Singapore continues its journey as a Smart Nation where people are empowered to live meaningful and fulfilled lives, offering opportunities for all and enabled by digital transformation. Technology is integral to Singapore’s next phase of smart nation-building. It has been acknowledged that for Singapore to continue to prosper and stay relevant, it needs to embrace digitalisation.
Cheow Hoe has more than two decades of extensive experience in senior management positions overseeing organisation-wide IT development and systems. He also has a strong track record of leading IT professionals in global companies and large corporations, to deliver efficient and effective IT systems and solutions. His expertise includes leading organisations through transformational change and connecting IT to the needs of the organisation.
Without a doubt, Singapore is a leading tech power in the region and considered a model and benchmark for a smart nation. While most Smart Nation initiatives have been on track, the last couple of years has put a damper on progress in some areas like the ‘Smart Lamp Post’ project.
Cheow Hoe explains that the Lamppost-as-a-Platform (LaaP) project is part of the broader efforts to transform Singapore into a smart city by embedding smart technology into its urban infrastructure, to improve lived experiences.
No doubt the pandemic has had an impact on the initiative. Trials began in early 2020 and the aim was to complete them in a year. The onset of the pandemic reduced activities and more time is needed to assess its viability. With things under control, trials should be completed next year.
Besides LaaP, the agency is experimenting with sensor data to improve the running of estates. For example, for the JTC building, sensor data is being used to adjust air-conditioning output automatically to save energy. It is also employed for predictive maintenance of any component failure in the system such as the fan coil unit and compressor.
Singpass is another great example. Cheow Hoe says almost 97% of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 15 and above have a Singpass account, amounting to a user base of more than 4.2 million users.
There are also over 3.2 million Singpass app users transacting with over 460 Government agencies and private sector organisations across more than 1,700 services. With about 300 million personal and corporate Singpass transactions in a year, Singpass is among the most pervasively-adopted national digital identity systems in the world.
The government plans to continue to build up Singpass as an all-in-one gateway for secure access to all Government services. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG), which comprises SNDGO and GovTech, aims to get more private sector companies and services onto Singpass and encourage the use of Singpass and the Digital IC as a way of life in Singapore.
Today, all Government agencies accept the Digital Identity Card (IC) on the Singpass app as a means to prove an individual’s identity for in-person agency services. Users can present their Digital IC at Government service counters for identity verification or scan the Digital IC barcode at kiosks, such as in public libraries or polyclinics. Businesses can also use the Digital IC as an alternative method of identity verification.
SNDGG has also expanded Singpass features to the private sector to provide more efficient services. For example, Myinfo business enables businesses to pre-fill digital forms with entity data from government sources. It has facilitated more than 120 Government-to-Business (G2B) digital services to date, such as applying for a grant on the Business Grants Portal and invoicing agencies. This service has also been extended to private sector services like opening a corporate utility account and applying for SME loans. Currently, more than 60 private sector digital services have been onboarded to Myinfo business.
To facilitate business transactions, users can digitally sign documents on their Singpass app. This provides convenience and increases productivity and business efficiency as citizens no longer need to be physically present to sign documents and agreements.
The next plan is for Singpass to be used as a trusted digital ID beyond Singapore. Singapore has signed Digital Identity MOUs with Australia, UK and Shenzhen to explore cross-border recognition. For a start, the agency is exploring the use of Singpass for the filing of university applications at selected Australian universities.
Smart Nation Vision
Cheow Hoe touched on his personal view of a Smart Nation. For him, the Smart Nation vision is about transforming Singapore through technology to improve the lives of citizens and businesses and to make Singapore an outstanding city where people can live, work and play. SNDGG applies technology in a systematic and integrated manner nationwide and ensures that the benefits of digitalisation are experienced by all.
To achieve this vision, the agency has been focused first on digitalising itself; to make government work smarter. This means delivering public services more effectively through the use of technology, improving the efficiency of government operations and developing data science capabilities for data-driven policy-making.
The second step is to build digital infrastructure for businesses and citizens, such as digital identity (Singpass), digital forms (FormSG) and encouraging the adoption of e-payments among the population. These include platforms such as Smart Urban Mobility to enhance the public compute and the Smart Nation Sensor Platform, which will enable a smarter and greener city by collecting data such as environment and traffic data.
There is a range of other consumer-facing projects such as LifeSG and GoBusiness to improve the government’s delivery of services to citizens and businesses respectively.
Cheow Hoe is proud of what Smart Nation has achieved so far. In five years, SNDGG has built up significant in-house engineering capabilities. This was tested during COVID-19 where, because of in-house capabilities, the government could roll out digital tools quickly to support public health needs.
More than 90% of the government services are now delivered online in a cashless, paperless and presence-less way. This has significantly improved citizens’ and businesses’ satisfaction with Government Digital Services over the last few years.
According to the Survey on Satisfaction with Government Digital Services for Citizens and Businesses 2020, 85% of citizen respondents and 76% of business respondents were very or extremely satisfied with Government Digital Services.
Despite the achievements, Cheow Hoe explains several areas in which SNDGO can still improve:
- Drive economic growth and impact: Building tools, platforms, services and capabilities to support the Digital Economy, and to help raise productivity to grow the economy.
- Need for deeper transformation: Digitalising faster and driving deeper transformation. This requires not just technology adoption but also changing operating models, processes, policies and even mindsets.
- Being digitally inclusive: Making sure that digitalisation benefits all, not just some. Everyone must have access and skills to use basic digital services. During the pandemic, some people (e.g. seniors, low-income families) risked being left behind. The digital divide must be closed and products for all segments of society must be developed.
- Growing the talent pool: As with all countries, Singapore is short of engineering talent and the demand is going to grow even more. The number of fresh graduates each year would not be sufficient to fill this gap. Hence, the nation has to upskill the workforce so that more people can contribute to the digitalisation efforts, including in modern technologies like cloud and Agile software development.
Singapore’s International Collaboration
The digital realm offers small countries, like Singapore, opportunities to transcend their physical constraints. In terms of international collaboration, Cheow Hoe explains that SNDGG is keen to contribute to global conversations, collaboration and action. That is why the agency has open-sourced the codebase for both TraceTogether and the underlying BlueTrace protocol – allowing other countries to build on them for contact tracing needs.
SNDGO is exploring the mutual recognition of each other’s digital identity with several countries and is also keen on exchanging best practices in areas like Artificial Intelligence, data, cybersecurity and digital government with other nations. Cheow Hoe gave several examples of how the agency participates actively in regional initiatives within ASEAN.
Singapore is a member of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN). Beyond sharing best practices, there is potential for closer collaboration. During the pandemic, there were several interactions and discussions with regional and international parties, to exchange and share information and best practices in managing the pandemic through the use of digital tools, such as digital vaccination certificates.
ASEAN must facilitate interoperable and trusted digital tools and infrastructure to drive inclusive growth. Countries in the bloc should work together to build trust and support interoperability to enable an integrated regional economy. This can be done by supporting businesses and consumers to connect digitally beyond borders.
ASEAN can facilitate cross-border digital utilities such as e-invoicing, e-trade documents, digital identity and digital payment. For example, Singapore and Thailand launched the world’s first linkage of real-time payment systems. Customers of participating banks in Singapore and Thailand can transfer funds instantly and securely, using their mobile devices.
Singapore is facilitating these processes even further with Digital Economy Agreements (DEA), both bilateral and multilateral. They are taking it further and building online platforms like the Networked Trade Platform to aggregate players and facilitate trade. These efforts will be increasingly salient in driving its economy forward in the post-COVID-19 world.
AI Adoption in Singapore
Artificial Intelligence represents the next frontier as the government continues on its digital transformation journey. The amount of value that AI can unlock in government is tremendous – not only in terms of providing more personalised and responsive services to citizens but also in strengthening policymaking and planning and optimising government processes for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
Singapore has made early strides for AI, such as using speech to text technologies to transcribe parliament speeches, computer vision to detect drowning in public swimming pools and AI-powered chatbots to simplify the provision of municipal feedback.
The nation has also invested in setting up a capability centre for Data Science and AI to hone its capabilities to develop and deploy AI. Over S$500 million is estimated to be spent in FY21 to accelerate the adoption and deployment of AI for the public sector.
Two years into the National AI Strategy, which comprises ambitious projects aimed at catalysing AI adoption across key sectors, Singapore launched the National AI Programme in Government in November 2021. This is a holistic strategy to drive more widespread adoption of AI and build AI capabilities in the government.
The programme has identified projects that will act as pathfinders to show how AI can be leveraged in the public sector. For instance, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is developing an AI smart planning assistant to help urban planners achieve greater adaptability and sustainability in land-constrained Singapore. Another key project is JumpStart, an AI-enabled platform with recommendation engines to complement the work of career coaches and offer job seekers more personalised and effective jobs and skills recommendations.
Besides these signature AI projects, SNDGG has developed a suite of Central AI Products that can be used across the government. An example is the GovTech developed Video Analytics System (VAS) that can support government agencies in the deployment of video analytics models. The platform was recently used to develop the Safe Distance@Parks portal in less than 4 days, providing live crowd density information for residents planning to visit national parks, gardens and nature reserves during COVID-19.
To empower and enable government officers to fully reap the benefits of AI, SNDGG curated a training roadmap for officers based on their varying levels of AI literacy, organised talks and courses and released an AI Playbook as a supporting resource for them. Through training and education, the aim is to raise the overall level of AI literacy in the government.
The Singapore Government has developed guidelines for organisations to use AI responsibly. Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has published the second edition of the Model AI Governance Framework in 2020, the Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations (ISAGO) and two volumes of the Compendium of Use Cases to guide organisations in implementing Responsible AI. The Model Framework is being adapted for sector-specific use, e.g. in healthcare and government.
Additionally, IMDA is working on an AI governance testing framework to help owners and developers be more transparent about their AI systems to build trust with stakeholders. Further, Singapore is participating in global platforms on AI governance, such as the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) and OECD expert groups, to exchange perspectives and establish global norms.
Cheow Hoe acknowledges that while Singapore has made some progress in its signature AI projects and central AI products, there is certainly more to be done. Singapore continues to make investments in AI, drive AI adoption, raise AI literacy and develop Responsible AI within the government to unlock its potential to the fullest.
In closing, Cheow Hoe shares key moments and milestones in his journey thus far. First, he is happy about the progress that he and his team has made. Today, 95% of all transactions with the government are digital from end-to-end. He is proud of the improvement of the delivery of digital services to citizens, businesses and public officers.
Second, the contributions SNDGG has made in harnessing technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He is amazed at how his teams rolled out a suite of digital tools within a matter of weeks and helped to streamline operational processes using technology. From timely and accurate informational updates to contact-tracing efforts such as TraceTogether and SafeEntry, the foundations that have been laid for Smart Nation efforts have allowed agencies to respond effectively and quickly.
Third, the recognition from citizens and businesses that their lives have improved. The agency has done relatively well based on various smart city surveys. For example, Singapore retained its No.1 spot in the 2021 IMD-SUTD Smart Cities Index, marking its 3rd consecutive year at the top of the index. Singapore scored very well in most components of the index, especially in areas like health and safety, work and education opportunities and government efficiency.
From a Smart Nation perspective, respondents rated Singapore highly for the accessibility of information, free public Wi-Fi, internet speed and reliability, online tools to access public services or information (e.g. booking health appointments, monitoring of air pollution, traffic congestion).
Last but not least, he is grateful for the commitment of his Smart Nation team of policy officers and engineers in building Singapore into a Smart Nation.
The Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science (IDMxS), which aims to promote the science of analysing biological molecules (biomolecules) using information technology and data science, was recently established by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore). This could pave the way for real-time environmental or health data monitoring and analysis, like how real-time traffic data can be obtained on mobile devices.
IDMxS, NTU’s newest national Research Centre of Excellence (RCE), is funded with a total investment of over S$160 million over 10 years, with the majority coming from NTU and the National University of Singapore and S$94 million coming from the Singapore Ministry of Education.
Digital molecular analytics, a novel scientific discipline that analyses individual molecules to discover, identify, and measure biomolecules with extraordinary accuracy, is at the core of the work done at IDMxS.
Such a science will open many new areas of research, such as the creation of diagnostic testing capabilities that may then inspire the creation of new technologies and commercial spinoffs, including blood testing kits that can generate findings instantly using nothing more than a smartphone camera.
The interdisciplinary centre is anticipated to house 100 full-time researchers and employees with backgrounds ranging throughout the spectrum of engineering and science, from optics, computer science, and artificial intelligence (AI) to biology, medical technology, and chemistry.
Postgraduate students from NTU will have exceptional chances for interdisciplinary education and training that spans the molecular sciences and information technology through the graduate programme of IDMxS. More than 30 PhD students will receive support from the Centre, four of whom have already begun their studies. As clinical diagnostics become more digital, IDMxS will also create continuing education programmes aimed at developing and modernising the healthcare workforce.
By fusing the fields of biology and information technology – which have each recently undergone revolutionary changes – IDMxS will create the new science of digital molecular analytics. The objective is to develop tools that can track environmental data, such as air and water quality, and health information, like viral infections or molecular signatures that signal the existence of a disease, in real-time. To develop innovative solutions for issues with health, sickness, and environmental monitoring, this process begins with the development of fundamental science.
The ability to simultaneously gather a variety of data types from a biological sample and use tools like AI and machine learning algorithms to analyse and interpret the enormous volume of data that would otherwise be impossible for humans to make sense of is at the core of IDMxS’ digital molecular analytical strategies. The research centre intends to someday spin out solutions like widely used software using digital molecular analytics.
Moreover, making blood sample test kits is one potential use for digital molecular analytics that IDMxS is investigating. The goal of this research is to create a tool that can recognise the various chemicals responsible for illnesses, infections, and diseases.
This suggests that a physician might someday be able to take a blood sample, analyse it with a smartphone camera, and obtain an accurate, real-time reading next to the patient at the doctor’s table. A similar idea might do away with the necessity for additional time-consuming laboratory tests.
The extensive surveillance of illnesses spread by insects like dengue and malaria is another project that is now under development. Researchers can one day create an imaging system that can swiftly detect and monitor dengue among the mosquito population by recognising and analysing the chemicals that make up the dengue virus. Such studies might also be used to track other airborne infections and infectious diseases, in addition to insect-borne diseases that affect urban health.
In a bid to become a digital airline, the Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company Ltd (VAECO), a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, has signed a cooperation agreement with private players to deploy an aircraft maintenance and engineering management software system. Under the agreement, the system will provide technical management tools, manage the maintenance programme more closely, and more efficiently synchronise data. This will contribute to reducing maintenance costs and time, improving the operational readiness factor for the fleet.
The software also provides tools for planning, controlling maintenance procedures, and managing human resources to optimise production processes. It will minimise labour costs for recording and data entry and work control, leading to an overall increase in labour productivity, by an estimated 15-20%
The software provides synchronous information about failure status, maintenance history, and the status of spare parts. This enables technicians to make effective and timely repair decisions. It is expected to reduce flight stoppages, delays, and cancellations.
Furthermore, the system will shorten the aircraft maintenance time and create favourable conditions for the airline to concentrate human resources to expand the outside maintenance market share. The Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, Nguyen Chien Thang, noted that the new technology will make an important contribution to helping VAECO become a leading aircraft maintenance service provider in the region while accelerating digital transformation.
Currently, Vietnam Airlines is the airline with the largest fleet in Vietnam, with more than 100 aircraft including Boeing 787, Airbus A350, A321, A321neom, and ATR72. The airline is constantly modernising its fleet, as well as improving its aircraft maintenance capacity and mastering new technologies.
In January, the airline launched two e-commerce platforms VNAMAZING, VNAMALL as well as its Vietnam Airlines Gift Card. The services were the first of their kind in the domestic aviation sector. VNAMAZING offers online tourism services including tour and accommodation bookings. VNAMALL provides a wide range of aviation and non-aviation goods and services.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the Vietnam Airlines Gift Card is a product available on VNAMALL, which can be used to exchange airline tickets or avail of business class upgrade benefits on flights operated by Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and VASCO. An official from Vietnam Airlines said that the airline considers e-commerce development one of its top priorities.
In August, the carrier announced that passengers using the airline’s air service can now access a free-of-charge news-reader application called PressReader for Vietnamese and international publications. The application provides more than 7,000 digital newspaper and magazine titles available in over 70 languages. According to Vietnam Airlines, passengers can use the application 24 hours before the scheduled departure time and 24 hours after landing.
To use the app, passengers must download the Vietnam Airlines app, choose the PressReader button, and verify their booking code and flight information. Articles can be read online or downloaded for offline reading.
Most recently, Vietnam Airlines launched an online check-in service for passengers departing from Phu Bai airport in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. The move increases efficiency and improves customer experience and convenience. Passengers are now able to check in via the official portal or the Vietnam Airlines application within 24 hours to one hour ahead of departure.
The seven best smart cities in Indonesia were announced at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics seminar and exhibition on the Movement Towards Smart Cities (Smart City) in 2022 in Jakarta. Representatives from 141 regencies attend the event in a framework for evaluating the implementation of the Smart City 2022 program.
District/city officials who have succeeded in developing a master plan under the Smart City development in their respective regions attended. The session was organised to showcase the commitment of all regional leaders so that the community see the benefits and progress, said Bambang Dwi Anggono, Director of Government Information Application Services (LAIP) of the Ministry of Communication and Information.
The five best cities and two districts took the Smart City award in the following categories:
- Smart Governance: City of Bandung,
- Smart Branding: Surakarta City,
- Smart Economy: Semarang City,
- Smart Society: City of Yogyakarta,
- Smart Living: Demak Regency,
- Smart Environment: Madiun City, and
- National Priority Tourism Area: Wonogiri
The Smart City initiative is a strategic step toward addressing development plans holistically. The programme aims to harmonise regional government sectors and regional initiative programmes with other regional governments, the central government, the business world, and even other countries. Local governments can work together with other local governments, businesses, academia, and the general public to launch various initiatives that will have a positive impact.
The Smart City Movement aims to guide regions and cities across Indonesia in designing digital-based development that considers each region’s potential and challenges. Furthermore, the Smart City programme can bring innovations from Jakarta to other areas, ensuring an even distribution of development programmes.
The Ministry of Communication and Information has facilitated interconnection with relevant parties in the Smart City development. In addition, the Ministry, through the LAIP Directorate, intends to include 50 regencies/cities in the Smart City master plan assistance in 2023.
“We hope that regional leaders (regents/mayors) will have the courage to innovate and make breakthroughs for the good of society. Correspondingly, we encourage regional heads to become change agents in these breakthroughs (SPBE),” said Bambang Dwi Anggono.
The Ministry intends to implement Smart Province next year. The Smart Province programme will select two provinces in 2023 to prepare the master plan. Smart Province development conceptualises development innovations at the provincial level and coordinates Smart City development at the district level within its jurisdiction. Two provinces will be selected to help prepare the master plan.
Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Director General of Informatics Applications at the Ministry of Communication and Information, emphasised the importance of digital transformation as a foundation for building smart cities.
“Creating a Smart City begins with digital transformation; from there, every local government understands what is required. Because each Regional Government has unique characteristics. But, in the end, everything will point to the holistic Smart City that we taught,” he was quoted as saying.
He also stressed the importance of creating a master plan for the long-term development of Smart Cities as establishing a smart city would take 15 to 20 years. As a result, the Ministry has created a programme to educate local entities on constructing a Smart City.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of a S$5 million Virtual Production Innovation Fund to support the local media industry in developing the capabilities needed to harness virtual production technology to maintain the local media industry’s competitiveness as the international partner of choice to create premium IP.
To enable the camera to capture actors and visual effects in real time, virtual production technology uses LED panels to produce realistic background landscapes for television or movie sequences driven by video game engines. The site, road closures, location costs, permits, weather, set construction, and space rental will no longer be necessary for production.
With the help of technology, Singapore has a rare chance to get over some of its physical constraints, like the lack of suitable locations for on-location filming and room for large sets.
The ability of the storytellers to reproduce historical sites or any other environment will allow them to generate content that was previously impossible. This will revolutionise the creative process of storytelling.
The adoption of virtual production by the media sector is further encouraged by the strong signals emanating from international media giants that this technology will be widely employed in the creation of movies and television shows and will become the standard in the next years.
To strengthen capabilities in virtual production and ensure that the media companies and talent can keep up with international production methods to remain competitive, IMDA will pursue a two-pronged strategy to prepare the media sector for the future.
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK has collaborated with IMDA to adapt the school’s Certificate in Virtual Production course to the requirements of the sector to train media professionals to use this technology.
From December 2022 to April 2023, fifteen professors, trainers, and media professionals from Singapore will participate in virtual lectures and undergo hands-on training at NFTS’s virtual production facilities.
Over the course of the following 12 months, several masterclasses and workshops given by professionals from the business will be offered. A Singapore-based firm that specialises in developing immersive experiences, held a display to exhibit how virtual production can enhance imaginative storytelling.
Hands-on demonstrations will be given by guest speakers from virtual production leaders. They will discuss and explore best practices in the workflow to inventive ways to use different technology in storytelling.
Local businesses can also test out virtual production to realise their creative ideas for brief pieces of content, such as music videos, short films, and brand advertisements, among others. Companies can submit their suggested content concepts from now until February 15, 2023.
The capacity to best utilise virtual production technologies to realise a project’s creative vision will be taken into consideration while evaluating proposals.
Additionally, IMDA is working to organise an industry challenge with an internationally renowned gaming company. This challenge will encourage organisations to experiment with and use the cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool developed by this gaming company. Currently, the aforementioned tool powers globally popular video games.
Teams whose concepts are shortlisted will receive personalised coaching and training from the gaming company. In addition, they will receive prize money from IMDA to assist with content creation.
Since virtual production technology has advanced in recent years, the country is now able to produce visual effects in real-time without building actual sets, thereby overcoming the constraints of scale, complexity, and space.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently announced that a PolyU-supported start-up has successfully developed the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens for controlling the progression of myopia (or short-sightedness).
The start-up collaborated with the State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) (SKL-UPMT) and the School of Optometry of PolyU to create the new solution by integrating DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, offering children and adolescents a convenient, non-invasive and effective option to delay myopia progression.
PolyU holds the patents for both DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology. The launch of the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens signifies the University’s long-term commitment to driving research and innovation and its continuous effort in facilitating knowledge transfer and research commercialisation by supporting cutting-edge technology start-ups.
PolyU’s School of Optometry invented the novel DISC technology, which is proven to retard the myopia progression of children by 60%. The method produces a clear image on the retina and a defocused or blurred image in front of the retina simultaneously, enabling children to have clear vision while controlling the development of myopia. Based on this technology, the DISC-SH soft contact lens was introduced in 2018.
The Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, developed by SKL-UPMT, merges advanced optics design, ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement technologies, and ultra-precision mould-making to apply DISC technology in spectacle lens production. By employing an ultra-precision process, the new spectacle lens provides added comfort for wearers, while offering more stable vision. The non-invasive design also makes it more suitable for children of different ages.
The Visiting Chair Professor of the School of Optometry of PolyU and Co-founder of the start-up noted that the partnership with SKL-UPMT and the School of Optometry to launch the new Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens resulted in a breakthrough in DISC technology. This initiative helps address the spiralling myopia problem among children, especially in markets with a relatively high ratio of myopes such as Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
The Professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Director of SKL-UPMT at PolyU stated that ultra-precision machining technology is a multi-disciplinary advanced manufacturing technology, which is the backbone of crucial industries like optometry, semiconductors, advanced optics, aerospace, energy, biomedical and new materials development.
He noted that SKL-UPMT is at the forefront of the development and application of technologies and have a proven track record in designing and implementing new methods, process, systems and facilities in ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement.
The locally developed Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology was extended to fine-tune and manufacture optometric products and will continue to create new technologies and solutions for diverse industries to benefit society. In doing so, Hong Kong and mainland China’s competence and strategic advantages in design and advanced manufacturing will be furthered, he said.
The Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens is expected to be rolled out in Hong Kong and mainland China soon. The company will continue collaborating with PolyU to develop new myopia control products based on DISC technology to protect the vision health of children and adolescents.
Founded by PolyU’s professor and alumni, the start-up has received financial support from the PolyU Micro Fund and the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund. In 2018, the company secured a licence from PolyU for commercialising DISC technology, which the start-up manufactures and distributes DISC lenses at its authorised optometric clinics and fitting centres.
Four industry titans in technology have been given contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to the Department of Defense (DoD) of the U.S.
JWCC is a multiple-award contract vehicle that will give the DoD the chance to obtain commercial cloud capabilities and services directly from the commercial Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) at the pace of mission, at all classification levels, from the corporate headquarters to the tactical edge.
With this Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, cloud services can be provided more quickly and at commercial cost, if not better.
The following capabilities will now be available to warfighters under a single contract thanks to JWCC: global accessibility, readily available and resilient services, centralised management and distributed control, usability, commercial parity, elastic computing, storage, and network infrastructure, advanced data analytics, fortified security, and tactical edge devices.
Those interested in knowing more about JWCC, register for the JWCC Customer Portal or contact the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), can visit this website.
To make cloud purchasing, provisioning, and onboarding simpler for DoD clients, DISA has created user-friendly cloud accelerators.
In addition, the DoD MIIs build a national network of public-private partnerships, establish an industrial common for manufacturing R&D, and advance workforce education and development while accelerating new technologies using federal funding combined with matching investment from academia, industry, and state governments.
The network strategically coordinates resources to solve important technologies and create interconnected manufacturing systems by marshalling the greatest talent from around the nation. The nine MIIs supported by the DoD are under the direction of ManTech, the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program.
Finding industry partners, including small enterprises, that have cutting-edge technology that could help the warfighter is essential to the DOD MII mission. DoD makes investments in these sectors of advanced manufacturing through the MIIs.
Conversations with some research institutes earlier this year shed light on how the DoD and the country are benefiting from the pace of technology.
Combining silicon integrated circuits with semiconductor lasers is known as silicon photonics – a speciality of the American Institute of Manufacturing — Integrated Photonics.
Compared to conventional electronics, this technology allows for faster data transfer over greater distances while making use of the advantages of high-volume silicon production.
COVID sensors are some of the most fascinating applications for photonics. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided funding for sensors that can identify COVID-19 from a drop of blood in less than a minute.
In various sensor regions of the chip, there are proteins linked to SARS-CoV-2 and eight other viruses. Antibodies to those viruses will bind to the proteins in a blood sample and be found if a person has been exposed to any of the viruses.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates parts that can be formed of ceramics, rubber, metal, plastic, rubber, and polymers. The ability of the military to build parts additively improves its capacity for swift and agile operations, particularly in hostile circumstances.
The qualification and certification of processes and materials are other areas of emphasis for some manufacturers. The primary obstacle to manufacturers fully embracing additive manufacturing is a lack of training and certification.
The manufacturing sector also examines how the supply chain’s capacity compares to the need for components made additively.
Together, these initiatives are assisting the U.S. in strengthening its manufacturing sector and taking the lead in global competitiveness.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed an ocean wave energy converter that can generate electricity from sea waves. The team successfully concluded the trials for the device in the second week of November.
According to a statement by IIT-Madras, the device was deployed about 6 kilometres off the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, and around 20 metres deep. It targets generating 1 megawatt of power from ocean waves within the next three years. The product has been named Sindhuja-I, which means ‘generated from the ocean.’
The system has a floating buoy, a spar, and an electrical module. The buoy moves up and down as the wave moves up and down. In the present design, the buoy has a central hole that allows a long rod called a spar to pass through it. The spar can be fixed to the seabed, and passing waves will not affect it, the buoy moves up and down and produces relative motion between them. This relative motion is used by an electric generator to produce power. In the present design, the spar floats, and a mooring chain keeps the system in place.
The project will help achieve several objectives, including goals set in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and India’s targets to carry out deep-water missions, promote clean energy, and achieve a blue economy. The project could help India meet its climate change-related goals of generating 500 gigawatts of electricity by 2030 through renewable energy.
The device will be deployed in remote offshore locations, which require reliable electricity and communication either by supplying electric power to payloads that are integrated directly in or on the device or located in its vicinity as on the seabed and in the water column. Targeted stakeholders are the oil and gas, defence and security installations, and communications sectors.
A faculty member from IIT-Madras who has been working on wave energy for over a decade, Abdus Samad, led the mission. He established a state-of-the-art Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory (WEFEL) at the Institute. His team designed and tested a scaled-down model. The lab is also researching other applications for this technology such as producing power for smaller devices for the ocean like navigational buoys and data buoys, among others.
Samad explained that India has a 7,500-kilometre-long coastline capable of producing 54 gigawatts of power, satisfying a substantial amount of the country’s energy requirements. Seawater stores tidal, wave, and ocean thermal energy. Among them, harnessing 40 gigawatts of wave energy is possible in India, he said. Efficacy-wise, it can be installed anywhere within 10 to 6,000 metres of water depth. It’s not dependent on bathymetry, does not harm sea life, includes no digging of the sea bed and is easily deployable, and portable. This will generate power around the clock, with almost negligible battery storage. Samad said it would be an excellent choice for sea surveillance, offshore desalination, coral reef regeneration, offshore communication, and drone charging/underwater vehicle charging.
Even single devices in different locations along the Indian coastline can generate large quantities of clean power. The team is contemplating placing multiple devices in an array configuration for maximum wave power extraction from the location, Samad noted. Their vision is to make India sustainable by tapping marine energy and net-zero carbon emissions to mitigate climate impact.