S’pore’s first cloud-based laboratory for agritech opens in Republic Poly
SINGAPORE – Republic Polytechnic (RP) officially launched Singapore’s first cloud-based laboratory for agriculture and food technology on Friday.
Unlike in traditional labs, RP students and staff can remotely monitor experiments running at the Sustainable Technology and Analytical Research Laboratory and analyse data.
Speaking to media on Friday, Dr Lim Boon Whatt, director of RP’s School of Applied Science, said the facility’s analytical capabilities will support Singapore’s 30 by 30 initiative to produce 30 per cent of the country’s nutritional needs by 2030.
He said: “If we want to grow high-yield crops, we need to know exactly what is needed to allow optimum growth and one way to know that is to analyse the output.
“For example, whether vegetables produced are high in nutrient level and have sufficient vitamins.”
For instance, a team from the school has used the facility to help four local fish farms to develop a method to identify red snapper with the best genetic traits.
Having a cloud-based system also enhances collaboration, said Dr Lim, as farms that engage RP for batch analysis can access data remotely through a mobile app instead of having to go to the school.
The 3,000 sq ft lab, which was set up in partnership with Japanese precision instruments and medical equipment manufacturer Shimadzu (Asia Pacific), was officially unveiled on Friday on the sidelines of polytechnic’s Open House 2023 by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.
RP’s lab is the second cloud-based lab that Shimadzu helped set up. The lab at Singapore Polytechnic is for general applications, said Mr Prem Anand, executive officer and senior general manager of Shimadzu’s Analytical and Measuring Instruments Division.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation globally as scientists look to perform more work outside the lab setting, he added.
Instruments in RP’s lab are equipped with artificial intelligence, which can self-diagnose errors and allows Shimadzu to test new algorithms and software capabilities, he noted.
About 400 students each year from RP’s School of Applied Science diploma programmes will benefit from the facility, which will prepare them for careers in areas such as quality assurance and quality control.