#Asia Charging up the future: Check out these cool devices from IoT Asia 2016

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As Singapore ramps up its Smart City ambitions, be prepared to witness as more sci-fi tech comes to life

Image Credit: Ying Communications

Vivian Balakrishnan — the Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and a member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP). He is also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office. Image Credit: Ying Communications

One does not simply walk away from an Internet-of-Things (IoT) conference without feeling a mixed bag of trepidation and awe.

The IoT Asia 2016, held at the Singapore Expo, was no exception. With every new edition, the feeling that humanity is hurtling towards a point of no return, becomes evermore present in our psyche.

But what inspired these contradicting emotions?

IoT sensors, and not just a handful of them.

No, good Sirs and Madams, going by conservative projections, Singapore will be soon be blanketed with a sea of IoT sensors — air conditioners, cars, lights, offices (even on your dog and livestock!).

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So, steadily and surely, our lives are becoming more intertwined with the web. Everything we do and feel — with or without our knowledge — is being monitored by sensors, data analytics and advertising software.

What does this mean for us? Should we put on our tinfoil suits, shut our windows and stick to gas lamps now?

Well, not quite. According to the experts at the IoT Asia 2016, the age of IoT will herald in not only greater connectivity among people and their surroundings; but we will also see new forms of business and communities emerging – IoT solutions will solve critical real-life challenges and problems.

“IoT is at the cusp of really impacting change…we are seeing it in the fashion, sports and music space…IoT is truly changing the consumer experience,” said Prakash Mallya, Intel’s Managing Director of Southeast Asia, during a keynote speech.

Also Read: NDC is accelerating the growth of Taiwan’s IoT Startups

In the same speech, he showed a video of musician Lady Gaga harnessing the power of IoT to elevate her performance – rendering digital makeup change in real time, as well as using an IoT ring to manipulate images on the stage screen.

At the event, there were also a few impressive IoT devices on display, many catered to average consumers, others engineered for wide-scale industrial usage or for enterprises.

The participants were a diverse group, including student projects initiated by large MNCs and universities, startups backed by government research institutes and foreign companies.

Here are five of them.

KLÜG Home

KLUG_Home

The KLÜG Home, developed by Singapore-based startup Intraix (with backing from A*STAR), is an IoT device designed for the home or office. It is used to optimise aircon usage and reduce consumption.

Darrell Zhang, Co-founder of Intraix, said it was designed with the lay consumer in mind. So, hobbyists and tech geeks who swear by hyper-customisation, stay away.

To start monitoring your aircon consumption, you simply place the palm-sized KLÜG Air devices on one or several aircons, sync it to the KLÜG Home and the smartphone app.

Within five minutes, the app will automatically download information such as cost accumulated, humidity and temperature – it is all plug-and-play, baby.

Also Read: How IoT disrupts traditional business models

The KLÜG Air is also able to learn your preferences and optimise the zircon settings (through syncing the smartphone app with the aircon controller). Zhang explained to me that by syncing it to a wearable like Fitbit, users can send information about their sleeping habits to the KLÜG Air. It even works with Amazon Echo and Apple Home Kit, so it is possible to control the aircon using voice commands.

IoT Billing Solutions

As unsexy as it may sound, the Selcomm-powered IoT Billing Solutions addresses a key point in the IoT ecosystem.

It specialises in processing and billing of Big Data collected from sensors and meters in IoT and M2M systems, allowing companies to generate revenue streams with ease. These IoT sensors include electronic toll collection, and other tariff systems.

Iot Billing Solutions automates and streamlines device management processes. For example, when a client acquires a large industrial printer, the IoT sensors will automatically send out reports on the health status of the printer and inform the supplier when maintenance is required.

LUX Photonics Consortium

Without getting too technical — because it really is — the LUX Photonics Consortium, backed by NTU, specialises in diverse photonics applications from ‘3D displays and sub cellular medical imaging  to energy harvesting’.  Here’s what it looks like.

NTU_Photonics

See that green block there? That is a 3D model of the body of myself.

Using just a Microsoft Kinect Camera and a complex thermal imaging software, the technology showed me interesting statistics about my body, such as shoulder width, body volume, and hip girth. All  you have to do is to face the Kinect and spin around for 20 seconds. My 3D model looks quite crummy because, apparently, I was ‘spinning too fast’ – hrmph.

Applications for this could be huge, especially in the medical and fashion industries.

Neural_fiber_optic

IoT sensors can also be placed in something as small as optic fibres. As the above diagram shows, it could have huge implications in the medical research field. Scientists could conduct and monitor drug tests on test subjects more effectively by attaching IoT-enabled fibre optic probes to them.

Fibre_Optics

Any references to the machine overlords in The Matrix are purely coincidental…I hope.

‘Bus Lai Liao’

Bus Lai Liao‘ — a Singaporean slang meaning ‘the bus is arriving’ — is a student project created by Team Stitches, which consists of National University students Yi Ming and Kai Lin, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Jia Jun, and is powered by the Intel Edison Technology.

What you see below is actually an IoT device placed at bus stops, allowing disabled and elderly people to catch their bus easily.

BusLaiLiao

For example, a blind man would walk up to the device, select his bus number by feeling for the correct braille then pressing the corresponding button.

The device would then call out his bus number, and alert the incoming chosen bus service that a blind person will board at this particular stop.

Also Read: IoT is the hottest investment choice for APAC accelerators

For a deaf person, the aids will be provided through a visual display.

Currently, there are no plans to commercialise the product, but Team Stitches is not ruling it out.

Intelli-Signage

Intelli-Signage — backed by A*STAR — specialises in delivering targetted ads through IoT sensors. It has an advanced Age and Gender Recognition System (AGRS), which displays relevant advertisements based on your gender and age group.

New_Shoes

Using just a HD webcam and an age group determination algorithm, the system is able extract the information. It claims an 80 per cent accuracy in gender recognition, and 75 per cent accuracy of age – all under normal lighting conditions.

Crowd_counting_sensor

The above device is  a video analytics sensor used for measuring crowd numbers.  It executes this by analysing multiple faces concurrently. What is really impressive  is its ability to detect duplicate faces, thus preventing a miscount.

Conclusion

As impressive as these technologies may be, IoT is still a fairly nascent field. Some might make the cut while others will become obsolete.

IoT is a journey, said Charles Reed Anderson, Vice President, Head of Mobility and IoT, IDC Asia Pacific, in a keynote. Some of the popular technology today may fall out of style in the next few years.

But one thing is for sure – IoT sensors are exponentially cheaper than a few years ago and will become more ubiquitous moving forward.

Whether or not the over-dependence on connectivity and automation will result in our undoing – we leave that discourse to the social scientists.

For the layman, I say: embrace it.

The post Charging up the future: Check out these cool devices from IoT Asia 2016 appeared first on e27.

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