Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering's (IMRE) new nano-engineered screen protector that turns the ordinary screens of handheld devices into 3D displays will be marketed by start-up, Nanoveu Pte Ltd. The unique plastic film can also potentially be used as next generation security tokens employed by banks and corporations.
Singapore, 02 April 2013 - Ditch the 3D glasses. Thanks to a simple plastic filter, mobile device users can now view unprecedented, distortion-free, brilliant 3D content with the naked eye. This latest innovation from TP and IMRE is the first ever glasses-free 3D accessory that can display content in both portrait and landscape mode, and measures less than 0.1 mm in thickness.
"The filter is essentially a piece of plastic film with about half a million perfectly shaped lenses engineered onto its surface using IMRE's proprietary nanoimprinting technology," said Dr Jaslyn Law, the IMRE scientist who worked with TP on the nanoimprinting R&D since 2010 to enhance the film's smoothness, clarity and transparency compared to other films in the market.
To complement the filter, the team developed applications for two software platforms, Apple iOS and Android, which allow users to play 3D content through its filter, in both landscape and portrait formats. The applications also allow 2D pictures taken using mobile devices to be converted into 3D. The team will be releasing a software development kit that enables game developers to convert their existing games into 3D versions.
The team is also exploring using the same technology for security access tokens to decode PIN numbers sent online as an inexpensive and portable alternative to rival bulkier and more expensive battery-operated security tokens, similar to those used by Singapore banks today.
"The team's expertise in both hardware and software development in 3D technology has enabled high quality 3D to be readily available to consumers," said Mr Frank Chan, the TP scientist who led the overall NRF-funded project. "We have taken age old lenticular lens technology that has been around for the last hundred years, modernised it and patented it using nanotechnology." Lenticular lens technology creates a transparent film that retains the brilliance of 3D visuals and effects, which does away with the need for stronger back lighting and saves on battery consumption in mobile devices.
"The successful development of this product is indeed testimony that we have been able to bridge the gap between R&D and commercialisation in the area of 3D interactive digital media (IDM), aided by the NRF Translational R&D Grant and gap funding from A*STAR," said Mrs Lay-Tan Siok Lie, Deputy Principal of TP.
The two-year project was initially funded under a National Research Foundation (NRF) Translational R&D Grant in Dec 2010 to look at optimising the control of the nanostructures and integrating its effects with the complementary software applications. The team has since shifted its focus towards commercialisation with support from Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), A*STAR's technology transfer arm and a one-stop resource that brings together home-grown technology, funding, collaboration and networks to assist A*STAR spin-offs and start-ups.
"Our breakthrough is a game-changing piece of plastic that simply fits onto current smartphones or tablets to give users breathtaking 3D graphics on their smart devices. This removable plastic also opens up a multitude of opportunities for anyone wanting to create affordable premium 3D content and games for quick adoption to existing portable devices easily," said Nanoveu Pte Ltd Founder and CEO, Mr Alfred Chong. The start-up is licensing the technology exclusively from ETPL and TP, and is currently securing the interest of local and overseas customers and investors.
"The success of this project is typical of what IMRE aims to do - innovate and turn science into an exciting business opportunity. I'm glad this has given us products that make life just a little bit more fun," said Prof Andy Hor, Executive Director of IMRE.
Annex A - Corporate Profiles
About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The Institute has capabilities in materials analysis & characterisation, design & growth, patterning & fabrication, and synthesis & integration. We house a range of state-of-the-art equipment for materials research including development, processing and characterisation. IMRE conducts a wide range of research, which includes novel materials for organic solar cells, photovoltaics, printed electronics, catalysis, bio-mimetics, microfluidics, quantum dots, heterostructures, sustainable materials, atom technology, etc. We collaborate actively with other research institutes, universities, public bodies, and a wide spectrum of industrial companies, both globally and locally. For more information about IMRE, please visit www.imre.a-star.edu.sg.
About Exploit Technologies (ETPL)
ETPL is the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its mission is to support A*STAR in transforming the economy through commercializing R&D. Formerly referred to as Exploit Technologies, the organisation enhances the research output of A*STAR scientists by translating their inventions into marketable products or processes. Through licensing deals and spin-offs with industry partners, ETPL is a key driver of technology transfer in Singapore. It actively engages industry leaders and players to commercialise A*STAR's technologies and capabilities, bridging the gap from Mind to Market. ETPL's charter is to identify, protect and exploit promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR's research institutes. For more information, please visit http://etpl.sg
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore's manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories. Please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.
About Temasek Polytechnic
Temasek Polytechnic (TP) is a significant contributor to the field of para-professional education in Singapore. TP currently offers 52 full-time diploma courses in the areas of applied science, business, design, engineering, humanities & social sciences and informatics & IT. It also offers over 40 part-time courses, up to the advanced diploma level. TP students undergo a holistic learning system that combines hands-on experience, character education and relevant life skills, in an enriching learning environment. The Polytechnic has also infused global realities into its programmes and developed a mindset on campus that embraces socio-cultural diversity. These approaches ensure that TP graduates are economy relevant, future relevant and life relevant. For more information, please visit www.tp.edu.sg.
About Nanoveu Pte Ltd
Nanoveu is a leading provider of thin film based nano structures that can shape our vision when viewed through modern day, high resolution smart devices. Using a patent pending process of manufacturing, Nanoveu's breakthrough is in delivering distortion free 2D/3D videos, photos and games on smartphones and tablets. Its security product, Veuflex offers unprecedented patterning combinations through sub-pixel manipulation and a visual key that cannot be detected by the naked eye. Nanoveu is a key enabler for a new generation of low cost alternative to privacy films, 2-Factor authentication replacement, Glasses free 3D on smart devices and Visual encryption. Please visit www.nanoveu.com for more information.