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[FEATURED NEWS] HTX flexes its innovation muscles at IdeasFest

HTX dazzled at the inaugural IdeasFest on 28 May, impressing attendees with its cutting-edge technology.

Xponents at IdeasFest 2024. (Photo: HTX)

Being the innovation powerhouse it is, HTX had not one, nor two, but six booths at IdeasFest 2024, which took place on May 28.

The inaugural event was aimed at spurring public sector transformation through a cross-pollination of ideas between various ministries and agencies within the public sector.

On show at HTX’s booths were a wide range of innovations ranging from robots to extended reality (XR) simulators.

Here are some of the HTX innovations that were displayed during the event.

Life-saving robots

Members of RAUS CoE explain to visitors how their creepy cyborg cockroach works. (Photo: HTX)

If you’re a firm believer of karma, don’t be too quick to kill the cockroaches you encounter, because they might just save your life one day. Case in point? The Insect-Hybrid Robots developed by HTX’s Robotics, Automation & Unmanned Systems Centre of Expertise (RAUS CoE). These robots, which are currently in the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, are essentially cockroaches armed with infrared cameras, microphones and environmental and navigation sensors that help find survivors trapped beneath rubble.

Rover-X standing watch. (Photo: HTX)

Another robot that was in the spotlight at IdeasFest took the form of man’s best friend. Equipped with a suite of sensors and capable of autonomous navigation, Rover-X can be used to keep Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers safe by scouting ahead and relaying vital information, such as the concentration levels of chemicals in an accident site.

One of the robots HTX displayed can even take to the skies. Besides being able to perform patrolling and security operations in areas deemed too risky for officers, HTX’s PoC drone APERTURE can also be used to detect hazardous materials, monitor fire scenes, and deliver essential supplies such as Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in disaster zones.

The nimble APERTURE drone can navigate through tiny crevices to scout areas and relay information back to officers. (Photo: HTX)

Peng Chongtian, an engineer from RAUS CoE, said that he enjoyed his time at IdeasFest.

“It was really interesting to see projects by the different ministries. Through this event, I got to learn of some of the unique challenges each of the ministries face in their line of work. I found this event to be very enlightening as that there was a free sharing of knowledge. I also got to share with other public service officers about how they could leverage robotics to improve their operations,” said Chongtian.

Another robot that drew many eyeballs was SPYDER, which can ‘climb’ hulls using a special magnetic track. SPYDER augments the ship-boarding process for Home Team officers by providing an alternative means for ladder-deployment.

Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?

Members of the Sense-making & Surveillance Centre of Expertise (S&S CoE) highlighted to visitors how deepfakes can sometimes be indistinguishable from reality. (Photo: HTX)

Over at the booth of the Sense-making & Surveillance Centre of Expertise (S&S CoE) team, visitors got to learn more about deepfakes and how the HTX innovation AlchemiX plays a crucial role in protecting the public from the scourge of deepfake scams and misinformation campaigns.

AlchemiX is currently being used by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) officers to identify and take down deepfake scams or fake news.

“Although realistic deepfakes are a relatively new phenomenon, I’m glad that public service officers across a host of agencies are interested in raising awareness about them. For example, some of the teachers I spoke to expressed interest in using deepfake detectors like AlchemiX to educate their students on the tell-tale signs of deepfakes,” shared Ong Si Ci, an AI Engineer from S&S CoE.

HTX’s extended reality technologies, including the Road Traffic Accident Extended Reality (XR) Simulator, also raised eyebrows during IdeasFest. This simulator uses both VR headsets and Multi-Sensory Suits (MAV Suits) to provide Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) trainees with a thoroughly immersive training experience.

Taking training to the next level—the MAV suit can emit heat and even replicate the smell of smoke emitted from the vehicle! It also provides haptic feedback, which means that trainees can experience sensations (like vibrations) that will occur during actual operations during simulator training. (Photo: HTX)

“While VR is often thought of as entertainment, we managed to integrate it with multi-sensory elements to create a more realistic and immersive training experience,” said Ying Meng Fai, Director of Human Factors & Simulation Centre of Expertise at HTX. “We hope that this project inspires other public service officers to think out of the box and incorporate seemingly unrelated technologies to their work.”