SINGAPORE: A S$45 million joint laboratory to develop smart technologies that will enhance lives, enable better learning and improve manufacturing processes was unveiled on Thursday (Jun 16).
The Delta-NTU Corporate Laboratory for Cyber-Physical Systems - set up by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Delta Electronics - will come up with innovations in four key research areas: Smart manufacturing, smart learning, smart living and smart commercialisation.
Working with scientists from Delta Research Centre and NTU, it will develop cyber-physical systems ranging from large infrastructure systems such as water and power distribution to emerging consumer systems.
Cyber-physical systems refer to how electronic devices such as mobile phones, temperature and humidity sensors are connected through networks to control physical systems like air-conditioning and lighting.
With the local manufacturing sector taking a hit from gloomy economic conditions, iti s hoped Singapore companies can benefit from using better technology to improve efficiency.
"We would like to not only connect the products and materials to the stations in the production line, and between production lines or factories, but also facilitate a free-flow of transparent information, for the customers or the enterprise to monitor and to control the factories in an intelligent way," said Dr Tian Wei Cheng, co-director of the laboratory.
TAKING THE LEAD
NTU president Bertil Andersson said the areas mentioned are where Singapore could take a lead in.
"For example, the ageing society is going to be very dependent on these kind of technologies. There's a lot of technology we have to implement in homes, in order for old people to stay at home and live a high-quality life," Professor Bertil said.
This also reflects Singapore's approach to research, which is increasingly aimed at impactful, real-world applications, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Tharman said Singapore is not promoting corporate innovation on its own, but integrating "strategies for innovation with a number of other strategies which ultimately lead to the same outcome ... a highly efficient, highly productive, highly skilled, highly innovative economy".
He added: “For each industry, for each firm, we want to integrate our strategies. So it means for instance, integrating our strategies for innovation, which is about breakthroughs at the frontier, with our strategies to uplift productivity well within the frontier, or for firms that are not yet at the frontier.
“It also means integrating with our strategy, under SkillsFuture, which is to develop in employees the ability to master skills in each industry, to really be master craftsmen and masters of skills, whatever the field.”
At its full capacity, the laboratory will have more than 80 researchers and staff, including NTU PhD students. The laboratory, which will be located in the NTU campus, is also supported by the National Research Foundation. It is Delta's third lab in Singapore, and NTU's fourth corporate lab.