President Tan gets a glimpse of 'smart future'

PHOTO: AFP

Imagine a home that can be programmed to detect viruses and monitor indoor air quality, and be equipped with mirrors that can sense vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is in Japan for a state visit, had a glimpse of the future at Miraikan - ("Future Museum") and the Panasonic Centre, which showcases the tech giant's innovations.

Dr Tan, who is on a nine-day state visit to mark 50 years of bilateral ties between Singapore and Japan, spent an hour each at the Panasonic Centre and Miraikan, also called the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

At the Panasonic Centre, Dr Tan toured a smart home with a kitchen where a teapot can be filled and water boiled on command, and a refrigerator that offers menu options based on what is inside.

The electronics company has also dreamt up a futuristic marketplace with interactive shop windows that can switch between transparent and image display modes, with smart lockers that can store food deliveries or other packages at specific temperatures.

Dr Tan, whose last visit to the Panasonic Centre was 12 years ago, wrote in a message before he left the showcase yesterday : "It was fascinating to see Panasonic's vision of how smart technology can be integrated into our daily lives."

Earlier at the science and innovation museum, which is led by former astronaut Mamoru Mohri, Dr Tan saw a mock-up of an International Space Station module and interacted with humanoid robot Asimo, designed and developed by Japanese firm Honda.

President Tony Tan's visit to Japan

  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (3rd L middle) and his wife Mary Chee Bee Kiang (2nd L middle) listen to their national anthem with Japan's Emperor Akihito (2nd R) and Empress Michiko (R) during the welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on November 30, 2016.
  • Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako look on schoolchildren waving national flags to Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (not in picture) during the welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (2nd L) and his wife Mary Chee Bee Kiang (L) listen to their national anthem with Japan's Emperor Akihito (3rd R front) and Empress Michiko (2nd R front) during the welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (R) receives the guard of honor during the welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan and his wife Mary Tan are welcomed by Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (2nd L) and his wife Mary Tan (L) are greeted by Japan's Emperor Akihito (C) and Empress Michiko, upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace for their welcoming ceremony in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam bows to national flags of Singapore and Japan as he reviews the guard of honor during the welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.
  • : Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (C) waves to Japanese elementary school children displaying Singapore and Japanese national flags.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (R) and his wife Mary Tan (2nd L) walk with Japan's Emperor Akihito (2nd R) and Empress Michiko (C) on the red carpet during a welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (L) and Japanese Emperor Akihito (R) walk together at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a special exhibition titled Power Of Culture at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam in a smart home exhibit at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo. The room in the photo is the living room.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a special exhibition titled Power Of Culture at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam in a smart home exhibit at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam in a smart home exhibit at the Panasonic Center in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam viewing a shop panel that can be toggled between a transparent window and an interactive display at the Panasonic Center's Wonder-Life Box exhibition.
  • Dr Mahmoru Mohri, a former astronaut and executive director of Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, welcomes President Tony Tan Keng Yam as he arrived at the museum Tuesday morning (Nov 29).
  • Dr Mahmoru Mohri, a former astronaut and executive director of Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, with President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Mary Tan at a mock-up of the space habitation module of the International Space Station.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Mary Tan view the Mission Survival: 10 Billion exhibit, which is a physical representation of the hazards facing the planet, including natural and manmade disasters at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation on 29 November 2016.
  • (From L to R) Former astronaut and executive director of Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Dr Mahmoru Mohri, President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, in front of the museum's Geo-Cosmos spherical globe that projects how Earth looks like from outer space, replete with almost real-time data of the changing weather patterns, at a resolution of more than 10 million pixels.
  • Singapore President Tony Tan (R) and his wife Mary (L) pose with humanoid robot Asimo for photographers before a big ball-shaped display showing the current earth at a science museum in Tokyo.
  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam watching a demonstration by a group that calls themselves the Superhuman Sports Society, which aims to develop measures that can help people with disabilities and the elderly lead active sporty lives.
  • Singapore President Tony Tan (C/R) and his wife Mary (C/L/blue clothes) look at display at a science museum in Tokyo

One of the museum's key exhibits is Mission Survival: 10 Billion - a physical representation of the hazards facing the planet, including natural and man-made disasters.

Another, the Geo-Cosmos spherical globe, projects how Earth looks like from outer space, with almost real-time data of changing weather patterns at a resolution of more than 10 million pixels.

Dr Tan watched a video on water conservation and Singapore's Newater water purification technology produced by the Singapore Science Centre with students from Nanyang Girls' High School.

He was also introduced to a group called the Superhuman Sports Society, which aims to develop measures that can help people with disabilities and the elderly lead active lives.

One initiative the group rolled out is a football tournament for those who are blind, using a ball that rattles. It is also experimenting with modifying equipment such as wheelchairs.

One of the group's members, University of Tokyo professor Masahiko Inami, said: "Japan is an ageing country. With this type of technology, we are trying to establish a new type of industry to assist elderly people and people with disabilities.

"Then, everybody can enjoy playing sports and exercise, and connecting with each other." Dr Inami also works at the university's Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology.

Dr Tan concurred, saying: "I believe this is very useful for Singapore which is ageing, to help old people to walk and to get around."


This article was first published on November 30, 2016.
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