Swing timers installed in Taipei public parks have come under fire for poor design after many were found broken within two weeks, adding to calls for the city to abandon the policy.
Seeking a solution to disputes caused by children monopolizing swings, the Taipei Parks and Street Lights Office on Oct. 9 installed timers in six parks, which emit an alarm after three minutes of use.
If the trial in Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園), Youth Park (青年公園), Nangang Park (南港公園), Qiangang Park (前港公園), Bihu Park (碧湖公園) and Taipei Flora Expo Park (台北花博公園) proves successful, the office plans to implement the technology across the city, it said.
However, critics were quick to condemn the plan.
The Association of Parents Participating in Education led the charge, on Saturday last week launching a petition to remove the timers and interviewing 100 children about the policy.
“One of the reasons for installing the timers is to promote sharing, but the parks office does not seem to understand that sharing must be spontaneous,” the association said.
Forcing the matter instills fear rather than kinship as the impulse behind sharing, it said, adding that the timers would “kill children’s ability to learn to share and become spontaneous, autonomous, empathic and whole people.”
Taipei City Councilor Meredith Huang (黃郁芬) said that the devices were poorly designed.
She had visited Qiangang Park on Monday to check on the timer, but only found an empty metal case, Huang wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
The office told her it had been damaged because the case was not water resistant, so the manufacturer took it back for repairs, she wrote.
“How long did the timer last? From installation on Oct. 9 to now, it has only been 10 days,” she wrote.
The problem was not limited to Qiangang Park, Huang said, adding that nearly half of the devices were already broken, including one that broke after only two days.
She said that the devices can also be manipulated, extending the time before the alarm.
In her efforts, Huang said she had spoken to a child who changes the limit to an hour by putting their hand into the box at a certain angle.
They were also installed too high for smaller children to reach, while the cases’ sharp corners are dangerous, she added.
All of these issues should have been addressed before the trial began, Huang said, recommending that the office keep these findings in mind when considering whether to expand the system.
LONG-TERM ALLIANCE: Using the company’s virtual development tools would help reduce cost and spur innovation at the research institute, an official said The Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) has partnered with Synopsys Taiwan to accelerate the development of next-generation semiconductors, with researchers being allowed to use the chip design company’s simulation tools, the National Applied Research Laboratories said yesterday. The institute is one of eight laboratories of the national research agency. The institute has signed a contract with Synopsys that allows researchers to use its simulation software — Sentaurus TCAD and Quantum ATK — free of charge, the agency said in a news release. The Synopsys Web site describes Sentaurus TCAD as an advanced 1D, 2D and 3D process simulator for developing and optimizing chip
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
DESTABILIZING: Beijing’s efforts to choke Taiwan, pressure its friends and hamper its democracy are a threat to the world, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei. “In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the
EXTRADITION POSSIBLE? The suspect, who is quarantining upon arrival in Xiamen, is accused of killing a coffee trader on a street near his house in Sindian District The suspect in an execution-style murder of a businessman in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) has fled to China and officials are negotiating his extradition, the New Taipei City Police Department said on Tuesday. The suspect, surnamed Huang (黃), took a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on that day to Xiamen, where he is staying in a quarantine hotel, as required by Chinese COVID-19 regulations, the department said. Investigators accuse Huang of shooting dead a local coffee trader surnamed He (何) on a street near his residence when he was returning from dropping off his daughter at her