Where do the possibilities for the metaverse lie for Singapore?

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GovInsider sits down with Associate Professor Frank Guan from the Singapore Institute of Technology to explore key advances in immersive technology and key opportunities for industrial applications.

last year, Barbados opens diplomatic embassy In Decentraland in Metaverse. Decentraland real estate can cost millions of dollars, but the country has made this move so that anyone on the planet can knock on the same embassy door and the overall cost can save

For those still puzzled by this strange new dimensional reality, Assistant Professor Frank Guan, the Infocomm Technology cluster at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) characterizes the Metaverse as a digitized parallel world, allowing people to interact and complete tasks they previously completed in the real world. increase. “You will be doing your daily tasks just like you would in the real world,” he says.

Even in its early stages of adoption, the Metaverse already means so much to different groups of people. Guan, who specializes in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI), said this means that the metaverse could be applied to a variety of industries and is “widely accepted. I think it is a positive sign that many parties’.

GovInsider analyzes Guan’s take on key industrial applications of metaverse and immersive technology and what it means for different sectors in Singapore.

Benefits of the Metaverse

“I don’t think the Metaverse will completely replace the physical world,” Guan told GovInsider. There are some sensory aspects not yet accounted for in immersive technology. These will favor metaverse applications over other applications.

The Metaverse is currently focused on visual and audio experiences, and less on tactile and gustatory experiences. So, for example, people are less likely to buy real-world clothes in the metaverse because they can’t feel the texture of the fabric beforehand. increase.

Despite these current limitations, much is still possible in the digital world. “The Metaverse can remove physical distancing barriers and allows us to interact with people in other countries remotely, but dynamically,” says Guan.

Guan recently chaired the 21st IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2022) conference in Singapore.Image: Frank Guan

Post-pandemic virtual meetings have become a staple in the business, educational and even social worlds.Popular video conferencing platform Zoom saw 200 million daily meeting participants in May 2020and that number increased by 100 million just one month later.The Metaverse has the potential to provide a more realistic and interactive environment for people to hold virtual meetings, Guan says.

In education, students and teachers are brought together in the same immersive learning environment wherever they are. In healthcare, the metaverse could enable doctors to diagnose patients remotely, resulting in more equitable access to medical services.

The metaverse is also great for giving people a taste of what they might be interested in before they actually work on it. In real estate, interested buyers can first view the digital twin of the property before physically traveling to complete the transaction. The same approach can be applied to travel and tourism. That’s when you visit a virtual simulation of an attraction before seeing the attraction in person, Guan said.

Finally, according to Guan, gaming is a burgeoning industry with immersive technology.

“When people think of games, they may simply think of them as an entertainment option…but more and more developers are starting to consider gamification for education to achieve better learning outcomes. We are doing it,” Guan told GovInsider. In fact, a 2015 study showed that gamified learning showed her a massive 25% increase. Student retention rate 23% higher scores compared to traditional teaching methods. Gamification techniques help contextualize problem statements and hold theory.

Gamified learning is becoming an increasingly popular option for professional training because it is not only more productive, but also more effective. It can generate surreal scenarios that might not be easy to reproduce in the physical world, but are easy to reproduce in the digital world,” Guan said.

Employers can reduce training costs, minimize training space, and facilitate access to staff training. For example, a team of SIT researchers led by Guan worked with local organizations to develop his AR-powered game, REAP, for vocational training. The game enables trainees to learn the critical skill sets needed to run a food business without the constraints of where, when and at what cost raw materials require.

A team of SIT researchers led by Guan has developed an AR-powered gamified job training for the food industry. Trainees will be able to learn and improve the skill sets necessary to run a food business.Image: Frank Guan

space to grow

Aside from VR and AR, the Metaverse stays abreast of many other technological advances and trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), non-fungible tokens (NFT), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and more. set to engage. , says Guan.

This was especially evident at the 21st IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2022) conference held for the first time in Singapore and Southeast Asia. An unprecedented number of research papers were submitted to the conference, all aimed at improving the underlying technology to make the metaverse more alive, said the event’s general chair. There was his Guan said.

For example, SIT researchers demonstrated a collaborative 3D data visualization system using AR (ViCollAR for short) at ISMAR 2022. An immersive interactive collaborative system allows multiple users to jointly view and interact with his 3D visualized data simultaneously with bare hands. space. The user can also freely navigate the real spatial environment while interacting. The university successfully developed a prototype for further testing and implementation.

SIT faces advances in immersive technology in other ways as well.In the future, SIT will make its campus Punggol Digital District By 2024, students will experience supporting development through a digital twin of the campus. The “Living Lab” will serve as a testbed for technologies, including immersive, allowing industry partners to achieve innovation with the help of academic experts like her Guan.

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