College students from a Chinese public university displayed and demonstrated their tech products for representatives of participating enterprises to observe. These products are designed to solve the actual needs of everyday issues tackled by organisations.
One team developed an artificial intelligence (AI) low-speed driving safety alert system, a project aimed at the blind area of oversized engineering vehicles. The team said that cooperating with a company is different from researching on campus. Companies need to consider various factors such as cost control and output.
A robotic team produced a soft robot composed of bellows and directional fibrillary pads with a special mechanical design. Driven by air pumps, the robot can achieve high efficiency and fast crawling. It can navigate a wide variety of terrains such as slopes, sand, and narrow roads. In addition, the robot can survive from a strong impact due to its purely soft design. Another product is a prototype of an unmanned underwater robot ship developed. It is currently undergoing sea trials to solve the problem of intelligent cleaning of surface garbage, suspension in water, underwater settlement in rivers.
The comprehensive design project collected the results of 63 senior students, divided into 19 groups for defence and sample demonstration. The final results were based on project analysis, structural design, program writing, and functional testing. The results show the students’ learning, communication, teamwork, innovation, and creativity abilities. As of 2021, 133 students and 33 companies have completed 51 corporate projects.
This course replaces the traditional graduation design and focuses on the actual problems faced by enterprises through students’ self-selection of topics, team-building, cooperative research, and problem-solving. It aims to cultivate engineering leaders to solve practical problems and display teamwork spirit, engineering ethics, and an international vision.
Over the past three years, many participating companies have acknowledged the ingenuity of the students’ products, and more and more companies are willing to join the program. The exhibition attracted more than 40 business leaders and representatives from companies.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China has been making great efforts in scientific and technological innovation due to profound changes in both domestic and international environments. More recently, China displayed several advanced technologies at a global Artificial Intelligence expo.
The technologies include natural language processing, computer vision, speech recognition and machine learning related to the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. A range of tech was on display, including AI hardware, AI core technologies, AI technology applications, 5G+AI intelligent products and AI innovations and achievements.
Shenzhen Artificial Intelligence Industry Association (SAIIA) released and compiled the White Book on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in 2021 and a research report on the nation’s growth enterprises in the AI sector. Also on display was the latest academic research achievements in the field of AI through in-depth research on the system, industry, technology and application of AI. The white book discusses the challenges in developing AI and predicts the future trends of AI development.
The research report features interviews with experts, scholars and enterprise executives in the AI field, as well as discussions on the latest progress, achievements and development trends of the industry. According to the white book, the number of AI enterprises in China ranks second in the world. By the end of 2020, there were 6,425 AI-related companies in China, with a year-on-year growth of 25.37%.
Science and technology development should keep up with leading global trends, it was felt. It needs to serve as the main engine of economic competition, the needs of the country, and benefit people’s health and livelihoods. These goals will be realised through the in-depth implementation of the strategies of rejuvenating the nation through science and education, cultivating talent, and promoting innovation-driven development. This will enable China to improve its innovation capabilities and speed up its transformation into a scientific and technological power.
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the creation of a US$ 20 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) research institute led by faculty from three top universities in the U.S. The new institute, the AI Institute for Dynamic Systems, will focus on developing new machine learning ideas and techniques, with the team exploring new ways to use AI to integrate physics-based modelling to accelerate scientific discovery.
For decades, scientists and engineers have toiled to accelerate AI development. Now AI will return the favour by helping accelerate scientific discovery itself. The AI Institute is one of 11 new NSF-funded centres that are part of a larger $220 million investment in AI and AI-enabled research.
The Institute’s goal is to integrate AI and machine learning with physics-based models to tackle some of the biggest challenges in science and engineering, such as materials discovery. The researchers want to use AI to help scientists and engineers speed up their work. Businesses use AI primarily for prediction; scientists use AI for gaining insight.
There is tremendous potential for AI within the scientific process: helping scientists to choose what and how to measure, discovering new relationships in measured data, and understanding and explaining these discoveries.
Scientific discovery is one part of the Institute’s mission; it will also focus on developing more powerful AI tools to do this work, including the use of AI to build better AI. Engineers like to invent systems to solve problems. They are now faced with the ultimate challenge to create a system that can itself invent solutions automatically.
The Institute will also focus on training future researchers in AI techniques. Examples include partnering with high school programs that focus on AI-related projects and recruiting and preparing recent college graduates from underrepresented groups, U.S. veterans and first-generation college students to go on for a graduate degree. The institute will provide massive open-source educational materials that include lectures, data and code packages for advancing and empowering AI.
The researchers are so excited to bring together a critical mass of amazing and innovative researchers from across the U.S. to really move the needle in developing machine learning technology for physical and engineering dynamic systems. They also have a deep connection with industry partners, which provides them with an incredible opportunity to make sure that we are focused on important and relevant problems and that their technology will actually be used.
The new NSF National AI Research Institutes are hubs for academia, industry and government to accelerate discovery and innovation in AI. Inspiring talent and ideas everywhere in this important area will lead to new capabilities that improve our lives from medicine to entertainment to transportation and cybersecurity and position us in the vanguard of competitiveness and prosperity.
AI is being integrated into every industry and every discipline, including journalism, nursing, or nutrition. From retail to real estate, AI is going to be a part of every industry’s future, and everyone needs to be prepared. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. researchers have built a high-fidelity simulation environment that is designed for developing algorithms that improve causal discovery and counterfactual reasoning of AI.
The researchers illustrated a problem by making an analogy of AI in a different context. If a self-driving car were confined to the streets of a neighbourhood in Arizona with few pedestrians, wide, flat roads and street signs with English writing, and then they deployed the car on the narrow, busy streets of Delhi, where street signs are written in Hindi, pattern recognition would be insufficient to operate safely.
The recent paper took a closer look at this problem and the researchers proposed a new high-fidelity simulation environment. They designed a high-fidelity simulation with the ability to control causal structure. A more robust AI model does more than simply learning patterns. It captures the causal relationships between events.
Home broadband penetration in the Philippines has always been low, owing to the mobile platform’s dominance, which accounts for 97% of the total internet users in the country according to a report. The pandemic, on the other hand, prompted Filipinos to switch from mobile to home broadband for their internet needs, as demand for faster connectivity increased to support work, learning, and entertainment in the home increases.
Three months after an order issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allowing telecom companies to construct infrastructure projects within the allowable right-of-way limits of national roads, the Philippines’ internet provider saw an improvement in its efforts to fibrise more homes and businesses.
The order has bolstered the company’s bid to extend fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) lines to more households in strategic areas across the country. Since the third week of March this year, the internet provider has been able to install FTTH lines, which are supplemented by 96 DWPH permits. The right-of-way order also enabled fiberisation to support Mobile Builds from 39 DPWH permits.
“The support of DPWH, and the government in general, will really allow us to decongest demand for internet connectivity in the highly-urbanised areas in the country. This will help us fast-track laying out our fibre cables to more households that are now more dependent on having reliable, fast, and accessible internet,” said the company’s Vice President for Programme Delivery, Network Technical Group.
The new Department Order No. 29, also known as the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11494,” relaxes previous right-of-way prohibitions, particularly on the construction of posts, by allowing excavations and restoration work for ICT infrastructure projects along with allowable right-of-way limits of national roads and highways. With the removal of such a major bottleneck, the company anticipates that site inspection and approval will be completed in a matter of days, rather than several weeks or even months in the past.
“This will make it faster for the company to bring high-speed broadband services to more homes and businesses through Fibre-to-the-Homes (FTTH) this year. We are confident we will hit our target of making one million fibre lines available this year,” he then added.
The order issued by the DPWH is in accordance with Bayanihan Acts 1 and 2, which streamline the requirements for obtaining permits from local government units and national government agencies for the installation of new cell towers.
OpenGov Asia reported that the business conglomerate’s CEO for ICT asserted that the tower activated by the telecommunication company was a Rapid Deployment Station (RDS) Telecom Tower in Valenzuela City offering a faster set-up structure that incorporates the tower body, fencing and foundation all in one. These structures can be deployed and dismantled in a matter of days, eliminating the need for extensive excavation and foundation construction.
The company has spent the majority of its P70 billion capital expenditure budget on data network construction to provide Filipinos with world-class internet connectivity. Furthermore, the internet service provider strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG No. 9, which emphasises the importance of infrastructure and innovation as key drivers of economic growth and development.
As mobility restrictions are imposed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), an increasing number of the OECD’s estimated 1.3 billion citizens are working and studying from home, and critical international policy coordination is now taking place online. Fixed and mobile broadband operators, content and cloud providers, and points where Internet networks connect to each other to exchange traffic, known as Internet exchange points (IXPs), are experiencing up to 60% more Internet traffic than before the outbreak. In this unprecedented situation, the resilience and capability of broadband networks have become even more critical.
To enable the development of wearable devices that possess advanced ultraviolet (UV) detection functions, Singaporean scientists have created a new type of light sensor that is both flexible and highly sensitive.
While invisible to the human eye, UV rays in the environment, and excessive exposure can cause health issues including skin cancer and premature skin ageing. The intensity of UV rays is typically reported through an index during weather reports. A wearable device, such as a T-shirt or watch that monitors the actual personal UV exposure throughout the day, would be a useful and more accurate guide for people seeking to avoid sun damage.
In their study, which was featured on the front cover of the peer-reviewed journal, the researchers reported that their flexible UV light sensors were 25 times more responsive, and 330 times more sensitive, than existing sensors, exceeding the performance level required for optoelectronic applications – or light-based electronics.
UV light sensors, also known as photodetectors, are used in a wide range of systems, from smartphones to biomedical imaging. Over the past decades, gallium nitride (GaN) has gained prominence as the ideal material to fabricate UV light sensors, largely due to its superior properties in emitting, regulating, transmitting, and sensing light. However, most GaN-based UV sensors today are built on rigid layers, limiting their use in flexible and wearable products.
While researchers elsewhere have developed flexible GaN-based UV sensors, they have not attained the level of performance required for state-of-the-art use. Two of their biggest challenges are low responsivity and low sensitivity.
The NTU team overcame these constraints by creating their flexible UV light sensors on a semiconductor wafer 8 inches in diameter, using free-standing single-crystalline layers of GaN and aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN), arranged using membranes that consist of two different thin semiconductor layers (heterostructure membranes).
This type of semiconductor structure, which can be fabricated using existing industrial compatible methods, allows the material to be easily bent, making it ideal for use in flexible sensors. At the same time, the chemical composition of the material changes with depth, meaning that high performance is maintained even when it comes under strain.
Lead researcher said that the high performance of the team’s flexible UV light sensors proves that it would be feasible to manufacture large-scale lightweight and flexible electronics for use in future relevant light-based applications. The team’s achievement could lead to significant advances in UV optoelectronic devices and circuits, as product engineers could now look forward to developing UV-enabled wearable systems.
While the performance of the rigid form of GaN-based UV light sensors has been greatly improved with various structural innovations over the past years, a flexible version remains in its infancy and their performance is far behind that of the rigid counterparts. Their high-performance flexible UV light sensors pave the way forward for a wide range of future wearable applications, such as in personal smart health monitoring, where people can accurately measure their UV exposure levels throughout the day to reduce their risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer can be prevented by protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure. In this context, a reliable wearable device that could track UV exposure may be a handy tool to help monitor one’s recommended exposure, particularly for those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
This demonstration on a flexible platform opens vast opportunities not only in UV photodetectors but also in other optoelectronic and electronic device applications. The project to develop the flexible UV light sensors took the team two years of design, fabrication, and testing. Moving forward, the researchers are looking to devise eye-type UV imagers and other applications using their innovation.
The Ministry of Education is collaborating with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and a private chip manufacturing giant to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) skilling programme, AI for All. It aims to provide a basic understanding of AI for all Indian citizens.
According to a news report, the private player has launched a special, four-hour-long self-paced learning module that explains AI in a way that is suitable for a novice audience. The course is available in 11 Indian languages and is open to the general public. The course has two parts – AI awareness and AI appreciation. At the end of each stage, participants will be given personalised digital badges that can be shared on social media, the company said. The programme will build a digital-first mindset and expand access to the AI skills needed for current and future jobs.
The programme is in line with the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s National Strategy for AI, which focuses on leveraging the technology for inclusive growth and developing large-scale solutions for societal needs. NITI Aayog is the country’s think tank.
Further, the programme is also aligned with the National Education Policy 2020, which emphasises creating ways to prepare students for an AI-driven economy. An official from the Ministry of Education noted that the policy acknowledges the importance of AI. AI For All is one of the largest AI public awareness programmes worldwide and will help “demystify AI in an inclusive manner strengthening India’s position as a global leader for emerging technologies”.
A recent report on AI patents in India showed that from a vertical perspective, consumer electronics, personal computing devices, and healthcare are on the top of the AI patent filings list. With a 93% share, machine learning is the most popular AI technique while computer vision is the leading functional area with a share of 36%. More than 70% of the technology patents filed in India relate to one or more emerging technology domains. At an international level, patent filing grew by 4% in the year 2020. AI accounts for 6% of all emerging tech patents in India. Over 5,000 AI patents were filed over the last decade in India, out of which 94% of them were filed in the last five years.
AI patent filing in India will maintain an upward trajectory as the country is emerging as a key destination for AI innovation. Currently, the country is ranked 8th in the world for AI patent filing and 4th in terms of AI research papers.
It is estimated that AI has the potential to add over 500 billion dollars and 20 million jobs to the Indian economy by 2025. India has a diverse pool of talent working on innovative ideas in the space of AI to solve real-world problems. The AI domain attracted the highest investment in 2020 at US$ 443.8 million. It was followed by the analytics domain with a cumulative investment of US$214.8 million. The automation field received total financing of US$ 91.7 million, followed by the conversational AI and NLP domain with US$ 38.6 million. Robotics and IoT received 0.8% and 0.6% of the total funding, respectively.
The Geospatial Lab (GeoLab) officially opened on 30 July 2021. The establishment of the GeoLab is one of the major initiatives of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure. The lab has “Geospatial” as its theme and is equipped with advanced technology and training facilities. Through the integration of education, experience and practice, it will help raise public interest in spatial data and explore together with the community the value and application of spatial data in support of smart city development.
The GeoLab is located at Millennium City I in Kwun Tong and has an area of 3,000 square feet. The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals has been selected as the operator through an open tender.
The GeoLab will provide fitted-out working space and coaching services to support experimental projects using spatial data and conduct activities such as competitions, workshops and talks. Complementing the Government’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, the GeoLab will regularly hold talks and practical classes for schools to help students master geospatial technology and knowledge, and to enhance their understanding of how to apply spatial data for innovative applications.
About the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure
The vision of developing Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) is to contribute to a liveable, competitive, innovative, sustainable and Smart Hong Kong through the provision of convenient, easily accessible, high quality, standardised and up-to-date spatial information and services.
According to the government website, “spatial data” refers to any data concerning a specific geographical location. In fact, “spatial data” has long been integrated into our lives. We can use the map applications in our mobile phones, for example, combined with Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate nearby restaurants, parking lots or bus stops by their addresses, streets or building names and more.
Geographical location is the bridge between information. It can associate relevant information of facilities that are above, on and underground levels to support the development of various smart city applications. According to overseas academic research, more than 80% of all data is location-related information.
Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) aims to provide government departments as well as public and private organisations with an information infrastructure to promote the sharing of spatial data and support the development of various smart city applications.
It is envisaged that the establishment of CSDI standards to facilitate linkage and integration of spatial data from various government departments and that of the whole territory, and the provision of a common platform for integration and exchange of geospatial information will be conducive to the provision of reliable spatial data services for the efficient use of resources, development of a smart city and sustainable development.
Throughout the years, various government departments, as well as public and private organisations, have made use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) to facilitate the management of individual geographic related spatial data and/or the development of different map service platforms.
The spatial data thus generated, therefore, comes from different government in-house data systems and are without common standards. The development of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) aims to provide a platform to link and integrate geospatial data across various government departments to facilitate easy sharing and use of high-quality spatial data by government departments, public and private organisations, academics as well as the general public.
Examples of spatial data applications
- Boosting digital economy: In this era of autonomous applications, the capability of a 3D digital map can be extended to support a wide range of applications (e.g. self-driving cars and drones) and foster the creation of a digital twin by leveraging the Internet of Things, building information modelling (BIM) technology and big data analytics.
- Enhancing data-driven decision-making in the Government: By collecting the Dengue Fever Ovitrap Index from 3 000 locations across the territory and presenting the index figures via an interactive map interface with trend data, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) can readily identify the more affected areas and accordingly deploy manpower to tackle priority sites.
- Spurring innovations and improving quality of life for the wider community: A retail chain store is considering opening a new shop. Socio-economic data such as age, income and housing type of residents, as well as information on traffic patterns, foot traffic and the number of residences in the area, can be helpful when choosing a location.
China issued a guideline that detailed measures to promote the region’s economic growth, scientific and technological innovation, urbanisation, green development, opening-up, and people’s well-being. By 2025, the comprehensive strength and competitiveness of the region should be further enhanced, and marked progress should be achieved in innovation capacity, with its proportion of research and development input in the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching the national average.
Regarding promoting advanced manufacturing, the guideline urges the building of industrial bases focused on sectors including intelligent manufacturing, new materials, new-energy vehicles and electronic information.
China also facilitates the major technological transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector, attaching importance to fostering the intelligent, green, service-oriented development of traditional sectors such as the coal, construction and steel industries. It also underscores accelerating the construction of national logistics hubs in Zhengzhou, Changsha, Taiyuan, Yichang and Ganzhou, and increasing the listed products of the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange.
In terms of environmental protection and pollution control, the guideline says compensation mechanisms for ecological protection and damage should be implemented, while prominent environmental problems in the region should be addressed by developing technological solutions.
To achieve inland high-level opening-up, the country should speed up the development of transportation in the region, including building high-speed railways, promoting the construction of an international logistics centre and international airfreight shipping centre, and improving the international air-traffic network.
The guideline also urges continued efforts to develop pilot free trade zones in the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei and Hunan to a high standard, and optimise a business environment that is market-oriented, rule-based and internationalised.
The central region should accelerate the standardisation of hospitals for infectious diseases and centres for disease control and prevention, and improve the ability of urban and rural communities to provide medical services.
The supply of high-quality public goods, such as world-class universities and large-scale medical institutions, should be increased in the region, the guideline says, specifying that world-renowned universities will be encouraged to run schools in partnership with local institutions and conduct research and develop technology to solve problems. Large-scale comprehensive medical institutions are welcome to set up subsidiaries in the region.
In terms of fiscal and financial support, the central government will continue to increase transfer payments to the central region, and local governments can be allocated more bond issuance quotas on the condition that risks are under control.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has played an important role in China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society. China has taken a host of practical measures to promote science and technology in socio-economic development, foster innovation, support the transfer and industrialisation of research results, and encourage more investment in scientific and technological infrastructure.
The ministry has also made breakthroughs in its reform of the research system, created a better environment for innovation, improved the resource allocation system and has inspired creativity in science and technology workers.
The ministry has also worked with multiple provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to encourage institutes in economically thriving areas to cooperate with their counterparts in less-developed western regions, and has also helped technology-intensive east coast enterprises establish presences in the west. The introduction of investment, business and talented people has helped less-developed areas build their own high-tech industries, train local professionals, and create more jobs.
Regarding the ministry’s targets in core technologies, the ministry will continue concentrating on basic materials, essential manufacturing techniques and high-end chips as well as industrial software so these fields can catch up with current world leaders.
In addition, cutting-edge disciplines like Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum information, advanced manufacturing, brain sciences and aerospace technology will remain at the top of the ministry’s support list.
Offshore wind is booming globally with the International Energy Agency viewing offshore wind as one of the big three sources of clean energy alongside solar and onshore wind. Australia is yet to fully capitalise on its potential to harness our capacity in this new energy resource.
Australia has abundant offshore wind resources and new developments in floating offshore wind turbines allow access to high-quality deeper water sites that are currently inaccessible with the current dominant technology. High-capacity locations have been identified across Tasmania, the Bass Strait, Western Australia and to a lesser extent, the coast of NSW and Queensland.
The advantages that Australia’s offshore wind can bring through higher capacity factors, a diverse energy supply that complements solar and onshore wind along and employment opportunities cannot be underestimated.
The Offshore Wind Potential for Australia project evaluated the feasibility and potential of offshore wind to contribute to Australia’s energy needs and identifies barriers to its large-scale development. The project undertook high-level mapping, investigating 12 locations around the Australian coast adjacent to energy infrastructure and demand centres.
Key findings included:
- A regulatory regime for the development of offshore renewable energy in Commonwealth waters needs to be established to enable timely permitting and leasing decisions and should consider including marine allocation of space for offshore renewable energy projects.
- Offshore wind should be incorporated into national and state energy planning as the project finds that across all states, offshore wind has the potential to provide a significant amount of energy at times that other renewable energy is not producing, along with higher capacity factors.
- Offshore wind should be incorporated into planning for the National Hydrogen Strategy and ‘Energy Superpower’ scenarios. If Australia is to become an ‘Energy Superpower’, offshore wind could be an important source of power located adjacent to many ports and industrial facilities to meet increased demand.
- Strategic investment in offshore wind should be considered by Federal and State Governments, as seen by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency to accelerate large-scale solar, to assist in de-risking and developing local offshore wind.
- Offshore wind can develop into a significant source of maritime employment.
- Detailed research is required to assess the cost-benefits of offshore wind to energy, environmental and social systems.
The Research Director from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney highlights the employment potential and opportunities for fossil fuel industry workers. He said that offshore wind has been an important source of alternative employment as Europe transitions to clean energy, especially the offshore oil and gas sector where the skills are often highly transferrable. Offshore wind can play an important role in a ‘just transition’ in Australia.
With costs falling rapidly and the potential for large 10+ MW turbines to allow offshore scalability and single 2 GW single projects to providing valuable resources as coal plants close and the energy transition accelerates, warrants the need for reconsideration.
The Project Leader CSIRO and the Blue Economy CRC stated that offshore wind has the potential to contribute to the energy system through higher capacity factors and diversity of energy supply. This is particularly important under ‘energy superpower’ scenarios including mass electrification and hydrogen production.
The project brought together expertise from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency; the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney; Saitec Offshore; and the Maritime Union of Australia with contributions from the Electrical Trades Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and Australian Council of Trade Unions.