PR – Nine cutting-edge technologies for future cities developed by Singapore’s leading public research agency, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), will be showcased at the World Cities Summit and the Singapore International Water Week from 24 – 26 June 2008.
Among the A*STAR innovations are:
* Smart 3D urban planning
* Intelligent urban infrastructure
* ‘Black Box’ for cars
* Innovative water quality monitoring
* Smart healthcare – Cuffless blood pressure monitoring
* Smart healthcare for ageing population
* Smart homes – intelligent kitchen
* Sustainable Living: World’s first recycled spectacle frame
* Sustainable Living: Biodegradable packaging
“The world is facing tough global challenges including rapid urbanisation that put severe stress on infrastructure and resources; climate change with potentially devastating impact on human communities; depleting fossil fuels and the search for sustainable alternatives; ageing population and the need for cost effective caregiving; and highly-complex security threats in a much more globalised world. Science and technology constitute a significant part of the solutions to tackle these global challenges for all of us to enjoy a vibrant and sustainable living,” said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR.
“In the next phase of our development, A*STAR will strive to transform Singapore into a knowledge-based and innovation-driven nation that will not only have an impact that benefits Singaporean society but also the region and beyond,” said Mr Lim, “A*STAR’s R&D capabilities and technologies will help to jumpstart new economic activities in Singapore to meet the huge global demand in areas such as urban solutions, healthcare, alternative energy and green products. In addition, we will create the future in Singapore as we infuse these cutting-edge technologies into our society, and make our country a model future city.”
Commenting on the technologies showcased at the exhibitions, Professor Chong Tow Chong, Executive Director of A*STAR Science and Engineering Council said, “These innovations are built upon Singapore’s strong science and engineering capabilities that have been nurtured in the last 15 years. Tackling global challenges will increasingly become a key focus of A*STAR’s research. This will require a multidisciplinary approach. With A*STAR’s science and engineering research institutes moving to Fusionopolis, Singapore’s global science and technology powerhouse that will open in October 2008, we are well-placed to address these global challenges and seize new market and business opportunities for future economic growth of Singapore.”
1. Smart 3D urban planning: Highly-innovative 3D simulation software to facilitate megacity urban and defence planning
A*STAR Institute of High-Performance Computing (IHPC)’s 3D simulation software can help urban planners construct 3D urban models easily and quickly for megacity planning. The software is based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data, which are map-based data that represents buildings, terrains, etc. The variety of models generated by the IHPC software can be put through simulations to ascertain their appropriateness for safety, environmental friendliness and structural robustness. At the same time, IHPC has also developed the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software that can help construct accurate, easy-to-understand analyses of dangerous contaminants to assist nations in their defence planning. The software is based on embedded mesh technology that allows for the complete modelling and simulation of airflow and pollutant dispersion pattern for an urban city in under a month’s time, which is three to four times faster than the standard approach.
2. Intelligent urban infrastructure: Sensor technologies that enable real-time monitoring of the structural integrity of urban infrastructure
A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research’s Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors can be used for remote, real-time and non-destructive monitoring of the structural health of urban infrastructure like bridges. FBG sensors show better potential due to their small size, robustness and suitability for use in multiplexed sensor networks. When an FBG experiences a mechanical strain and/or a temperature change, it will result in a change in its Bragg wavelength that will alert observers to the strains in the infrastructure.
3. ‘Black Box’ for cars : First-of-its-kind “black box” for intelligent cars
This innovation by A*STAR Data Storage Institute is an in-vehicle event monitoring and storage (IVEM) system that acts like a ‘black box’ for cars. It uses an ingenious methodology for storing huge video data. Six cameras will be intelligently positioned around the car, capturing traffic movements every second on the move. The innovation will not only help to reduce disputes among drivers during accidents and hasten the process of post-accident processing for insurance claims, but will also help drivers review their driving habits to promote better road safety.
4. Innovative water quality monitoring: Video imaging and analysis of fish behaviour for water quality monitoring
A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research’s cutting-edge video-monitoring technology is being adopted as part of a joint project with PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, in the latter’s simple early warning system of monitoring fish behaviour to detect possible variation in the water quality. The technology will enhance the safety and security of Singapore’s water supply system. Both agencies will also look into marketing the technology overseas.
5. Smart healthcare: Cuffless blood pressure monitoring
The cuffless blood pressure monitoring developed by the National University of Singapore as part of the Embedded and Hybrid Systems II Program funded and driven by A*STAR can be worn easily like a watch for convenient and comfortable round-the-clock monitoring of blood pressure. It provides an indication of blood velocity by measuring the interval between the start of the cardiac cycle – indicated by a peak in the Electrocardiograph (ECG) waveform – and the time that fresh arterial blood reaches the skin – indicated by the peak in Photo Plethysmogram (PPG) of the pulse oximeter. The measured values of different physiological signs can be displayed on the PDA or mobile phone in real-time, and can even be relayed to remote specialists for further diagnosis.
6. Smart healthcare for ageing population: Brain-Computer Interface
A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research has developed a non-invasive brain-computer interface technology, which works by building direct interaction between the human brain and the computer such that human thoughts can be translated into action. The innovation will provide a way for people with complete loss of movements in the limbs to access the computer for performing tasks such as letter writing, sending emails and controlling home appliances. In a joint project with Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Neuroscience Institute, the technology is also being deployed to assist in the rehabilitation process of stroke victims. The use of BCI technology may potentially automate and facilitate the stroke-rehabilitation process and complement traditional therapies.
7. Smart homes – intelligent kitchen
Building on its expertise in RFID technology, A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) has developed highly-intelligent kitchen cabinets. The cabinets automatically track all groceries in the kitchen cabinet and display the information via a touch-screen computer. Home-owners can check their inventory in seconds using this system. Alerts are raised when supplies of any of the groceries run low or when food items are nearing or past their expiry dates. There are currently no known RFID cabinets for home use. The innovation also has many scalable features such as helping supermarkets track individuals’ preferences and helping consumers generate a shopping list automatically.The RFID technology developed by I2R is highly versatile and is currently being deployed in the national library in Singapore for easy tracking of books
8. Sustainable Living: World’s first recycled spectacle frame – Spectacle frames from recycled materials and biodegradable packaging for “green living”
By employing the cutting-edge expertise in life-cycle engineering at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), two local small-and-medium enterprises, Nanyang Optical and Grenidea Technologies, successfully penetrated international markets and captured a pie of the burgeoning “green economy”. Nanyang Optical developed the world’s first spectacle frames made from almost 100% recycled materials. It has received orders from major European markets in France, Germany and Italy. Grenidea leveraged on A*STAR’s expertise to enhance the development of its biodegradable packaging by reducing the lead time for product development and manufacturing cost. The packaging is currently being used by big retail stores worldwide such as J Sainsbury UK, COOP Sweden, Santa Sweet US and Coles Australia.
9. Sustainable Living: Biodegradable packaging – Local SME’s biodegradable food packaging found in big retail stores worldwide
Local sustainable material company, Grenidea Technologies, leveraged on SIMTech’s life cycle engineering capabilities to better manage their product life cycle from design to manufacturing processes of its biodegradable food packaging. The product is made from agro-resin produced from empty fruit bunches of oil palm. Upon degradation, it can be used as fertiliser.In reviewing Grenidea’s entire product life cycle, SIMTech helped the company to understand the underlying issues to help it improve the lead time for product development and reduce the cost of the sustainable manufacturing process. The product has been used at big retail stores worldwide including J Sainsbury UK, COOP Sweden, Trader Joe’s US, Santa Sweet US, and Coles Australia. Locally, the packaging can be found at Market Place Vivocity and NTUC Bukit Timah.
Journalists/photographers are cordially invited to visit the A*STAR booth at the World Cities Summit 2008 (Singapore Pavilion).
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
A*STAR is Singapore’s lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore’s manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 19 research institutes and consortia and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. The Agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent.
For more information about A*STAR, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg .