumatic system is made out of stainless-steel rails and linear bearings, with a forged carbon plate to hold them together for rigidity. A fabric cover, woven using elastic bands, keep dirt out and acts as a spring.

The force from the heel strike compresses the fluids, which stretches the spring. When disengaged, the spring contracts, propelling the person forward.

Heel Strike - Force Generated

City Glider + Gait Cycle

Gliding to a better Future

City Glider harnesses the force during the heel strike and only propels the person forward in the mid-stance position. Reducing the risk of a slip which may lead to a fall.

Extensive online surveys, live interviews and real life testing has shown, City Glider holds great potential in influencing people to walk more, reducing the chances of using motor vehicles, congestion and carbon emissions.

Hand Brain 01

Hand Brain 02


Penning down everything the mind sees but setting the hands free, allowing creativity to manifest with every stroke of the pen.

Building prototypes to experiment and test out hypothesis for deeper understanding and development.

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