Harnessing technology and various means to support industry transformation, Republic Polytechnic (RP) plays a pivotal role in propelling and contributing to industry partners' transformation plans through upskilling of the workforce, raising operational efficiency, leveraging applied research, and building overseas business networks.
Our 18 technology and innovation centres (collectively known as Conexus Centres) together with the Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management (COI-SCM) work with industry partners in many different ways, including exploiting new technologies, developing new products and streamlining processes, to help them overcome challenges and improve their productivity through technology and capability development.
Our Technology Offers
LED Light Recipes to Extend Crop Harvest Period
The majority of the local indoor farmers grow crops that are harvested for their leaves. One way to increase the growth rate of such leafy greens is to provide a longer period of light. However, some of the crops grown, e.g., spinach, are long-day plants that flower when the light periods are longer than their critical day-length. While important to a plant’s life cycle, this vegetative to reproductive phase change is undesirable for farmers, not only because it shortens the harvest period hence reducing the yield, but also because it changes the taste profile.
To tackle this problem, a light recipe that was able to suppress flowering was formulated. Plants grown under this light recipe showed a faster growth rate than those grown under flowering-suppressing short-day photoperiod. Moreover, they do not flower even when the light period has surpassed the critical day-length. Positive results were obtained when this light recipe was tested on spinach and arugula.
This technology would work for other long-day crops, and it will be beneficial to indoor farmers who are interested to try it.
Bone-like Filaments For Surgical Model Printing
Cadaveric bones are used to carry out medical training for surgeons and trainees. However, such bones are limited in supply, difficult to store, inconsistent in terms of quality, and costly to use for repeated training. As such, it is necessary to create an alternative to cadaveric bones that is equally realistic while being more cost effective and easier to obtain.
This technology can resolve the limitations of cadaveric bones by offering the formulation and processing method to produce a Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) system-agnostic bone-like 3D printing filaments for surgical models printing. Printed anatomical bone models developed from this technology will have the look and feel of the real bone. The technology presents an affordable and readily available alternative that minimises the demand for cadaveric bones while still providing realistic training to medical professionals.
The technology owner is seeking for collaborations with companies interested to scale-up the manufacture of the filaments and/or licensing of the technology.
Video Analytics for Plant Growth & Disease Detection
Crop production is one of the major sources of income in the world and more than half of our population depends on agriculture for livelihood. Crop cultivation is a tedious and laborious process. Diseased crops are devastating to the farmer. One of the major concerns is the lack of knowledge and manpower to identify diseased crops at an early stage to prevent the spread of infections to healthy crops.
This technology offer is a fast and accurate, artificial intelligence (AI)-based computer vision system that can detect plant diseases. This system is more reliable and scalable than the traditional, manual methods in detecting plant diseases. It uses video analytics, which has algorithms that automatically analyse large collections of images and identify features that can be used to categorise images with minimum error. Images of plant leaves are digitally pre-processed to get clear, noiseless enhanced leaf images. These enhanced images are then used for analysis to detect diseases. Generally, plant leaf image colour and texture are unique features, which can be used to detect and analyse the diseases.
Dilution Air Processing Unit for Curbing Infections
The Dilution Air Processing Unit (DAPU) is an ideal solution for small and medium businesses to prepare themselves for the Covid-19 new normal by employing an enhanced air ventilation technique. The DAPU system allows the creation of zones (e.g. sickbays, waiting rooms, etc.) within workplaces with no recirculation of air. This prevents cross-contamination of unclean air in between the zones. This solution is suitable for hotels and other premises to be used for quarantine purposes.
The DAPU consists of the following key features:
- Provides 100% fresh air supply with no recirculation
- Reduces airborne particles exposure by greater than 60%
- Achieves 25% energy efficiency in providing 100% fresh air supply as compared to conventional systems
- Uses fully portable modular approach
- Can be easily retrofitted to any existing air-conditioning system resulting in lower implementation cost
The DAPU can also be deployed in any area without an existing air-conditioning system making it highly versatile.
Real Time, All-day Stress Monitoring Using Data Science
There are 30, 000 occupational drivers in Singapore, out of which 13, 500 are 45 years old and above. The risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease increases with age and is potentially exacerbated by low physical activity and high emotional stress levels, which are 2 typical characteristics of occupational drivers arising from their work environment. Low level of physical activity and high stress levels have been shown to have significant relationship with heart rate variability, one of the indicators of cardiovascular disease.
This technology is developed to help drivers to monitor their stress level, provide them with instantaneous feedbacks and the necessary alerts for a timely intervention.
The current practice of using Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical activities of the heart is mainly found in the clinical settings and not easily accessible by the general population due to high costs. The need for an accurate placement of ECG electrodes does not allow continuous monitoring of the heart condition in a non-clinical setting.
The technology offer presents a cross-platform AI system that estimates the stress levels continuously in real time, and can be easily integrated with commercially available Photoplethysmography (PPG) wearables, e.g., a PPG wristwatch. In addition, this technology can be adapted for the monitoring of workplace stress with the aim of improving overall mental well-being.
Novel Marker for High Sensitivity Detection of Human DNA
Human DNA contamination is an issue in the process of manufacturing devices for molecular and genomic applications. Such devices need to be certified human DNA-free for sensitive downstream processes. Therefore, there is a need to monitor human DNA residual level in factory surfaces and final products. The technology provider had identified a novel target for the detection of human DNA and developed a highly sensitive PCR based detection method for the presence of human DNA based on this target. They have demonstrated that the method is specific, sensitive and with low cost. Compared to a commercial kit available in the market, this method is at least 500 times more sensitive.
This method will be a valuable tool for device manufacturers. In addition, it can also be applied on forensic as well as environmental samples. Furthermore, the principle of the method can be adapted to detect other animal species for either identification or monitoring purposes.
Automated, Scalable Generation of 3D Cell Cultures by Novel Bioprinter
The conventional method of 2D culturing of cells have a number of limitations, for example, they do not completely mimic the 3D tissues and organs of the human body. 3D bioprinting offers a way of generating 3D cultures in the form of spheroids (from cancer cells) and embryoid bodies (from stem cells). 3D cell culture is able to better mimic the in vivo conditions of tissues and organs within the human body. For example, spheroids behave similar to cancerous tumors and make good cancer models for the study of disease and testing of drugs. Embryoid bodies from stem cells mimic the development of embryos and can be used to study the effects of drugs on the three germ layers of the body – ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. The manual method for generation of such 3D cell structures, known as the hanging-drop method, is labor-intensive and not amenable to up-scaling in biotech industry. This technology can resolve the limitations of 2D cultures by offering an automated, cost-effective, novel bioprinter that can rapidly generate 3D cultures of various cell types with multiple applications in (not limited to) drug discovery, cosmetic testing, tumor studies etc.
This bioprinter has been developed in-house and extensively tested out over a period of 3 years. Target users are cell culture researchers and companies engaged in clinical trials of novel drugs and vaccines. Partners are sought for technology development and commercialization collaborations, for example, 3D bioprinting solution providers, robotics industry, clinical trial companies, training providers etc.
Customisable LED Software for Indoor Farming
By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the world earth’s estimate 9.8 billion population will reside in urban centers. In addition, factors such as climate change, limited arable land and pollution will make indoor farming an attractive option. Current technologies used in traditional farming will be inadequate and for Singapore, it will be even more vital to achieve food security with limited resources.
This technology consists of a horticultural LED system that can eventually help to address 2 main concerns of urban farming - operation cost and crop yield. The predictive algorithms are able to predict important lighting information necessary for indoor farming. This is crucial in helping end-users (e.g. farmers) to formulate their own “light” recipe for optimising the growth rate of their crops. It also has analytics features that can assist in analysing DLI, energy costs, etc. for improving crop yield.
The technology owner is seeking partners to collaborate through various modes including technology licensing and test bedding.
Smart Inventory Monitoring on Storage Racks
A traditional rack, that is usually located near the place of operations, is used as an unmanned forward supply storage rack to ensure that there is has sufficient supplies to keep the operations going. Conventional inventory replenishment by the central warehouse or suppliers is done by deploying manual labour to check the stock quantity and to top up to its optimal level. Such traditional racks and its manual replenishment processes are common in hospital wards, clinics, surgical rooms or high-mix low-volume operations such as in maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations. It is often very laborious and not timely, resulting in operations disruptions when supplies are depleted.
This technology offer, Smart Inventory Monitoring on Storage Rack (SIMR), enables efficient inventory management by tracking the inventory items on the racks and automatically triggering stock replenishment. It uses a suite of sensors to digitalise a traditional rack for near real-time inventory monitoring.
Optimization of Aquatic Feed with Underutilised Okara
In Singapore, more than 30,000kg of okara, a by-product from soya milk and tofu production, is generated on a daily basis. Due to the high amount of insoluble dietary fiber and a unique, poignant smell of okara, it is often discarded as a waste product. Despite okara's low palatability, it is still rich in nutrients. Only a small portion of okara is used in animal feed, but there is also potential for okara as an alternative protein source for aquatic feed.
This cost-effective formulation to include okara in feed for abalone has been developed. The formulation can also be adapted and potentially customised for other aquatic species such as shrimp and fish.
This technology provider is seeking partners for collaborations to develop new applications using the existing technology, for example feed formulation for shrimp or fish and/or licensing of the technology
Robots for Order Verification (ROVER)
Order verification in the warehouse usually requires laborious manual checks and transportation. This technology offer presents a highly precise weighing platform that can be integrated into the existing robotic platforms to allow orders to be received and verified with the warehouse management system (WMS) instantaneously. User can refer to the sequential list of items from the screen and pick the items accordingly from the racks and shelves in the warehouse.
The technology owner is currently looking for collaborators to improve their warehouse operations and process.
Eco-friendly Photoactive Plant-derived Materials
The developed technology comprises two photoactive plant-derived materials for effective control of mosquito vector and microbial infection respectively.
A novel sunlight-activated larvicide has been developed from a plant source that are lethal and effective against Aedes mosquito larvae while remaining non-toxic to other non-translucent aquatic organisms and environment. This larvicide could be a new eco-friendly tool in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and zika. It provides a new avenue for the control of the mosquito vector population by targeting the mosquito larvae before they become adult mosquitoes.
The stabilised form of a photoactive plant-based antimicrobial agent has been developed to protect it from environmental degradation. The enhanced environmental stability of this natural compound has made it suitable to be incorporated as additive in various materials for the self-disinfecting product applications and may provide a “greener solution” to limit the spread of pathogens and transmission of infections by indirect contact.
These photoactive plant-based materials are effective alternatives of conventional insecticides or antimicrobial agents as they produce highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) when activated by visible light. These reactive oxygen species display multi-targeted killing mechanism on translucent organisms such as mosquito larvae and microbes, which may limit the development of resistance in these species and provide an effective and sustainable solution to these public health challenges.