A robot by NTU Singapore autonomously assembles an IKEA chair
 
May 21, 2018
Category:

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a robot that can autonomously assemble an IKEA chair without interruption.

Designed by Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong and his team from NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the robot comprises a 3D camera and two robotic arms equipped with grippers to pick up objects. The team coded algorithms using three different open-source libraries to help the robot complete its job of putting together the IKEA chair.

It assembled IKEA’s Stefan chair in 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Prior to the assembly, the robot took 11 minutes and 21 seconds to independently plan the motion pathways and 3 seconds to locate the parts.

The results are published in the journal Science Robotics today (18 April).

Asst Prof Pham said, “For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks. The job of assembly, which may come naturally to humans, has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other. Through considerable engineering effort, we developed algorithms that will enable the robot to take the necessary steps to assemble the chair on its own.

“We are looking to integrate more artificial intelligence into this approach to make the robot more autonomous so it can learn the different steps of assembling a chair through human demonstration or by reading the instruction manual, or even from an image of the assembled product.”

The NTU team of Asst Prof Pham, research fellow Dr Francisco Suárez-Ruiz and alumnus Mr Zhou Xian believe that their robot could be of greatest value in performing specific tasks with precision in industries where tasks are varied and do not merit specialised machines or assembly lines.

How it works

The robot is designed to mimic the genericity of the human “hardware” used to assemble objects: the ‘eyes’ through a 3D camera and the ‘arms’ through industrial robotic arms that are capable of six-axis motion. Each arm is equipped with parallel grippers to pick up objects. Mounted on the wrists are force sensors that determine how strongly the “fingers” are gripping and how powerfully they push objects into contact with each other.

The robot starts the assembly process by taking 3D photos of the parts laid out on the floor to generate a map of the estimated positions of the different parts. This is to replicate, as much as possible, the cluttered environment after humans unbox and prepare to put together a build-it-yourself chair. The challenge here is to determine a sufficiently precise localisation in a cluttered environment quickly and reliably.

Next, using algorithms developed by the team, the robot plans a two-handed motion that is fast and collision-free. This motion pathway needs to be integrated with visual and tactile perception, grasping and execution.

To make sure that the robotic arms are able to grip the pieces tightly and perform tasks such as inserting wooden plugs, the amount of force exerted has to be regulated. This is challenging because industrial robots, designed to be precise at positioning, are bad at regulating forces, Asst Prof Pham explained.

The force sensors mounted on the wrists help to determine the amount of force required, allowing the robot to precisely and consistently detect holes by sliding the wooden plug on the surfaces of the work pieces, and perform tight insertions.

An example of successful autonomous dexterous manipulation

The robot developed by the NTU Singapore scientists is being used to explore dexterous manipulation, an area of robotics that requires precise control of forces and motions with fingers or specialised robotic hands. As a result, the robot is more human-like in its manipulation of objects.

So far, autonomous demonstration of dexterous manipulation has been limited to elementary tasks, said Asst Prof Pham.

“One reason could be that complex manipulation tasks in human environments require many different skills. This includes being able to map the exact locations of the items, plan a collision-free motion path, and control the amount of force required. On top of these skills, you have to be able to manage their complex interactions between the robot and the environment,” he explained.

“The way we have built our robot, from the parallel grippers to the force sensors on the wrists, all work towards manipulating objects in a way humans would,” he added.

Now that the team has achieved its goal of demonstrating the assembly of an IKEA chair, they are working with companies to apply this form of robotic manipulation to a range of industries.

The team is now working to deploy the robot to do glass bonding that could be useful in the automotive industry, and drilling holes in metal components for the aircraft manufacturing industry. Cost is not expected to be an issue as all the components in the robotic setup can be bought off the shelf.

The research which took three years was supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, NTU’s innovation and enterprise arm NTUitive, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology.

***END***

Media contact:

Foo Jie Ying
Senior Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6681
Email: jieying@ntu.edu.sg

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has also been placed the world’s top young university for the last four years running. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark awards (equivalent to LEED-certified), of which 54 are Green Mark Platinum. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg

 
 
Hari Raya Light Up 2018 in Singapore Celebrates the Kampung Spirit with Light Displays Bearing Malay Cultural Icons
 
JCN Newswire
May 17, 2018
Category:

SINGAPORE, May 17, 2018 - (ACN Newswire) - Hari Raya Light Up 2018 returned to Geylang Serai on 12 May and will run until 30 June 2018, bringing with it a visual feast of more than 50 light installations.

Themed "Celebrating our kampung spirit", the annual event once again brightened the streets of Singapore's largest Malay enclave with displays inspired by Malay art and cultural icons. The crowd-pleasing shopping bazaar also returned this year with about 800 stalls serving up a plethora of traditional Malay fare, outfits and ornaments.

Mr Eric Wong (JP, BBM(L)), Chairman of the Hari Raya Light Up 2018 Organising Committee expressed keen anticipation. He said, "We look forward to celebrating the old kampung spirit in this year's festive light-up. Each year without fail, Geylang Serai comes alive with creative light displays in the lead-up to Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa. This is something the local community eagerly awaits, but the Hari Raya Light Up also invites our international friends to experience and be immersed in the Malay culture of Singapore. We hope this year's event will give them a taste of the traditional kampung spirit that resonates with our cultural roots."

"Hari Raya is one of Singapore's major festivals. Aside from honouring Malay culture and heritage, the Hari Raya Light Up festivities are a reflection of our multi-racial community and bring vibrancy to the Geylang Serai precinct. We are delighted to continue supporting this event as a rich cultural experience for both local and global visitors alike to enjoy," said Mr Kenneth Lim, Director, Cultural Precincts Development, Singapore Tourism Board.

Gorgeous displays to cast light on Malay cultural icons

Over the fifty days, visitors can expect to see Malay cultural icons captured in lights along Sims Avenue, Geylang Road and Changi Road. Two main arches welcome visitors with brilliant traditional Malay heritage icons along Sims Avenue and Changi Road, while a circular arch stands tall at the corner of Engku Aman Road and Sims Avenue.

The first main arch features a traditional kampung house and sampan, motifs inspired by the concepts of community and homecoming. The kampung house signifies the gathering of a family or community living closely together, while the sampan is symbolic of the many abroad travelling home to be with loved ones during the fasting month.

The second main arch features a mosque, while the third circular arch presents a stunning 3D centerpiece also depicting a mosque - representative of the place of worship where Muslims may congregate for their tarawih prayers during Ramadan.

Additional arches along the way bear conventional Islamic symbols like the crescent and star, along with words of blessings often exchanged by Muslims during the holy month.

Open plaza at the new Wisma Geylang Serai venue for Hari Raya Light Up launch

In conjunction with the festivities, the open plaza at Wisma Geylang Serai was the venue for the official launch of Hari Raya Light Up. The brand-new Malay-Muslim social and cultural heritage hub also features a larger-than-life backdrop crafted in the iconic shape of a 'kompang', the traditional Malay musical instrument.

Crowd-pleasing bazaar to happen 12 May to 14 June 2018

Fans can expect Geylang Serai to be bustling with bazaar stalls from 12 May to 14 June 2018. Spanning the areas around Geylang Serai market, Joo Chiat Complex and the former Malay Village, as well as along Geylang Road, stalls offer delectable dishes including Ramly burger, kebab and vadai. Malay visitors will also be delighted to find a rich offering of traditional costumes and accessories at the bazaar in time for upcoming Hari Raya Puasa celebrations.

Breaking fast together in kampung community

Another aspect of Hari Raya Light Up is the various iftar sessions to be held at Wisma Geylang Serai, where residents and other members of the constituency will gather to break fast at sunset. These events seek to foster a shared sense of affinity and belonging within the community.

Cultural Heritage Race to acquaint participants with Malay culture

Other highlights include an invigorating Cultural Heritage Race that will take place on 20 May 2018 to bring adjacent communities closer together. In teams of three that must include a non-Malay Singaporean and a new Singapore Citizen, as well as a Singapore Permanent Resident or Employment Pass holder, competitors will race within the boundaries of the bazaar and Geylang Serai Heritage Trail to discover nuggets of cultural information about Hari Raya and the Malay community in Singapore. In the spirit of celebration, male and female participants must also don songkoks and selendangs (male and female Muslim accessories) respectively during the race.

For more information about Hari Raya Light Up, please visit -https://www.facebook.com/HariRayaLightUpSingapore/.

For further media enquiries, please contact:
Nur Atiqah M. Hatta, Ninemer PR, atiqah@ninemer.com
Charlene Ho, Ninemer PR, charleneho@ninemer.com

 
 
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Content Marketing Summit Asia 2018 gets ready for second ASEAN edition on 15 August in Singapore
 
May 12, 2018
Category:

Content Marketing Summit Asia, the largest conference on the subject in the region, which made its South East Asia entry last year, is now scheduled for it’s 2nd ASEAN edition on August 15, 2018 at Singapore. CMS Asia has been running successfully for the last five years out of Singapore, New Delhi & Mumbai where global speakers & delegates have participated in growing content marketing ecosystem in the region. Over 3,000 delegates & 200 global speakers in past editions have made the conference a huge success.

In the upcoming ASEAN edition, over 30 C-Suite global experts & practitioners are expected to share their learning & experience with over 400 delegates. CMS Asia has been popular for being a platform with maximum participation from speakers from the brand & marketing side, a tradition that is expected to continue for the upcoming edition also. Global platforms like LinkedIn, Salesforce, Taboola, Outbrain, Yahoo, Unruly, A+E Networks among others have partnered with the summit in past editions.

According to RP Singh, Producer & Chairperson – CMS Asia, "We are overwhelmed with the response that we received last year with our launch in this region. We are all set to make this stage even bigger as we prepare for our overall 7th edition in August this year."
The conference also plans to host ASEAN edition of Content Marketing Awards this year where winners will be felicitated in 20 Content Marketing categories from across the South East Asia region. A content exhibition is also being planned to allow content marketing service providers & platforms to showcase their products and services.

The format of the conference will be a mix of Keynote Addresses from top experts, Panel Discussions, Content Marketing Masterclasses & Workshops. There will be a balance of focus on both B2C as well as B2B Content Marketing allowing more and more marketers to participate and gain from it. Historically, CMS Asia, since its inception four years back, is known as a neutral platform, which is completely knowledge-and-sharing-oriented with a packed agenda and a strong focus on individual learning.

-END-

Media Contact
-------------------
Aditi
aditi@contentmarketingsummit.org
94485263
All Things Digital

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Office Etiquette – Don’t Be The Office Pain!
 
JMAMONI Lifestyle & Etiquette Institute Pte. Ltd.
May 11, 2018
Category:

While working in an office, it is essential that you follow the Basic Office Etiquette. It is important for employees to maintain a professional atmosphere at the office, after all, this does not only help in making the company/brand look more professional, something that always attracts clients, but may also cost or help your career. It’s your choice! The more professional the environment the more respectable the company will look. Hire professionals and they’ll dress and behave professionally!

Here are some of the basic office etiquette that everyone needs to be aware of!

Firstly, take care of your attire, remember it is Dress for Success!

While going to your workplace, you need to look your best. After all, it’s about displaying professionalism in everything you do and business is not a casual affair. You need to understand that office attire is completely different from what you might wear at home or while you hangout with your friends. Although some companies may not “force” their employees to follow a particular dress code, however, it is common knowledge that you dress to portray a professional look. If you don’t only want to rely on your mirror and may need a GPS to steer you in a fashionable direction, my Style Workshop can help you to get on the right track to dress for success!

Remember to make a lasting impression and you’ll gain trust!

Try not to goof around. You need to look as professional as you can. Don’t be loud, keep your head in your work, you don’t want to cause inconvenience for your co-workers (civility in the workplace). Make sure to meet and greet everyone you are introduced to and try to remember their names. Also, make sure that you are always polite and courteous. Just use the general phrases that we are all familiar with such as ‘excuse me’ when you want to grab someone’s attention or when you sneeze. Saying ‘please’ when asking for a favor and ‘sorry’ when you need to show that you didn’t mean for something to happen just makes others feel comfortable and respected. Thank the person when they help you out.

Try not to borrow people’s things, even if it’s just a stapler, without their permission. Make sure you don’t interrupt people when they’re talking, whether it is during a meeting or a casual conversation. Also, you need to understand that you must respect others privacy. You should not walk into their cubicle without knocking. Remember, the more courteous you are the more people will like you and the more trust you can build.

Be organized and well groomed!

Another thing that you must take care of is cleanliness. Make sure your desk or your cubicle is not messed up. This will not only show how professional you are but will make it easier to keep things organized.

Remember to wash your personal tea cup after you’re done with it and not just leave it in the pantry or on your desk. Remember to keep yourself groomed because the better you look the better you’ll feel and you’ll project a positive “well-put” image.

Never be late, after all being late is not only unprofessional but also show how disrespectful you are and your credibility is at display. Lastly, do not do things that portray you feel bored or sleepy so watch out for your body language. We are constantly communicating without being verbal. Keep your head up high, don’t yawn or rest your head on the desk. Show your boss you are engaged in your work and the rest comes from alone referring your career ladder (Business Etiquette).

 
 
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Company JMAMONI Lifestyle & Etiquette Institute Pte. Ltd.
Contact Juliana Mamoni
Telephone +65 833 279 23
E-mail info@jmamoni.com
Website http://www.jmamoni.com/
Travelio, Indonesia’s largest accommodation sharing platform, closes $4M Series A round
 
May 08, 2018
Category:

Jakarta, Indonesia – May 8, 2018: Travelio, Indonesia’s largest accommodation-sharing platform, today announced the completion of its Series A financing of $4M.

Founded in 2015 by Hendry Rusli, Christina Suriadjaja and Christie Tjong, Travelio has emerged as the leader in Indonesia’s accommodation sharing market. With over 4,000 listings on its platform, Travelio
helps property owners and developers to lease and professionally manage their vacant properties throughout Indonesia.

New investors in this oversubscribed round of financing include Vynn Capital, as the lead investor, founded by former Vice President of Gobi Partners - Victor Chua, Insignia Ventures Partners founded by former Sequoia Capital Venture Partner - Yinglan Tan, Silicon Valley based Fenox Venture Capital and Indonesian home-grown IndoGen Capital and Stellar Kapital.

“We share the same vision and value Travelio offers to property owners and developers. We will support the team through their journey given our core strength in the travel and property sectors. The team’s understanding of the emerging trends of the travel and hospitality industry has allowed the company to grow and gain support from existing players. At this stage, we also welcome any property players looking to utilize innovation as a main driver for growth through potential collaborations with us.” highlights Victor Chua, Managing Partner of Vynn Capital.

“Travelio solves the vacancy issues faced by property developers while providing affordable accommodation to its customers. The team has shown its ability to execute both operationally as well as technologically and we believe that its innovative business model will emerge as the winner in the accommodation-sharing landscape in Indonesia. Furthermore, the team has a deep understanding of the needs of domestic Indonesian travellers and has constantly tailored its offering to provide the highest level of service to its customers.” said Yinglan Tan, Founding Managing Partner of Insignia
Ventures Partners.

“Like many other companies that have partnered with Travelio, not only do we appreciate their hospitality offerings, but also more importantly, their innovative tech that allows idle properties to be utilised and generate cash flow. They are improving the occupancy of current developments, which now stands at a rate of 50%. This allows developers to be more comfortable with future ones, as it may act as a safety net and added value, particularly for our network of retail investors.” said Hendro Gondokusumo, CEO of PT Intiland Development Tbk and Deputy Chairman of Property Division of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) of the Republic of Indonesia.

PT Intiland Development Tbk is one of many property owners that have utilised Travelio’s services. Travelio’s team is excited to see the strong global and local investor interest. They believe it is a testimony to the attractiveness of Indonesia’s hospitality industry and accommodation sharing market, their leadership position, and the quality of the team behind their phenomenal growth. Travelio has expressed to continue to partner with communities, authorities, associations, and property developers to expand their portfolio and product offerings.

With the new set of investors, Travelio’s near term priorities are growth acceleration, talent acquisition, product innovation, and new verticals. Travelio developed Indonesia’s first VR camera based instant monthly booking platform, that brings all the offline tenant experiences transparently online. This has simplified the process of renting a property, such as viewing, appointment management, negotiations, paperwork and payments.

The founding team is strongly inspired by the Indonesian government’s push towards growing the tourism industry through sharing-economy initiatives, such as the development of 100,000 homestays by 2020. The tourism ministry has since developed 20,000 homestays to date. Travelio will on-board this new set of inventories onto its platform and market it to its consumers. Additionally, the company plans to empower and educate local communities by relinquishing their knowledge and expertise to create a quality network of hosts. The company aspires to be a cornerstone of Indonesia’s tourism industry and will continue to improve guest experiences in the individually curated and professionally managed homes all over the country.

Travelio previously raised a pre-series A investment of $2M from Gobi Partners, PT Surya Semesta Internusa Tbk and senior executives of Kuok Group.

For media inquiries please contact:
marketing@travelio.com

About Travelio
Travelio is a hospitality brand under PT Horizon Internusa Persada, an Indonesian based company that actively leases and manages the vacant and investment homes of property owners and developers throughout the region. The accommodation-sharing platform currently has more than 4,000 local inventories. Their headquarters is based in Jakarta, Indonesia which host a team of more than 80 employees.

Background of contributors:

About Vynn Capital
Vynn Capital is an early stage venture capital firm that focuses on opportunities in Southeast Asia. The team has experience investing across Asia, with notable past investments in companies such as Triip.me, Carsome, Hermo and others. The firm focuses on bridging the knowledge and experience gap between incumbent industry players and startups, within industries such as Travel, Property, Food & FMCG, Female Economics, Logistics & Enablers. Vynn Capital encourages strong partnerships of corporations and families with technology companies, as well as synergy between companies in creating more value for the ecosystem.

About Insignia Ventures Partners
Insignia Ventures Partners is a venture capital firm founded by former Sequoia Capital Venture Partner, Yinglan Tan. The firm focuses on investments in Southeast Asia with the goal to capture the growing and transformational market across the region. The investment team consists of seasoned founders and investors that provides a strong network to talent, unique market access and other essential resources for growth and expansion.

About PT Intiland Development Tbk
PT Intiland Development Tbk is a leading Indonesian property developer with 40 years of heritage. Listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange since 1991, Intiland is known to be a trend-setter and innovator in the Indonesian property industry. Over the years, Intiland has developed some of the nation’s most iconic buildings such as its two flagship office towers in Jakarta and Surabaya designed by the late Paul Rudolph, and The Regatta, a seafront luxury condominium in Pluit, North Jakarta, designed by Tom Wright (of Burj Al Arab fame). Intiland’s main township development in Surabaya, Graha Famili, has become one of the city's most prestigious addresses. Today, Intiland's diversified real estate portfolio includes residential townships, office towers, high-rise apartments, hospitality, industrial estates as well as sports and golf club management.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution http://www.AsiaToday.com

 
 
Singapore International Chamber of Commerce and vCargo Cloud Launch World's First Blockchain-Based e-Certificate of Origin
 
JCN Newswire
May 08, 2018
Category:

SINGAPORE - (ACN Newswire) - The world's first blockchain-based platform for electronic certificates of origin ("eCOs") was unveiled in Singapore today to industry leaders by the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce ("SICC" or the "Chamber") and Singapore-based cross-border trade facilitation solutions provider vCargo Cloud Pte. Ltd. ("VCC").

As the first chamber in the world to implement blockchain-based eCOs, SICC seeks to provide its members, trade-related agencies and users of complementary services such as trade financing and insurance with a trade facilitation system that offers higher security, efficiency and flexibility. The launch will see an initial group of users moving to the new system, with the remaining users transiting in subsequent phases.

The solution was developed by VCC, SICC's technology partner and a 50.01%-owned subsidiary of SGX-listed DeClout Limited. The platform will vastly improve transparency, security and efficiency in authenticating trade documents. It permits instant verification of eCOs and runs on a private blockchain network that prevents fraud, alterations and third-party interference.

SICC and VCC unveiled the platform at a ceremony officiated by Guest-of-Honour Mr Chua Taik Him, Senior Advisor of Enterprise Singapore, which was attended by over 100 senior officials from trade-related agencies and industry leaders.

The platform represents a quantum leap in processing trade-related documents by hosting information of trade transactions on a tamper-proof distributed ledger system, which can be authenticated and accessed by various stakeholders of the platform.

A certificate of origin ("CO") is an international trade document which certifies that the goods in a specific shipment have been wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in the stated country.

VCC's platform utilises QR codes, allowing eCOs to be scanned using smart phones and then printed. The number of allowable prints is restricted to prevent unauthorised duplicates. This improves efficiency and minimises the costs of verifying COs, removing a major impediment in the process and a frequent cause of high insurance or trade finance costs.

VCC intends to leverage on the Singapore launch to promote the platform globally, beginning with Asian countries that are substantive manufacturing exporters such as Japan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, using the pay-per-use model.

The launch of the blockchain-based eCO platform comes amidst the Singapore Government's call for a Self-Certification regime through the ASEAN Single Window, which aims to expedite freight clearance and reduce manual paperwork across all 10 member countries. This new solution will also strengthen Singapore's position as a global innovation hub and reinforces the city-state's strong commitment to driving the digitalisation of trade to improve productivity.

Mr Victor Mills, Chief Executive of SICC, said: "SICC is honoured and fortunate to have the opportunity to work with VCC on the launch of its platform. My team has provided input for the design of a 21st century system which will benefit customers, the Chamber and all authorised operators alike. This new eCO system revolutionises what are today still essentially 19th century processes, providing greater security for all users as well as a clear, unambiguous audit trail through the use of blockchain technology. I would like to congratulate VCC on its launch."

Mr Desmond Tay, Chief Executive Officer of VCC, commented: "The launch of our smart eCO solution will make VCC the first in the trade and logistics industry to introduce the capability to make our eCOs immutable. This blockchain capability will be incorporated into other components within our CamelONE cross-border digital platform, making our platform even more secure and robust. As an industry leader with established partnerships and an extensive regional presence, VCC will strive to deliver continual improvements and innovations in our solutions to meet the rising global demand for the digitalisation of trade and logistics processes."

About Singapore International Chamber of Commerce

SICC was founded in Singapore in 1837 making it the city-state's longest serving voice of the private sector. More importantly, SICC today is Singapore's most inclusive Chamber and its best platform for business networking in the full sense of the word. The SICC engagement platform cuts across all potential silos of ethnicity, nationality and business sector. The Chamber represents over 600 companies, 40 nationalities and 20 business sectors. Membership is equally split between local and foreign multi-nationals and large organizations and medium, small and start-up companies. SICC's diverse members are a truly representative slice of the Singapore business community. An independent advocate for business, SICC shares its members' recommendations on government policy with policymakers and politicians. The Chamber focuses its activities on 4 main pillars: human capital, collaborative innovation, championing the circular economy and certification services. For more information, please visit -www.sicc.com.sg

About vCargo Cloud (VCC)

Headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Kenya and China, VCC is one of DeClout's portfolio companies under the Vertical Domain Clouds ("VDC") segment. VCC is a leading e-trade and e-logistics platform provider that offers e-trade and e-freight solutions through its CamelONE platform to governments and companies worldwide.

Backed by a team of experienced IT and logistics professionals, VCC revolutionizes the e-logistics marketplace by allowing businesses in the trade, supply chain and logistics industries to converge, exchange data, communicate and collaborate virtually on its cloud platform.

VCC's key strategic partners include CAAS, IATA, IE Singapore, IMDA, Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, SPRING Singapore and various trade associations. For more information, please visit -www.vcargocloud.com

For media enquiries, please contact:
Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
Sharon Lim
Director, Membership Engagement
T: +65 6500 0960
E: sharon@sicc.com.sg

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution http://www.AsiaToday.com

vCargo Cloud Pte. Ltd.
Priscilla Yew
Senior Marketing Executive
T: +65 6779 6218
E: priscilla.yew@vcargocloud.com

 
 
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​Noise cancelling device by NTU scientists halves noise pollution through open windows
 
May 05, 2018
Category:

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) researchers have developed a device that can reduce noise pollution entering buildings even while windows are wide open.

Designed to be mounted onto window grilles, the device could reduce up to 50 per cent of noise coming from nearby environments such as busy roads, train tracks or from construction activities.

The device uses ‘active noise control’ technology – found in many high-end headphones that cancels external noise – that is adapted to work in a large open area.

The benefits are two-fold: windows can be left open for fresh air without disturbance from external noise pollution and reducing the need for air-conditioning to keep the interiors of buildings and homes cool.

Professor Gan Woon Seng, Director for NTU’s Centre for Infocomm Technology (INFINITUS), who led the research said, “Compared to noise cancellation headphones, what we have achieved is far more technically challenging as we needed to control the noise in a large open area, instead of just around the ear.

This noise cancellation technology is an example of research innovations that NTU is encouraging under its Smart Campus initiative, which aims to improve quality of life for society through the development of new sustainable and technological solutions and by trialling them on its campus first.

Using sound to remove noise

Currently at the prototype stage, the device uses 8 watts of power, similar to a small portable Bluetooth speaker. Several units are placed together to form a grid-like array on a window grille to reduce external noise.

The device uses a special sound emitting mechanism which works like a speaker and is hooked up to a processing unit. Equipped with a microphone, it can detect noise even before it reaches the window and computes the attributes of the incoming noise in real-time.

It quickly emits a countering sound or “anti-noise” that has the same waveform characteristics of the invading noise but with one difference: it is inverted or “flipped”.

When both outside noise and anti-noise converge, they cancel each other out, resulting in a softer ambient sound entering living spaces.

“Our innovation not only computes the right amount and type of “anti-noise” to emit, but also does it faster than the detected noise can reach inside the building,” explained Prof Gan, who teaches at NTU’s School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

The research team conducted the tests using a soundproof chamber at the university’s labs that houses a mock room with windows and doors, resembling a typical room in a home. Various recorded sounds from construction sites, jet engines and trains were used as noise sources during the tests.

They are now developing the technology further by improving its noise cancellation efficiency, making them smaller, and more cost-effective to produce.

Prof Gan said, “We are currently finding ways to improve the technology further so that it can be used not only at window grilles with large openings, but also provide a cost-effective solution that can be easily installed and replaced. Ultimately, we aim to integrate this technology into window grilles that can help mitigate urban noise pollution conveniently.”

The researchers are also working with government agencies in Singapore to further improve the technology to make it viable for commercial and residential applications.

The project was jointly developed with the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and Tottori University in Japan.

It is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of National Development and the National Research Foundation in the Prime Minister’s Office, under the ‘Land and Liveability National Innovation Challenge’ (L2 NIC) Research Programme.

The initiative seeks to leverage R&D to develop innovative technological solutions to increase Singapore's land capacity for its long-term development needs and provide tech-based options for future generations.

***END***

Media contact:

Nur Amin Shah (Mr)
Assistant Manager (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Email: aminshah(a.t.)ntu.edu.sg

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has also been placed the world’s top young university for the last four years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark awards (equivalent to LEED-certified), of which 54 are Green Mark Platinum. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg

 
 
Not afraid of no mosquito
 
May 04, 2018
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While most of us are trying our hardest to avoid the dreaded mosquito, Associate Professor Lok Shee Mei from the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School runs right towards them.

The dengue virus expert’s interest lies in studying the structural changes the virus particles undergo when infecting cells to aid in the design and delivery of targeted vaccines and therapeutics.

“I have enjoyed science for as long as I can remember. I was always in awe when people made breaking discoveries or pioneered exciting technologies,” said Assoc Prof Lok, who holds a joint appointment at NUS Biological Sciences.

However, its applications in the real world were not always as apparent to her from reading textbooks as a young girl. Hence, she made the decision to sign up for a biotechnology course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic after graduating from secondary school.

This proved to be the right step. It was not long before Assoc Prof Lok discovered the social benefits her research could provide — the dengue virus infects approximately 100 million people each year and with increased travel and climate change, there is an urgent need to develop safe and effective therapeutics and vaccines — and if her curiosity for science, particularly small flying insects, had been ignited earlier, now it burned brightly.

Her dedication to her work could not have been more evident than when she made the difficult decision to pursue her postdoctoral training at Purdue University in US, while her husband and young daughter remained in Singapore.

“I was torn between pursuing my research interest in the US and staying with my family in Singapore. It was a very difficult decision but I knew that this postdoctoral training opportunity in a very well-known laboratory would enhance my skills and help in my future career. I decided to take the plunge. I missed my family every day; it was the driving force for me to complete my training and to learn as much as possible in the shortest possible time,” shared Assoc Prof Lok, who also holds a PhD in X-ray crystallography from NUS.

She returned to Singapore in 2009, eager to start work on the next breakthrough, all while juggling the demands of raising a young family of her own.

I have enjoyed science for as long as I can remember. I was always in awe when people made breaking discoveries or pioneered exciting technologies.

In 2015, Assoc Prof Lok read about the Zika virus — a similar but more stable mosquito-borne virus — and its connections to microcephaly and thought she could contribute to understanding and tackling the disease. Importing the virus from the US and examining it under cryo-electron microscopy, her team raced against the clock to identify sites on the particle that provide the stability of the Zika virus. Disrupting these sites through the use of antibodies or drugs can help to weaken the virus and limit its spread.

The hard work paid off. The team made history as one of the first in the world to image the Zika virus, their findings published in the prestigious international journal Nature in April 2016, barely four months after receiving the virus samples.

Assoc Prof Lok hopes to investigate other important pathogens such as the chikungunya and hepatitis C viruses in the future.

Touted as “one of the most outstanding scientists in Singapore”, Assoc Prof Lok has been fascinated with science for as long as she can remember

Though the self-professed science geek initially faced some resistance breaking into the field, it was not long before the international scientific community sat up and took notice. In 2013, she was presented with the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Alumni Award for making a difference in science and technology. By 2016, she was featured as one of Asian Scientist’s “7 Scientists from Singapore to watch” and “one of the most outstanding scientists in Singapore” by the National Research Foundation. Today her laboratory is recognised as one of the leaders in the field of emerging infectious diseases.

The accolades motivate Assoc Prof Lok and her team to push themselves further. However, when asked what really makes her proud, she humbly answers that it is when her students are excited about their work and start teaching her things instead.

“The beauty of doing research is that each day is different and can unearth many surprises!” she enthused.

When she is not figuring out what makes insects tick, Assoc Prof Lok spends her hours reading, hiking with friends and family and whipping up a storm in the kitchen.

Optimistic about the changing nature of women in science, Assoc Prof Lok thinks that more women are steadily joining Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields but that it may take some time for them to reach the pinnacle of the hierarchy. “I believe in future there will be more women at the top. We just need to keep our eyes on the target,” she said confidently.

This is the second of a new five-part series by NUS News profiling some of the University’s prominent females making waves in STEM.

SOURCE / National University of Singapore

 
 
Finalists for Singapore Tourism Awards 2018 unveiled
 
May 01, 2018
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Singapore, 27 April 2018 –The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is pleased to announce today the 86 finalists for the Experience Excellence, Enterprise Excellence and Customer Service categories of the 2018 Singapore Tourism Awards, Singapore's most prestigious awards for the tourism sector.

Come 8 May 2018, the tourism industry will celebrate the stars behind some of Singapore's best tourism experiences, and recognise those who have demonstrated excellence and raised the bar in their areas of expertise at the awards ceremony at Fairmont Hotel. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement and Recognition awards will also be unveiled at the event, which will be graced by President Halimah Yacob.

Mr Oliver Chong, Executive Director, Communications & Marketing Capability, STB said, "The Singapore Tourism Awards is an integral part of STB's efforts to profile the vibrant tourism industry and raise its competitiveness by inspiring organisations and individuals to create compelling experiences or adopt best practices. We are heartened by the strong participation once again in the Singapore Tourism Awards this year. It is particularly encouraging to see the industry and public nominating new players with interesting experiences, which we see as a sign of increasing vibrancy in the tourism sector."

Amongst the finalists are newcomers such as dining establishment Grignoter by Chef Justin Quek and venue provider, Huone Events Hotel, as well as repeated finalists like tour operator, Wok 'n' Stroll Pte Ltd for their "Next Generation Hawker Tour" and the National Gallery Singapore for their "Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow" exhibition.

All finalists were assessed by a panel of prominent and well-established Singapore and overseas judges through rounds of mystery audits and panel interviews.

Please refer to Annex A​​​ and Annex B​ for the finalists and judges respectively.

End

About the Singapore Tourism Awards

Organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Singapore Tourism Awards brings together Singapore's tourism sector to celebrate individuals and organisations that best deliver exceptional experiences and achieve enterprise excellence. The Awards is an integral part of STB's efforts to raise the Singapore tourism sector's competitiveness by motivating organisations and individuals to create compelling experiences or adopt best practices. For more information, visit www.singaporetourismawards.com.

​About the Singapore Tourism Board

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the lead development agency for tourism, one of Singapore's key economic sectors. Together with industry partners and the community, we shape a dynamic Singapore tourism landscape. We bring the Passion Made Possible brand to life by differentiating Singapore as a vibrant destination that inspires people to share and deepen their passions. For more information, visit www.stb.gov.sg or www.visitsingapore.com or follow us on Twitter @STB_sg (https://twitter.com/stb_sg).

 
 
Commercial and Collaborative Robot Shipments in E-Commerce Fulfillment to Increase Twenty-Fold by 2026
 
Apr 26, 2018
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SINGAPORE, April 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Robots will start to populate e-commerce warehouses at a high rate. ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, estimates that shipments of global commercial and collaborative robots in e-commerce fulfillment will reach 443,000 units in 2026, twenty-fold of current shipments in 2018. This includes squat mobile platforms in goods-to-person systems, autonomous mobile robots with manipulators, last mile delivery robots, and collaborative robots.

Two major types of customers in e-commerce fulfillment are the major-e-retailers and third-party logistics service providers who engage in the contract logistics business. Currently, warehousing, order processing, and last mile delivery are all extremely labor intensive. As both sectors are facing similar challenges in terms of a tightening in the labor market, the need to provide service differentiation and fight increasing operation costs, companies look toward commercial and collaborative robots to augment the efficiency of their warehouse employees.

"The growth of global commercial and collaborative robots also coincides with the robust development of e-commerce in China," said Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. "Chinese e-commercial fulfillment robot suppliers, such as Geek+ and Flashhold, are being deployed by major e-retailers, such as Alibaba, JD.com, and Suning." Albeit growing at a slower rate in 2017, Chinese e-retailers have been enjoying double-digit year-on-year growth since 2014. Alibaba has also entered into Southeast Asia markets, bringing Flashhold solutions to overseas warehouses.

At the same time, other companies have taken advantage of the advancement in machine vision and localization and navigation technologies to develop autonomous mobile robots that can share the same workplace with human workers. Robots from Seegrid, Locus Robotics and 6 River Systems are designed to carry and shift heavy payloads within the warehouse, while robots from other suppliers, like Fetch Robotics, IAM Robotics, inVia Robotics, and Magazino, feature built-in effector and gripper systems which enable them to perform goods picking and retrieval. ABI Research estimates that more robots will start to feature grippers in the warehouses to allow them to assist in parcel picking.

"There is no doubt about the severe limitations of these technologies. Existing gripper systems are not designed to pick objects heavier than 10 kilograms. Image recognition technology is still in the nascent state, requiring heavy investment in cloud infrastructure and software capabilities," continued Su. It won't be too long before an autonomous mobile robot does more than just towing, lifting and picking objects. "Actuator and joint systems have become more robust, and 3D camera technology is becoming more accessible thanks to the iPhone X. The maturity of deep learning hardware and algorithm-at-the-edge will soon allow robots to perform both training and inference within the warehouse environment, allowing robots receive training like a human worker."

These findings are from ABI Research's Commercial and Collaborative Robots for Retail E-Commerce Fulfillment report. This report is part of the company's Robotics, Automation & Intelligent Systems research service, which includes research, data, and Executive Foresights.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI's own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about ABI Research's forecasting, consulting and teardown services, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visitwww.abiresearch.com.

Contact Info:

Global

Deborah Petrara
Tel: +1.516.624.2558
pr@abiresearch.com

Christopher Leary
Tel: +1.516.624.2544
leary@abiresearch.com

Source: ABI Research

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