IDA opens heartland tech lab in Jurong library

SINGAPORE - A heartland lab space where members of the public can tinker with technology opened on Friday at Jurong Regional Library.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) opened the lab, which is the third of its kind and the first in a heartland location, in collaboration with the National Library Board (NLB).

The IDA Labs initiative aims to provide physical lab spaces for individuals, companies and government agencies to collaborate and innovate, in line with Singapore's vision of becoming a Smart Nation.

The IDA Labs@NLB will house equipment such as 3D printers as well as technology kits for limited public use.

Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who was guest of honour at the lab's opening, said: "The IDA Labs are for everyone and not just the 'techies'. To build up a Smart Nation we have to build upon everyone's strengths."

"Just as libraries pass on knowledge through books, we hope that the IDA Labs@NLB can pass on the spirit of experimentation and innovation through the tools made available.

"Through increased exposure to available toolkits and interaction with tech communities in our IDA Labs, we want to help our students and members of the public develop confidence in creating with technology."

The 135 sq m space will be open from noon to 8.30pm from Wednesdays to Sundays.

Students and families can use the space to experiment with technologies. For instance, they can borrow kits such as electronic prototyping platform Arduino to design simple programmes for robots.

Tech start-ups can also use the space to hone their skills through workshops and training run by IDA and various partners.

IDA launched its IDA Labs programme last March, opening the first two labs at its Mapletree Business City headquarters and the National Design Centre.

To date, the programme has supported more than 250 workshops with over 9,000 participants from the industry, the Government, schools and the community.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg