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Hui Siew Kok, the head of local enterprise BITWave, made his
name in audio engineering and designed products for the govern-
ment defence forces. The same technology, he realized, could be
applied in an increasingly connected and noisy world, where commu-
nication is constant even as external sounds compete for attention.
The company is tapping on the lucrative eldercare market by de-
veloping an audio-based system that can track the movements of the
elderly in their homes, with support from SPRING Singapore.
"Currently, many home monitoring systems employ cameras,
which are intrusive," says Danny Chu, BITWave senior engineer. "But
with this audio monitoring we are able to deploy such devices in
personal spaces in the homes and yet not intrude on privacy."
The system records all sounds through a series of nodes. An
algorithm processes the sounds into digitized signals that can be
characterized within a library of activities such as bathing, sleeping,
watching television---or falling and calling out for help. The character-
ized information would be uploaded to the Internet, where someone
with access through a mobile phone could be updated on the safety
of a family member.
At Nanyang Optical, the glasses designed by Yang Wah Kiang
have been praised for their elegant shape and their engineering.
To learn more about the exciting developments in Singapore, visit:
• Agency for Science, Technology and
• Economic Development Board (EDB)
• JTC Corporation
• Media Development Authority (MDA)
• SPRING Singapore
mance Computing, takes a photo of you. In a flash, a 3D image of
yourself is displayed on his computer.
"Current software may take five or ten minutes to transform a 2D
image into 3D," says Zhang. "Our technique allows this to be done in
His technique is based on the scanned data of real people. This
makes the software robust and dynamic---it becomes more accurate
as it is fed with more data.
Zhang reckons that the applications for his software are wide-
ranging, such as for character modelling in gaming and movies, and
even for facial surgery planning.
Over at I2R, researchers are working on a program to detect po-
tential terrorist events in subways, in collaboration with government
agencies. Says team leader Karianto Leman, "You want intelligence
to automatically pick up potential trouble such as somebody leaving
a bag behind, or people collapsing from gas attacks."
Similar systems exist, but they use stationary cameras on a rigid
platform. A moving subway train presents challenges, such as
constantly-changing scenery that is visible from the train's windows
and drastic transitions between above and underground.
His team relies on gradients or silhouettes to extract humans and
objects, instead of color. Comparisons are made between normal and
potential terrorist scenarios, and alarms triggered. The team expects
the technology to be rolled out by the end of 2008.
The world's first eco-frames made from almost 100% recycled material.
I2R researchers are working on a program to detect terrorist events in subways.
All versions of this high-end eyewear contain patented screwless
systems that attach the frame front to the temple piece.
Nanyang Optical received assistance from SPRING Singapore,
and in collaboration with A*STAR to develop the first ever eco-frame,
made from nearly 100 percent recycled materials, marketed as
LinkSkin. One challenge the company overcame was converting
industrial plastic waste into flat plastic sheets for eyewear frames.
"Our R&D team spends a lot of time on these product develop-
ments," says company founder Yang. "It's a passion and the determi-
nation to do something different and compete internationally in the
The product was successfully launched at a premier Milan optical
show in May 2008. Nanyang Optical has since secured a partner in
France, and orders have been received from major European market
players such as Lamy (France), and MyVision (Italy).
Zhang Yu, a researcher with A*STAR Institute of High Perfor-
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