Combatting COVID-19

Over the years, A*STAR’s I2R has built deep capabilities in artificial intelligence, machine intellection, aural & language intelligence. These capabilities are bearing fruit as researchers and scientists at A*STAR worked hand in hand with other government agencies and local companies to roll out national initiatives in Singapore’s battle against COVID-19.  

Timely and accurate communications in four languages

During times of crisis, it is important to disseminate critical information to the community as accurately and timely as possible. In Singapore, it can be taxing for the public communication officers to translate critical announcements into four languages almost instantaneously.  

SG Translate, an AI-translation engine has been deployed in July 2019 to assist public communication officers in their translations of official materials. More recently, it was used to translate the COVID-19 updates on WhatsApp and Telegram to push out these messages more quickly.

The team, led by Ms Aw Ai Ti from the Aural & Language Intelligence (ALI) department has jointly developed SG Translate with the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI). 

Watch this video to find out what went on behind the scenes! You can also read more about SG Translate here.

Contact Tracing using Smart Technology

Faced with a highly contagious virus such as COVID-19, people who are in close contact with someone who is infected with the virus, are at higher risk of becoming infected themselves, and even infecting others.  It is critical to be able to quickly identify close contacts of infected persons, so as to prevent further transmission of the virus. 

GovTech has developed the TraceTogether app to automate the complicated process of contact tracing, and enlisted the help of A*STAR I2R and Nanyang Polytechnic to characterise and calibrate this app across different models of phones.

Dr Terence See (above) from our Signal processing, RF & Optical team successfully assisted them in the testing, utilising our electromagnetic anechoic chamber to measure the base-level signal strength in the absence of signal reflections and external noise.

Read more about TraceTogether .

Disinfecting without the cleaners

Good personal hygiene and public hygiene standards are important factors in our fight against this unseen virus. The Singapore government has set up the SG Clean Taskforce in early March to focus on cleanliness of public spaces, encouraging good personal hygiene and promoting adjustment of social norms. 

To help address our frontline cleaners, who play an even more vital role in helping to maintain the cleanliness of our surroundings, A*STAR’s I2R and PBA Group teamed up to introduce a solution.

Built in collaboration with A*STAR I2R‘s Robot and Autonomous System team, PBA's made-in-Singapore UV Disinfecting mobile robots - Sunburst UV Bots - have light detection and ranging sensors. These enable the robot to navigate autonomously, and disinfect both air and surfaces with an in-built lamp module that emits ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light. These mobile robots will be rolled out in shopping malls and the healthcare and transport sectors by the end of the year to help fight against Covid-19.

Read more about what PBA Group is doing with the Sunburst UV Bot
Find out how you may also tap on A*STAR's capabilities to innovate and scale up your businesses.