Sensors inspired by blind cave fish, energy-generating wastewater
treatment plants, rapid evaluation of the efficacy of cancer drug regimens, functional
genomics merged with artificial intelligence – these were some of the
innovations by the top 10 young Innovators under the age of 35 in Asia
recognised by the MIT Technology
Review on November 21.
The list recognises the development of new technology or the
creative application of existing technologies to solve global problems in
industries such as biomedicine, computing, communications, energy, materials,
web, and transportation.
This year, the researchers and entrepreneurs come from
Singapore, Australia and Taiwan. The 10 selected innovators will present a
three-minute elevator pitch at EmTech Asia and will automatically become finalists
for the global Innovators Under 35 list. Past honorees of the global list
include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the cofounders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg,
the cofounder of Facebook; Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple; and
Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify.
SGInnovate (a private-limited company wholly owned by the
Singapore Government), which seeks to develop the startup ecosystem in
Singapore, will host the ‘Innovators Under 35’ (IU35) segment.
Steve Leonard, Founding Chief Executive Officer of
SGInnovate, said, “We are thrilled to be supporting IU35 for the
second consecutive year. At SGInnovate, we strongly believe that ‘deep-tech’
startups will be critical players in tackling global challenges in new ways.
These young scientists are working in areas such as energy, transportation,
artificial intelligence, and biomedicine. All of these are vital to the future
of humanity. We want to encourage and help these amazing men and women to have
the courage and confidence to bring their research work to the market – where
millions of lives could potentially be transformed.”
Now in its fifth edition, the “Innovators Under 35 Asia”
program received a total of 132 nominations from talented researchers,
inventors and entrepreneurs from countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand,
Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, for
consideration for the 2018 list.
Ajay Prakash Kottapalli (Singapore),
is currently a Project Investigator (PI) for research projects funded by the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and
Technology (SMART) Innovation Center and the CENSAM (Center for
Environmental Sensing and Modeling) Research Initiative. In 2016, Ajay founded
a startup company called Sensornomics Pte Ltd which envisions to create new
standards of care in biomedical devices.
He is working on the development of ultra-sensitive, nature-inspired
miniaturised sensors that can be used for biomedical flow sensing and are cheap
enough to produce and use on a large scale.
Blind cave fish have an uncanny ability to swim adeptly at
high speeds without colliding with obstacles and finding food even faster than
the eyed fish. They do so through flow sensors on their body which can measure
minute disturbances. After understanding the biology of the sensors, he was
able to produce sensors as cheap as 20 cents and which could measure flow
velocities as low as 1 ml/sec. These can be useful for intravenous infusion.
He is also working on sensors inspired by whiskers of
harbour seals, which are used to track fishes underwater and also, by the hair
cells in the cochlea, an organ in the ears of mammals. All these sensors could
have a wide range of applications in the biomedical area and others as well.
For instance, they could be used on underwater vehicles to measure flows around
the vehicle and for object detection and object avoidance.
Anjali Jaiprakash (Australia) Queensland University of
Dr. Anjali Jaiprakash is working Light field retinal
diagnostic system to decrease preventable blindness globally.
She is an Advance QLD research fellow at the Australian
Centre for Robotic Vision and Queensland University of Technology. She is a
Robobiologist with a PhD in Applied Science and a Master’s degree in
Biotechnology and Business. Anjali is developing medical devices that translate
robotic vision into affordable systems that can be used to improve healthcare
outcomes, through a transdisciplinary approach, that encompasses medicine,
engineering and design.
This includes a light field retinal diagnostic system to
replace the expensive and complex cameras currently used to detect
abnormalities such as glaucoma or macular degeneration and decrease preventable
Khoo Bee Luan (Singapore), SMART
Dr. Khoo Bee Luan is a biomedical scientist focused on
innovating microfluidic devices for clinical utility. She leads a research team
under the Young Investigator grant award by the National Medical Research
which is designing microfluidic models to deliver real-time therapeutic
read-outs with direct translational relevance for cancer.
One of the devices she is working on is the Circulating
Tumour Cell (CTC) Cluster Assay. This assay capitalises on the utility of the liquid
biopsy, which is simply a blood sample from the cancer patient. Liquid biopsies
are relatively non-invasive as compared to current diagnostic procedures like
tumour biopsy, or tissue aspiration.
The blood sample is processed for a short-term culture to
derive a phenotype that can help find out if the patient is responding to
treatment or not. This can help in the evaluation of treatments, as well as
drugs, new and old. If the patient is not responding to the drug regime, the
clinician can step in and alter the treatment to suit the patient better,
thereby contributing to the development of personalised medicine.
She has also developed microfluidic biochips for isolation
of primary cancer cells, diseased blood cells or malaria-infected cells with
relevance to early disease detection. For example in cancer, CTC counts could
be provided simply after a few hours of processing through the micro-fluidic
Jiashi Feng (Singapore), National University of Singapore
Dr. Jiashi Feng, currently an Assistant Professor with
Department of ECE at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is enabling
computers to grow learning ability with dynamic neural networks. His current
research interest focusses on AI, machine learning and computer vision. He has
published over 100 research papers in machine learning, deep learning, object
recognition and big data analysis.
Wesley Zheng Guangyuan (Singapore), IMRE, A*STAR
Dr. Zheng is a Scientist at A*STAR’s (Agency for Science,
Technology and Research) Institute for Materials Research and Engineering
(IMRE) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in NUS.
His research work focused on developing high capacity
electrodes for the next-generation lithium batteries, with automotive, aerial
and renewable storage applications. The new battery technology can theoretically
have 5 times the energy compared to the common lithium ion batteries used
currently. The current prototype cells achieve
about 1.5 to 2 times.
Dr. Zheng also co-founded a venture-backed startup
(volans-i) to develop high-payload, long-range delivery drone.
Chun-Hao Huang (Taiwan), CLINICAI Inc
Dr. Huang is merging functional genomics and artificial
intelligence for disease detection and treatment.
Dr. Huang is a Cancer Biologist, Genetic Engineer and AI
Entrepreneur. He pioneered the establishment of fast and flexible genetically
engineered mouse models using gene silencing and editing technologies, and led
the discovery of therapeutic strategies for treating liver cancer and
inflammatory bowel disease.
He also invented methods to identify disease biomarkers that
predict drug responses, and applied machine learning to the study of genes.
Min Hao Wong (Singapore), Massachusetts Institute of
Min Hao Wong is developing unique nanosensor constructs for
smart agriculture application.
He is currently a Chemical Engineering graduate student at
MIT. His PhD research involved the development of unique nanosensor
applications for agriculture. His work has been featured in global media
outlets such as FOX, Forbes, TIME, BBC, and CBS. BostInno named his work as one
of the top 7 inventions to come out of MIT in 2016. Min Hao is also currently actively
running Plantea, a start-up company focused on agricultural nanosensors. He is
also the co-president of the South-East Asia Club, vice president of the MIT
energy club, and a guest lecturer for 10.585 Engineering Nanotechnology.
Qilin Wang (Australia), Griffith University
Dr Qilin Wang is an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA
Research Fellow & Lecturer at Griffith University in Australia. Dr. Wang’s
research focuses on innovative biotechnologies for maximising energy
recovery/production from wastewater. As a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI,
he has been awarded 7 competitive grants with a total research funding of ~$AUD
3.6 Million from Australian government, State government, industry and
Dr. Wang explained, “Wastewater treatment plants consume a
lot of energy. But wastewater also contains a lot of energy. The basic idea is
that if we can recover the energy from the wastewater, we can use the recovered
energy for the operation of the wastewater plant. We can even export the excess
energy into the grid. We can convert the wastewater treatment plants from large
energy consumers to energy generators.”
Currently, most of the technologies for generating energy
from wastewater consume a lot of chemicals. Dr. Wang instead uses a chemical which
is present in the wastewater itself.
The wastewater sludge containing a lot of organic material, will
usually go through an anaerobic digester in the treatment plant to produce
biogas but only a small fraction of the wastewater sludge can be used so. After
the sludge is treated using the chemical present in the wastewater, maybe
50-60% of the sludge can be used for producing biogas, compared to say 30%
Dr. Wang has applied for a patent for the technology and he
is also working with a company for its commercialisation.
Weibo Gao (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University
Dr. Gao was recognised for his exploration of spin photon
interface for the application in quantum network and quantum information
Currently he is a Nanyang assistant professor in NTU. His
research in quantum information and quantum photonics is published in several
world class journals such as Nature, Nature physics, Nature photonics and
Nature communications. Previously he has won the Marie-Curie Fellowship in
European Union, the recipient of National 100 Excellent Doctoral Dissertation
Award in China, and Singapore National Research Foundation fellowship awards.
Yok Hian Chionh (Singapore),
Tychan Pte. Ltd., SMART
Yok Hian Chionh believes that the war against infections can
be won if we proactively create systems that rapidly design cures, respond to,
and treat patients during outbreaks. As a scientist, he discovered fundamental
properties of genetic coding that enabled pathogens to survive hostile
environments. As a drug developer, he helped bring an anti-Zika therapeutic
from bench-to-bedside. He is exploring radically different science-based
regulatory frameworks to expedite regulatory approvals of therapeutics, while
meeting safety and efficacy requirements.
The medical sector is highly regulated and conservative. To bring about a change, you need evidence. If equivalence can be proven among different tests or different products, then it can be effectively communicated that they are one and the same (two pharmaceutical products are bioequivalent if they are pharmaceutically equivalent and their bioavailabilities (rate and extent of availability) after administration in the same dose are similar to such a degree that their effects, with respect to both efficacy and safety, can be expected to be essentially the same.)
Today in drug trials around the world, everything is systematic
with no exceptions. The current regulatory frameworks provide for a systematic
approach to ensure that every single product made is exactly the same for
drugs. For trials, there’s an established sequential process, starting with a
small group, moving on to bigger groups and finally to the market.
Everything is put in place for a reason, most of them
historical. But there are better ways to do things right now. “In the context, of epidemics, outbreaks of
infectious diseases, drug-resistant, in order to save lives (I don’t mean 1 or
2 lives, it is about thousands of lives) we need a new approach. You cannot
wait 5 years or more for a new drug. People need the drugs now. That is what
the radically different approach is. It is really common-sense. You do not want
to do things in a stepwise manner and wait for the results from A, before you
do B, when we can do A and B at the same time,” said Yok Hian Chionh.
The pervasive availability of technology and devices has become an unavoidable part of how we live and work. Technology is already second nature to today’s youth, and many schools have begun to use personal devices as teaching tools.
The pandemic has permanently altered the educational landscape, demonstrating how technology can provide not only greater connectivity and accessibility but also a richer learning experience.
According to the agency’s presentation of its 2022 National Expenditure Programme (NEP) to the House of Representatives, the Department of Education (DepEd) has seen a significant increase in budget allocation for its Computerisation Programme (DCP) and five other programmes.
The DCP, which aims to provide ICT packages and IT infrastructure in public schools, was allocated P11.3 billion for the 2022 NEP, which is nearly double the amount allocated in last year’s General Appropriations Act allocation. As per the undersecretary for the finance sector, DepEd will receive P629.8 billion from its proposed P17.02 trillion budget for next year.
Meanwhile, DepEd recently launched its latest Online Journal to provide a platform for educational innovations and new insights in curriculum and education policies to be shared.
The online journal, which is the official online publication of DepEd’s Curriculum and Instruction Strand, is a quarterly publication that features peer-reviewed academic articles on issues and trends in K-12 curriculum and DepEd policies as discussed in technical reports and research projects conducted in regions, divisions, districts, and classrooms nationwide. The online journal features academic papers and articles related to the curriculum and instruction in the last three years developed by bureaus and field offices.
“This will help teachers learn from the experiences of their colleagues through the sharing of solutions, technical expertise, and lifting each other on the transition to building forward. The first issue of the digital or online journal hopes to be a strong beginning, I encourage everyone to celebrate these innovations, learn from our colleagues, and find the implications of this for our profession,” DepEd Undersecretary for curriculum and instruction said.
The online journal encourages the submission of classroom-based research, case studies, and full-fledged research using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. Theoretical articles or studies, as well as papers presented to experts and education stakeholders for policy recommendations and technical reports, are examples of other submissions.
In addition, OpenGov Asia reported that a leadership school in Bulacan, Philippines, advanced innovation in teaching 21st-century skills by redesigning its curriculum and incorporating technology into core subjects. The addition of the Computer Curricular Programme prepared students in the Philippines as early as a grade school for digital literacy, ranging from basic coding to mobile app development.
The programme specialises in providing cutting-edge and comprehensive computer curriculum to teachers and students through detailed training – a benefit that will reap new opportunities for the upcoming virtual school year in the advanced, technological age. The co-curricular programme, which has been tailored to fit online distance learning, covers a wide range of software and applications from Grade 4 to Senior High School.
Both at home and in the classroom, technology enables students to practise new skills and review previously learnt information more frequently and effectively. Self-marking assessment allows students to work independently, wherever and whenever they want, while also providing teachers with the peace of mind that students are always receiving the correct information.
Ultimately, by digitising the learning process, both students and teachers can improve their abilities to participate in an active educational process. Online learning, intelligent schooling, student assessments, personalised learning experiences, and online exams are all examples of how digital transformation in education can be used.
As part of efforts to stimulate the nation’s domestic economy which has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taiwanese government has given digital vouchers, valued at NT$5,000 (US$179.56) to eligible citizens. They are now able to apply for the digital version.
More than 155,000 foreign nationals, mainly holders of Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRCs) and foreign spouses of Taiwanese citizens, will be eligible to obtain the government stimulus digital vouchers.
According to the National Immigration Agency (NIA), there are around 140,000 foreign spouses and 16,000 APRC holders in Taiwan who can claim the NT$5,000 (US$179.4) worth of digital vouchers that will be issued by the government to stimulate the domestic economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to those two categories, foreign diplomats based in Taiwan are also eligible to receive the vouchers
Applications are currently open for Taiwanese citizens of all ages and to eligible foreign nationals, to obtain the digital version of the vouchers. Applications for digital vouchers could be used via digital payment services such as credit cards, mobile wallets, and electric cards. They can be made directly through the website or app of service providers.
Citizens can also get extra vouchers that cover food consumption and domestic travel, as well as services and products in the cultural, agricultural and sports sectors. There are also digital vouchers designed to boost incomes for indigenous groups, and small businesses dedicated to local revitalisation.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), nearly 1 million people have already applied for the digital version of government vouchers issued to stimulate consumer spending in the first few hours after they became available.
A government website has begun accepting applications from people intending to use the vouchers, valued at NT$5,000 (US$180), through their credit cards or mobile payment services. The website recorded heavy traffic during the first three hours, as more than 3.51 million people visited the site. Around 60% of the applicants linked the vouchers to credit cards, 34.3% chose to spend them through mobile payment services, and 0.53% decided to add the value of the vouchers to stored value cards.
This is the second time the government has issued spending vouchers to boost consumption after COVID-19 restrictions affected the operations of many businesses that deal directly with consumers. In July 2020, the government issued the first round of spending vouchers of NT$3,000, which people needed to pay NT$1,000 to obtain and which expired on Dec. 31 that year. This time, no upfront payment is required. According to the ministry, 23.32 million people, or 98.35% of those eligible collected the vouchers in that round, leading to the spending of nearly NT$64.48 billion.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy, tremendous opportunities have also emerged in the post-pandemic economy to fuel the growth of startups in Taiwan. The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 changed lives around the world, accelerating digital transformation and creating opportunities for new startups to develop innovative ideas and technological breakthroughs.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which has support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), collaborated with the Stanford Centre for Professional Development (SCPD) to share their expertise and perspectives on technology innovation. The platform provided an opportunity for startups in Taiwan to learn about Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and to reimagine business opportunities in the context of a ‘new normal’ economy.
The pandemic has escalated the importance of technology R&D. According to United Nations Technology and Innovation Report 2021, it forecasted that five leading technologies by 2025 would be the Internet of Things (IoT), robots, green energy, 5G and ArtificiaI Intelligence (AI).
The buildings and construction sector contributed for 38% of total global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2019, according to Indonesia’s International Energy Agency (IEA). According to the World Green Building Council, as the world population grows and becomes more urbanised, the building stock is expected to double by 2050, increasing the sector’s impact on climate change.
It is clear that a transition in the sector is required – and people are already seeing this with the planning and development of green buildings around the world. A green building, as the name implies, is one that is constructed with the goal of preserving our climate and natural environment.
As much as possible, such buildings strive to enhance the quality of our lives by employing sustainable and non-toxic materials and providing a healthy indoor environment. As one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, Indonesia is making good progress in greening its buildings. It has implemented green building standards in its major cities, with a goal of reducing building energy intensity by 1% per year until 2025.
Indonesia has recently updated its nationally determined contribution (NDC). The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Indonesia outlines the country’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.
Apart from confirming its first NDC from 2016, which called for a 29-41% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, it has included ocean and marine issues in its emissions strategy. The country’s net-zero target date has also been shifted from 2070 to 2060 by the authorities. More can and must be done, however, as humanity is urged to race to net zero.
Buildings emit carbon dioxide not only when they are fully operational. In fact, building materials such as steel, cement, and glass, as well as building construction and demolition, account for 10% of global carbon emissions.
As a result, a comprehensive approach to reducing carbon emissions across the entire lifecycle of buildings is required, including design, material production, logistics, and construction processes. The modular approach provides the industry with the opportunity to manage construction in a more sustainable manner.
This method of construction entails producing standardised structural components in an off-site factory and then assembling them on-site. In addition to significantly shortening project timelines, this approach results in higher resource efficiency during production and a significant reduction of waste and site disturbance when compared to traditional site-built structures.
In addition to innovation, proper policy and regulatory support are essential in encouraging the transition to a more resilient built environment in future cities. In recent years, there has been an increase in the implementation of building rating schemes.
These schemes, which establish minimum requirements for water reuse, energy efficiency, and comfort, are an important policy lever that can provide regular feedback on the energy and water efficiency of individual buildings. It also aims to inform whether progress is being made toward greater efficiency improvements and carbon footprint reduction in the building sector as a whole.
Buildings play an important role in everyday life, from homes to offices, schools to hospitals. As people work to rebuild better after the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia’s World Green Building Week this week reminded the country of the importance of the building and construction sectors in strengthening resilience to climate change and beyond. It is also a platform for reflection, learning, and change leadership.
Indonesia has a lot of potentials to improve its resilience, and so does the building and construction industry. By collectively taking bold action on climate change, the country will establish a more sustainable future for future generations.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently announced that the pilot will include Singapore’s food delivery platforms as well as a leading hawker Food Delivery platform. The pilot will include 400 stalls spread across 14 hawker centres, including ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, Adam Food Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre, Golden Mile Food Court, and Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre.
Under the model, the leading hawker Food Delivery platform — the common acquirer for hawkers — will use its existing relationships with hawker stalls to onboard them onto the other food delivery platforms, such as uploading their menus onto the platforms, said the platform’s chief executive officer and co-founder.
The Online Ordering Platform for Hawkers revealed the pilot initiatives. The workgroup was established in June to assist hawkers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in understanding the benefits of going digital and in using online ordering and delivery services. Hawkers have had a “tough period,” according to the Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as National Development. “Our hawkers are not having an easy time. Very tough. And I think these measures are very timely in supporting our hawkers and continue to preserve and support our hawker culture,” he said.
He identified three “pain points”: the high cost of platform commissions, the lack of support, particularly for elderly and less tech-savvy hawkers, to go digital, and the uncertainty of consumer demand, particularly for hawkers selling low-priced items.
Consumers can continue to order through their preferred platforms under this model, however, all orders will be received either through a single device or by on-site hawker captains at each hawker centre to place and coordinate orders.
Furthermore, the leading hawker Food Delivery platform will manage transactions and payments to hawkers, with same-day payments and no hawker commissions.
According to NEA and IMDA, since the June rollout of the latest Online Ordering for Hawkers, 5,500 hawkers across 113 hawker centres managed by NEA and its appointed managing agents have been engrossed by digital ambassadors from the SG Digital Office on how to supplement physical transactions with digital ones.
NEA’S DIGITAL SUPPORT FOR HAWKERS GROUP
By the end of the year, the NEA will have developed a set of best practises that will be compiled into a step-by-step Digital Support Guide for Hawkers.
One suggestion is to form a Digital Support for Hawkers group at each hawker centre. This group will offer assistance to less digitally savvy hawkers who want to improve their online presence.
This includes creating a social media page for each hawker centre, facilitating community group purchases through the social media page, and coordinating with organisations to place bulk meal orders. According to NEA and IMDA, the group will be made up of “passionate individuals from the community or hawkers.”
All whilst, a digital “hawker champion” in the group should be willing to lead the group in assisting hawkers in developing and maintaining a digital presence on social media, subscribing to online ordering services, and adopting e-payment tools.
To coordinate and launch the initiative, a Singapore Digital Office digital ambassador will be assigned to each hawker centre.
The proportion of NEA-managed hawker stalls on online ordering platforms has also increased from 34% at the start of the campaign in June to 47% today. This includes 660 hawker stalls that have signed up for the first time, according to the statement.
In Singapore, approximately 3.3 million people shop in the e-commerce market, with projected revenue of USD $2,793 million in 2021. Between 2021 and 2025, revenue is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9%. Such expansion should result in a market volume of USD $4,079 million by 2025.
In the future, socially interactive robots could help seniors age in place or assist residents of long-term care facilities with their activities of daily living. However, people may not actually accept advice or instructions from a robot. A new study from the University of Toronto Engineering suggests that the answer hinges on how that robot behaves.
“When robots present themselves as human-like social agents, we tend to play along with that sense of humanity and treat them much like we would a person.”
– Lead Author
Simple tasks of persuasion, like asking someone to take their medication, have a lot of social depth to them. When putting robots in those situations, the researchers need to better understand the psychology of robot-human interactions. Even in the human world, persuasion is complex and has multiple variables. But one key concept is authority, which can be further divided into two types: formal authority and real authority.
Formal authority comes from roles, such as teachers, parents and bosses have a certain amount of formal authority. The real authority has to do with the control of decisions, often for entities such as financial rewards or punishments.
To simulate the concepts, the researchers set up an experiment where a humanoid robot was used to help 32 volunteer test subjects complete a series of simple tasks, such as memorising and recalling items in a sequence.
For some participants, the robot was presented as a formal authority figure: it was the experimenter and the only ‘person’ the subjects interacted with. For others, the lead researcher was presented as the experimenter, and the robot was introduced to help the subjects complete the tasks.
Each participant ran through a set of three tasks twice: once where the robot offered financial rewards for correct answers to simulate positive real authority, another time, offering financial penalties for incorrect answers, simulating negative real authority.
Generally, the robot was less persuasive when it was presented as an authority figure than when it was presented as a peer helper. This result might stem from a question of legitimacy. Social robots are not commonplace today, people lack both relationships and a sense of shared identity with robots. It might be hard for people to see robots as a legitimate authority.
Another possibility is that people might disobey an authoritative robot because they feel threatened by it. The aversion to being persuaded by a robot acting authoritatively seemed to be particularly strong among male participants, who have been shown in previous studies to be more defiant to authority figures than females, and who may perceive an authoritative robot as a threat to their status or autonomy.
A robot’s social behaviours are critical to acceptance, use and trust in this type of distributive technology, by society as a whole. This ground-breaking research provides an understanding of how persuasive robots should be developed and deployed in everyday life, and how they should behave to help different demographics, including our vulnerable populations such as older adults.
The big takeaway for designers of social robots is to position them as collaborative and peer-oriented, rather than dominant and authoritative. The research suggests that robots face additional barriers to successful persuasion than the ones that humans face. If robots are to take on these new roles in society, their designers will have to be mindful of that and find ways to create positive experiences through their behaviour.
U.S. researchers have been developing robots to help humans in various fields, including creating modern robotic white cane for the visually impaired community. As reported by OpenGov Asia, equipped with a colour 3D camera, an inertial measurement sensor, and its own onboard computer, a newly improved robotic cane could offer blind and visually impaired users a new way to navigate indoors.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will roll out the National Digital Health Mission on 27 September. It seeks to bridge the existing gap among different stakeholders in India’s healthcare ecosystem through digital highways.
Under the Mission, citizens will be provided with a unique digital health ID, which will contain all the health records of the person. The National Health Authority (NHA) is the government body tasked to implement the programme based on the guiding principles laid out in the National Digital Health Blueprint.
The Mission was first piloted last year in August across six union territories. As per a news report, the six union territories were Puducherry, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli.
The Prime Minister, during his Independence Day speech last year, had announced that “a new campaign” would begin called the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). The objectives of the Mission are the secure processing of individual data and easy accessibility of digitalised personal and medical records by individuals and health service providers. The recent initiative will give Indian citizens a Health ID card. Every doctor or a pharmacy visit will be logged on the card; from the doctor’s appointment to the medication, everything will be available in the health profile, the Prime Minister stated.
According to the Indian Health Minister, the mission is on track and the three basic platforms, health ID, doctor’s registry called Digi-doctor and the health facility registry have been made operational. The health ID card includes details like Aadhar and mobile numbers.
The Health Minister also released Post-COVID Sequelae Modules, aimed at the capacity-building of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and community healthcare workers across India, to deal with the long-term effects of COVID-19. The modules have been prepared to provide guidance to doctors and healthcare workers to deal with the issue of the long-term effects of COVID-19, the minister noted. He added that the proactive and comprehensive treatment of COVID-19 is required to ensure minimum side effects.
The government has been developing and deploying emerging technologies in the healthcare industry. In May, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras) developed ‘BlockTrack’, a blockchain-based secure medical data and information exchange system for a mobile phone-based application. The application, which is the first of its kind, is currently being field-tested at the institute’s hospital.
BlockTrack aims to securely digitise healthcare information systems while ensuring the protection of sensitive personal information and medical records. It does this by decentralising the control and ownership of patient data, through a blockchain-based innovation. The BlockTrack innovation is now protected through a provisional IP filed with the Indian Patent Office, as OpenGov Asia had reported.
The Android version has been developed separately for patients and doctors. It opens up universal and transferable healthcare information management and emphasises data privacy and tracking the spread of infectious diseases across geographies. It allows the interoperability of systems from multiple hospitals, institutes, and healthcare organisations. The patient can choose to visit any healthcare facility on BlockTrack’s blockchain network without any concerns about duplication of records or re-registrations. This is one of the first implementations of blockchain technology for securing healthcare data management systems. The approach is expected to make an impact in securely digitising and maintaining unique patient records across the country and eventually across the world.
As a first-class comprehensive research university in Asia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is committed to propelling innovation and technology, transforming innovative inventions into industries and benefiting mankind.
To promote the development of an innovation ecosystem on campus, CUHK launched the first CUHK Innovation Day, with the slogan “Innovation, Patents and Beyond”, showcasing the research efforts of the University in recent years, including the new CUHK satellite project, robotics, and other features.
In addition, CUHK has established the InnoPort to provide CUHK members with a platform to showcase scientific inventions and connect industry resources, so as to realise knowledge transfer. On 23 September 2021, CUHK held the Opening Ceremony of the CUHK Innovation Day and the InnoPort.
The Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the HKSAR Government noted that this term of Government is committed to promoting the development of I&T to inject new impetus into the economy, improve people’s quality of life, and creating quality jobs for young people.
It is hoped that the University and academia can embrace the opportunities brought about by the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Greater Bay Area development to help develop Hong Kong into an international I&T hub, he added.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, CUHK said that the University seeks to integrate research, innovation and enterprise into a dynamic and productive continuum, namely, to generate impact based on existing and strategically identified directions of research and innovation, and to capitalise on the opportunities available from both private sectors and the government via Public-Private-Partnership.
The University is poised to leverage the opportunities and resources offered by the Government and the Greater Bay Area, under the ‘National 14th Five-Year Plan’ announced in March that supports Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T hub, the cross-boundary flow of innovative elements, and integration into national development.
In addition to exhibiting 20 innovation studies led by CUHK professors at the InnoPort and Yasumoto International Academic Park, the CUHK Innovation Day also held six thematic sessions and a panel discussion on topics covering satellite and mobile sensing technology and its applications in public health, green energy and advanced material research, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine development, the future demand of technologies in the electrical industry, laser-based gas sensing technology, and strategies to enhance early language development.
To actively promote the development of the innovation ecosystem, the Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services (ORKTS) has been set up to provide comprehensive support, assisting professors in locating suitable resources for their research, offering support for their funding applications and facilitating collaborations with external parties including commercial partners.
ORKTS is also responsible for formulating and implementing research-related strategies to support the development of research led by the University, improving the level of university research, and encouraging teaching staff and students to utilise their research insights and expertise to create different types of societal impact.
From research to innovation to entrepreneurship, a complete innovation ecosystem is formed. ORKTS has implemented a series of incubation initiatives including the Pre-Incubation (PI) Centre, training competitions, and different funding schemes such as the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU), Sustainable Knowledge Transfer Project Fund (S-KPF) to provide students and professors with financial support, and business consultancy support to realise their entrepreneurial endeavours.
Following the CUHK Innovation Day, CUHK will host the CUHK Entrepreneurship Day from 24 to 25 September. It will include the final CUHK Entrepreneurship Competition, a product display area, and more than 100 online booths of CUHK related start-ups, demonstrating the vigorous development of the University’s innovation and entrepreneurship activities.