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Engineers at Keppel Offshore & Marine’s shipyards can now receive key information about the machinery they are using, its performance in real time, for instance, via 5G augmented reality (AR) enabled smart glasses.

This innovation, which is being trialed at the shipyards, aims to increase efficiency in maritime operations and address disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is part of the first batch of new 5G projects under the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) 5G Innovation Programme that were announced by the agency on Wednesday (Aug 3).

The programme seeks to accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of 5G solutions in Singapore.

The other new projects are an initiative involving the use of holographic displays and images to support healthcare services, known as holomedicine, at the National University Hospital (NUH), and the development of an outdoor cinematic-quality AR experience at the Marina Bay area.

These earlier projects, which are still ongoing, include the use of automated guided vehicles and rubber-tyred gantry cranes for moving cargo at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

5G networks are said to be 10 times faster than 4G, allowing a high-definition movie to be downloaded in seconds instead of minutes. They also have more bandwidth, enabling about 1,000 more devices to be connected without any transmission lag, compared with 4G.

This makes the technology potentially useful in many situations. An example would be the surveillance robots and camera technology that were deployed in August last year to assist with security at Marina at Keppel Bay.

The project at Keppel’s shipyards involves using sensors on equipment and machinery to transmit real-time data to the smart glasses.

A field engineer can use the smart glasses to view key information about a crane that his team is operating, for example, the weight of the load it is lifting and its maintenance condition.

This would reduce the frequency of periodic maintenance checks, said Liew Wing Leong, senior programme lead for yard transformation at Keppel Offshore & Marine. “We are looking at an overall reduction of 15 per cent for maintenance times,” he added.

An engineer can also use the smart glasses to capture and stream real-time data to the command centre at Keppel’s headquarters, where a team can help to rectify any issues that occur during the operation.

Other uses for the smart glasses include displaying checklists of tasks for inspection personnel, so that they need not carry documents containing those lists with them.

Liew said Keppel is looking to roll out the smart glasses for all its shipyards’ operations by the third quarter of next year.

The holomedicine project at NUH will enable the use of realistic 3D holograms for various medical operations, including helping surgeons to plan operations.

Among other things, it will also enable holographic scanned images or guides converted from CT or MRI scans to be overlaid on a patient, providing real-time guidance for surgeons during an operation.

Dr Gao Yujia, assistant group chief technology officer at the National University Health System, which operates NUH, said: “5G gives us the assurance that we will have speeds that are enough for us to support existing and future use cases.”




Kim Kardashian pays $1.26m over crypto ‘pump and dump’

Kim Kardashian has agreed to pay a $1.26m (£1.12m) fine for advertising EthereumMax on her Instagram page.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission said the reality TV star had received $250,000 for advertising the cryptocurrency, without disclosing she had been paid to do so.

She also agreed not to promote crypto asset securities for three years.

Her lawyer said: “Ms Kardashian is pleased to have resolved this matter with the SEC.”

The lawyer said: “Kardashian fully cooperated with the SEC from the very beginning and she remains willing to do whatever she can to assist the SEC in this matter.

“She wanted to get this matter behind her to avoid a protracted dispute.

Kardashian, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr, basketball player Paul Pierce and EthereumMax’s creators were sued by investors in January.

The legal action alleged they had collaborated to “misleadingly promote and sell” the cryptocurrency in a “pump and dump” scheme designed to inflate the price before selling to investors.

EthereumMax disputed the allegations at the time.

In spite of its name, EthereumMax has no legal or business connection with the Ethereum cryptocurrency.

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UAE’s latest bet on tech: a ministry in the metaverse

The United Arab Emirates, which already boasts the world’s tallest skyscraper and has launched a bold Mars mission, now hopes to become a pioneer in the depths of the metaverse.

In a project launched at Dubai’s gleaming Museum of the Future, it announced that the UAE’s economy ministry was setting up shop inside the immersive virtual world that is now taking shape.

Those who don their virtual reality goggles or use other means to venture within will find a ministry open for business with companies and even ready to sign bilateral agreements with foreign governments, officials said.

The metaverse is an online world where users will eventually be able to game, work and study, its proponents say, although it is still in a “test” phase, the UAE’s economy minister conceded.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri was speaking at the inaugural Dubai Metaverse Assembly, held at the museum whose innovative ring shape decorated with Arabic calligraphy flanks the city’s main thoroughfare.

Representatives of tech giants mingled with entrepreneurs and developers exploring the potential of the metaverse, a network of digital spaces intended as an extension of the physical world.

“In the last couple of years we’ve seen investments, we’ve seen companies move in, and with the changes of the (visa) regime… we see talent coming in,” Al Marri said.

“We trained our employees to really immerse themselves in the metaverse, use the metaverse and engage with the Generation Z that is going to come,” he added.

The UAE, which has a history of bold projects including the 830-metre Burj Khalifa, hopes the metaverse can add US$4 billion to annual GDP and 40,000 jobs to its workforce by 2030.

In its bid to become one of the world’s top-10 metaverse economies, Dubai wants to attract 1,000 companies specializing in blockchain and related technologies, helped by eased visa rules for freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives.

As the coronavirus pandemic pushed more people into the online world, “Covid really accelerated” the trend, Al Marri added.

“We thought the metaverse is a phase technology” that might take 10 to 20 years to emerge,” he said. “Covid-19 really immersed us so fast and expedited the use of the metaverse.”

The UAE has already introduced a law governing virtual assets and a regulatory body for cryptocurrencies, while welcoming major crypto exchange platforms.

One of the UAE’s early private-sector metaverse projects is called 2117, named after the dream of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to colonize Mars a century from now.

Metaverse users can now buy tickets to join a virtual shuttle carrying settlers to the red planet.

“A lot of us won’t live long enough to see this mission with our own eyes,” said Amin Al Zarouni, founder of the Bedu start-up behind the virtual Mars trip.

“We’ll try to replicate this experience in the metaverse.”



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Popular Minecraft YouTuber Dream reveals face

Popular YouTuber Dream has for years been known to his fans only as a cartoon smiley face.

The Minecraft gamer, with 30 million subscribers online, only ever uses his voice in streams – albeit occasionally appearing on camera wearing a mask.

But all that looked set to change after his friends – and other YouTubers – posted videos apparently reacting to Dream without his mask.

He then posted a video revealing his face for the first time.

Minecraft is the world’s bestselling video game and Dream’s most popular videos have tens of millions of views, with one having been watched more than 115 million times.

“Hi, my name is Clay, otherwise known as Dream,” he said in a five-minute video viewed more than 12 million times.

With a friend moving to the US, where Dream is based, he wanted to be able to go out more, without worrying about leaks or speculation, he said.

“I’ve been bunkered up,” Dream said. “The people trying to leak my face, trying to find out what I look like… it’s just a tiny bit too much.”

His face would remain absent from his Minecraft videos, he said, but he may start making “IRL content” – set in real life – with his friends.

In the days leading up to his public reveal, Dream showed his face to several close contacts, asking them to post their reactions online.

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