CommunicAsia takes VR to new health and education levels

CBT720 CommunicAsia2017

Singapore’s reputation for being at the forefront of technology implementation was solidified at this year’s at CommunicAsia 2017.

The technology conference and exhibition showcasedinitiatives in training, healthcare and media using emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR).

The initiatives were matched with government agencies and companies that could benefit from them as part of Singapore’s Smart Nation push.

The progressive shift is part of a strategy to use mixed reality gear in more lucrative industrial applications.

In the medical sphere, a featured case study was a virtual reality system built for training medical students in the operating room and prepping them for new scenarios based on the latest medical cases.

The system will be developed commercially over the next 12 months by animation and visual effects firm SideFX Studios, in collaboration with Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

Meanwhile at the conference Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)  identified four frontier technology focus areas: AI and data science, cybersecurity, immersive media, and the IoT.

Dr Yaccob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, announced a new S$150 million national program to boost Singapore’s AI capabilities with the establishment of the Singapore Data Science Consortium.

Ibrahim also spoke about the potential of virtual and augmented reality across various industries, and focused on how it can be used in education and training.

IMDA has partnered with Beach House Pictures to pilot the use of VR in five primary schools. Through the pilot lessons, around 400 students learned about design, architecture, and high-tech farming. Beach House Pictures has also collaborated with local startup Hiverlab to develop a customized VR classroom application for teachers to guide students on VR experiences to different locations around Singapore.

The technology backbone to support this is also on the agenda with upgrades planned for the Nationwide Broadband Network, IoT networks, 5G mobile network and sensor networks.

“We need to develop strong digital industries in their own right, and catalyse their transformation of other industries to spur productivity and yield new synergies,” said Ibrahim. “Ultimately, we hope that all our efforts to prepare Singapore for the digital future will improve people’s lives.”


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