NTU ties up with German research institute to launch new digital technology centre

SINGAPORE - Picture smart cars with cameras that can tell when a driver is getting sleepy and alert them before an accident happens, and virtual displays of human organs for medical students to learn from.

Such digital tools are some of the many that will be developed at a new research institute at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that was launched on Tuesday (June 6).

The Fraunhofer Singapore institute is a collaboration between NTU and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a German institution for applied research.

The institute's research focuses on digital technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), human-machine interfaces and medical imaging.

It is supported by funding from industry partners, with the National Research Foundation funding up to $23 million until 2020 for research and development projects.

Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, who launched the institute's opening on Tuesday, said that the Fraunhofer Singapore institute builds on a two-decade long collaboration between Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and NTU.

"Digitalisation technologies will be key in helping our companies capture new opportunities and remain relevant in the fast-changing global economic landscape," said Mr Iswaran.

"Fraunhofer will build on the existing applied research in interactive and digital media...to develop cutting-edge technology solutions and collaborate with our companies to tap new opportunities in the digital space."

The institute's projects include VR and AR technology that could let engineers run diagnostics on machinery using tablets, or view products in VR from different angles using VR glasses before starting production.