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New digital technologies on the centrestage

Sep 9, 2008

First Meta

After its incorporation in February 2007, First Meta launched MetaSavings and MetaCard - the world's first virtual-currency-denominated credit card.

'We work closely with renowned virtual world operators to help them manage their economies,' says Mr Douglas Abrams, 49, co-founder and chief executive officer.

Its clients include Linden Lab, the creator of the Second Life® world, which has a rapidly growing population of 'residents' from around the globe, who create and inhabit a virtual world of their own design.

'We are making history by being the first company to offer a complete suite of real-world financial services in virtual economies. We are creating the future because we believe that virtual economies will grow in size to rival real economies, creating tremendous social, economic and creative shifts over the next few years,' he says.

Co-founder and chief operating officer Aileen Sim, 25, says: 'Besides funding, IDM PO's public and industry events generated significant industry exposure for our company and our first round of international press attention from TechCrunch, BusinessWeek, CNet was largely the result of IDM PO's efforts.'

Straits Times RazorTV

The Straits Times RazorTV (ST RazorTV), so called for its 'cutting edge' open interface concept, is making waves in a unique convergence of Web TV, video entertainment and social networking.

The free interactive Web TV takes current news websites one step further by offering entertainment and lifestyle videos on-demand as well as 'live' streaming news content.

A first of its kind in the world, the mutimillion venture was made possible with substantial funding from MDA, says Mr Felix Soh, digital media editor for English and Malay Newspapers Division at Singapore Press Holdings, the company behind the innovation.

'Most importantly, MDA helped matchmake us with Ufinity, an experienced local software and hardware company, which we are proud to partner and create this cutting-edge but truly Singaporean multimedia solution,' he says.

The service aims to deliver content in a 'young, hip and informal talk-show style, with an edgy and raw treatment of news and views'.

'Instead of bulky equipment or tapes, you have memory cards and a one-step drag-and-drop editing process, which is easier, faster and more fluid than conventional linear editing,' says the editor of ST Razor TV, Eugene Leow.

The role of presenter, editor, journalist and radio DJ will also converge. On Aug 8, the new genre of TV went operational on a new five-year Niche TV Licence issued by MDA, which facilitates media companies to enter the local Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) market.

Singapore-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) GAMBIT Gamelab

The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab is a five-year research initiative between Singapore and MIT that sees over 200 students and 30 faculty and post-doctoral researchers involved in developing six or more games each year. Their task is to turn research concepts into playable implementations. Its executive director, Ms Teo Chor Guan says: 'The strong support from the government for both new start-ups as well as for students has made it possible for them to bring their ideas into reality.'

The second batch of tertiary stdents in Singapore presently on attachment at the MIT laboratory in Boston, USA, is working on the game 'Backflow', a networked mobile phone game that allows multiple players to engage in the game.

In its first year, Backflow - a project by students during the summer programme at Gambit Game Lab - has emerged as a finalist in the Independent Games Festival Mobile Competition for Best Game and Innovation in Mobile Game Design last year.

China-Singapore Institute of Digital Media (CSIDM)

Giving media research a boost is the Chinese Academy of Sciences' first overseas R&D lab - the China-Singapore Institute of Digital Media (CSIDM). Opening next year, the research institute will involve some 40 researchers from China working on Immersive Language Mediation technologies with the vision of helping 100 million people to communicate and learn Chinese and English.

Joint research projects will be conducted with the National University of Singapore on state-of-the-art human language technologies that can understand speech, text and gesture input, provide verbal and visual feedback where appropriate and translate where necessary.

This includes technologies for the understanding and processing of natural language dialogues, and for the translation and learning of English and Chinese.

Says Prof Xu Bo, director of CSIDM: 'We believe language and cultural differences are the main barriers to a true World Wide Web. This is not only a challenging R&D area, its success would also bring tremendous commercial potential.'

Keio-National University of Singapore Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments (Keio-NUS CUTE Centre)

Keio University, one of the top universities in Japan, has jointly set up an IDM research centre with the National University of Singapore. It is Keio University's first fullscale international research centre located outside Japan and will focus on connected lifestyle media and embodied interactive technologies. Keio-NUS CUTE Centre will be jointly funded by Keio University, NUS and the IDMPO.

Operational in the next few months, the research centre will focus its efforts in pervasive content for wearable and body media. It is based on the principle that digital computing devices and media will not just be confined to a personal computer or mobile phone in the future.

Source: AsiaOne, 9 Sep 2008

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Jimmy Wu
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