SINGAPORE: How would you like to see, feel, hear and control your environment... virtually? Well, scientists from A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) are putting you one step closer to that.
They have developed technologies that capture and analyse huge amounts of data to create systems that enhance urban living.
These include technologies that analyse crowd behaviour, allow remote energy management, predict disease outbreaks, or even tell where some of the windiest spots in the city centre are.
A*STAR Science and Engineering Research Council’s (SERC) "Sense and Sense—abilities" programme focuses on pervasive sensing to address challenges that city planners face in developing urban environments.
A demo has been set up at the World Cities Summit (WCS) 2012 Expo to showcase the programme’s capabilities.
The demo gathers visual, sound and floor pressure data, which is then translated into "smart" crowd maps that decipher popular travel paths or identify areas with less traffic.
Such technologies can be used for targeted marketing or enhancing product placements in malls and retail shops, or deployed in traffic management systems to identify potential congestion hotspots.
Experts said that as the power demands of cities grow, the deployment of smart grids and smart devices that regulate energy usage in the mass consumer electricity market becomes essential in helping cities manage their energy requirements.
The A*STAR smart energy showcase would demonstrate how "Smart Plugs" can be used to remotely monitor and control home appliances over the Internet, highlighting the significant role energy consumers and end—users play in achieving energy efficiency targets in the future.
The urban environment can also be modelled to allow city planners to see what future cities could look like. For example, data on wind flow patterns in dense areas like city centres can provide city planners with a better view on how to manage microclimates and reduce "hot spots".
Weather and genomic data, coupled with information on past outbreaks can also be used in combating diseases — by predicting possible outbreaks and allowing effective intervention strategies to be implemented earlier.
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