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Interactive digital media to bloom at NTU with three new research centres

Published on: 06-Nov-2013

• LILY:  designing digital solutions for the elderly
• ROSE: pioneering next-generation visual and object search technologies
• MAGIC: developing the next generation in gaming


Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is expanding its expertise in interactive digital media (IDM) in a big way with the launch of three new world-class research centres.
 
With a total investment of about S$90 million, NTU’s three new research centres in interactive digital media brings together the brightest minds from leading international universities and industry giants. NTU’s partners include University of British Columbia, Peking University, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre and industry heavyweights such as HP, NVIDIA, the Lushang Group, one of China’s state-owned enterprises and Tencent, China's biggest Internet service provider.
 
Set up with the support of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Media Development Authority (MDA), the centres are a vital part of Singapore's investment aimed at pushing the frontiers of new IDM technologies and early test-bedding of these new technologies.
 
The centres named LILY, ROSE and MAGIC were launched today by NRF Chief Executive Officer, Professor Low Teck Seng.

Since 2011, the NRF has supported, through the IDM Futures Funding Initiatives, a network of Innovation Platforms in an effort to bring about multi-disciplinary collaboration and reduce the time taken for companies to bring their products and services to market. Each Innovation Platform is a test-bed with the critical mass of test users and datasets. “LILY, MAGIC and ROSE represent the latest additions to these Innovation Platforms,” Prof Low said.

Speaking at the launch of the centres, NTU Provost, Professor Freddy Boey said, “The three centres NTU is launching today – LILY, ROSE and MAGIC – each have unique roles to play in advancing interdisciplinary, industry-relevant research in Interactive Digital Media.”
 
“These new centres have a dual role – to research new technologies and carry out early test bedding of these research outcomes with our industry partners. In this way the three research centres will enable businesses in Singapore and the region to benefit from the cutting-edge, next-generation technologies developed by the three centres.”
 
Prof Boey added that the new centres will add to the university’s existing cluster of three IDM International Research Centres – the BeingThere Centre, the Centre of Social Media Innovations for Communities (COSMIC) and the Fraunhofer IDM Centre@NTU. NTU will now have a formidable cluster of six ‘crown jewels’ focusing on Interactive Digital Media and New Media.
 
The new centres will also be an important training ground for the IDM scientists and experts Singapore needs for its future. Over the next five years, about 75 research staff and 74 Masters and PhD students from Singapore and around the world will participate in the research projects at these three new centres. They will be working with more than 20 scientists and engineers seconded from industry partners.
 
New Media is one of NTU's five Peaks of Excellence, interdisciplinary areas of research in which NTU aims to put a global stamp. The other four peaks are Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, Innovation, and the best of East and West.
 
LILY: Tech boost to improve seniors’ autonomy

Many societies today are grappling with the twin challenges of a rapidly aging society and the rising mobility of young people that exacerbates the “empty nest” phenomenon. The Active Living for the Elderly Research Centre (LILY) will develop cost-effective technologies to assist the elderly to lead a healthy, comfortable and independent life, while keeping in touch with their loved ones.
 
By combining the strengths of NTU and University of British Columbia in Canada, LILY will develop a new interdisciplinary research area that combines diverse fields and technologies – namely ageless computing, design and services – to help the elderly enjoy an active and independent lifestyle, also known as “ageless aging”.
 
LILY is working closely with medical institutions, such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre to optimise the impact of its research. The centre is also partnering with the Lushang Group, one of China’s leading state-owned enterprise with retail, pharmacy and real estate among its core businesses, to create age-friendly living environments and lifestyles.
 
Among the projects that the centre is working on are personal digital assistants for the elderly, games for the rehabilitation of stroke patients and prevention of Parkinson’s, and age-friendly ubiquitous commerce technologies and services that will not only offer new business opportunities in the silver market, but also bring multi-generational families closer together by bridging the digital divide.
 
MAGIC: Powering up the gaming world

NTU is set to make magic in the area of gaming and digital entertainment with the new Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC).  MAGIC is poised to champion efforts in the R&D, education, and advancement of digital games in Singapore, while leveraging the rapid growth of the global game industry, which is expected to top $70 billion by 2017.
 
Working with industry partners like NVIDIA, HP, GARENA and Nanyang Polytechnic’s Games Solution Centre, and research collaborators like Singapore University of Technology and Design, MAGIC will translate the latest scientific ideas and made-in-NTU technologies into next-generation technological products and services. This spans a wide spectrum from Artificial Intelligence for entertainment, and cloud gaming, to 3D technologies for content creation and processing, game design and impact.
 
ROSE: Developing next-generation visual and object search technologies

With the growing trend of visual and object searches on the Internet and mobile devices, the Rapid-Rich Object Search (ROSE) Lab at NTU will play a key role in developing innovative search technologies, leveraging on cloud services. ROSE aims to have one of the largest structured object database of around 50 million domain objects in Asia for mobile image search in the next five years.
 
The scientists and researchers at NTU’s ROSE will work closely with their peers in Peking University, one of China’s top universities, together with major industry players, like Tencent, China's biggest Internet service provider with the largest user base in the country, and the Inspur Group, a major server and cloud solution provider.

During the launch event today, NTU signed a research collaboration agreement with Tencent covering joint research in media processing, analytics, and cloud-based search.  Under this collaboration, Tencent will have a team of their engineers in NTU to work with researchers in the ROSE Lab. Together, they will share manpower and resources to develop state-of-the-art visual search and media cloud technologies that can be applied in Tencent’s products and create added value for its users.
 
Sharing her enthusiasm about the partnership, Ms Juliet Wang, Deputy Managing Director, Technology Management Committee, Tencent said, “Tencent appreciates this opportunity to work with the ROSE Lab. Tencent hopes to leverage the ROSE Lab’s research capabilities, top talents, and global network to accelerate the internationalisation of our WeChat mobile text and voice messaging service. At the same time, we also hope to enable the ROSE Lab to convert research into productive use and benefit more Internet users by leveraging Tencent’s understanding in commercialisation, users, and their new demands.” 

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Media contact:

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Email: feisalar@ntu.edu.sg


About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
 
NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
 
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg

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