Creating a Smart Nation with the help of Fraunhofer Singapore
Fraunhofer is looking to make its mark in Asia—with Fraunhofer Singapore, established in 2017 as a successor to the Fraunhofer IDM@NTU Project Center. Singapore aims to become a “Smart Nation” and Fraunhofer can contribute in a number of ways—with pioneering technologies in manufacturing, urban development, transportation and workplace design.
Eight is considered a lucky number in Asia. So it is perhaps a positive omen that Fraunhofer Singapore—established in 2017 as a successor to the IDM@NTU Project Center—is the eighth Fraunhofer subsidiary outside Germany. Fraunhofer Singapore’s research activities are an excellent fit with the city-state’s vision of becoming a Smart Nation. With the digital transformation of life, work, entertainment, and communication, Fraunhofer Singapore will be able to contribute with a number of groundbreaking technologies.
Industry 4.0 is much in demand
Take manufacturing: Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative has created a brand that puts Fraunhofer Singapore in a prime position, not least as the Lion City is still negotiating the early stages of this development. One example is intelligent support for the maintenance and repair of complex plant and equipment. A tablet-based augmented reality application provides the worker with instructions that are superimposed on the physical machinery, guiding them through their task step-by-step. This software can also be leveraged to effectively train new employees. Moreover, the system allows Singapore-based companies to offer customers enhanced service packages, generating competitive advantage.
A Smart Nation cannot limit its vision to factories and workshops. It must consider other vital areas of modern society, such as smart personal mobility. Fraunhofer Singapore, for instance, intends to design and plan the bus stops of the future with the help of virtual reality (VR), based on actual transportation data provided by the local authorities. How do people behave and move? Are passengers able to board and alight with ease and speed? These and similar questions can be addressed and answered in advance with VR. Visual computing also offers great potential in another area: the goal of a Smart Port.
A three-dimensional model of the city
Plans are in place to create a digital model of the entire city-state as the basis for improved services. Similar to recent developments in manufacturing, digital and physical objects will “talk to each other” and coordinate their actions—creating what is dubbed a cyber-physical system. Fraunhofer Singapore plays a key role in this project, developing algorithms that enable the rapid and automated three-dimensional depiction of buildings and other structures.
Better working environments with brain-computer interfaces
A further key focus is workplace performance and well-being. Is the environment well designed? The brain-computer interface from Fraunhofer Singapore offers actionable insights. This “skull cap” measures and interprets human brain impulses—offering adaptive assistance comparable to ABS or parking assistants for cars.