Minister Chan's Immersive Experience at SIT

At a recent visit to SIT, Minister Chan Chun Sing and a delegation from MOE caught a glimpse of how immersive virtual reality technology can be used to improve learning outcomes, and how food production quality can be improved at SIT’s Food Pilot Plant

On 27 August 2021, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) welcomed Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, and Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Second Minister, Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to SIT@Dover.


The afternoon’s programme began in the Boardroom with a presentation and discussion on the key initiatives, strategic focus areas and future plans for SIT.


Thereafter, the delegation was brought on a tour of the campus by SITizen Ambassadors.


Project Showcase: Gamification in Virtual Reality to Improve Chemical Engineering Learning Outcomes

The Research Centre for Immersification was the focus of the project showcase at Academic Plaza. Both Minister Chan and Second Minister Maliki were taken through an exciting immersive project led by Assoc Prof Jeannie Lee, Deputy Director, Research Centre for Immersification, which simulates a real-world industrial bioreactor in virtual reality (VR). A bioreactor is an apparatus for growing organisms (such as yeast, bacteria, or animal cells) under controlled conditions. It is used in industrial processes to produce pharmaceuticals, vaccines, or antibodies.


“By leveraging this immersive training environment, students can now hone their skills in pharmaceutical engineering processes by practising in a safe and contextualised environment while mitigating safety issues, high costs and otherwise limited access to such equipment for hands-on training opportunities,” shared Assoc Prof Jeannie.


It is hypothesised that by setting up an authentic context and environment using VR, students will still achieve the learning outcomes of performing operations in industry standard bioreactor setups and understanding cellular processes. The idea is that gamification will help integrate a user’s theoretical and practical understanding of the processes better.


Project Showcase: Virtual Lab-based Evaluation of Mobility Environment to Improve First/Last Mile Connections

Another exciting project that was featured was one which investigates the use of VR and AI to create tools to improve the evaluation of commuter experiences in their first/last mile journeys.


Led by Assoc Prof Tan Chek Tien, Centre Director, Research Centre for Immersification, the showcase focused on a VR Commuting Simulator that can gather live data whilst commuters perform commuting decisions in a HDB estate virtual twin.


“The idea of using immersive technology and AI to collect the data was mooted because traditional methods, such as on-site interviews and observations are often laborious and costly, with the data prone to confounding factors when commuter journeys are disrupted,” said Assoc Prof Tan. “This project informs the development of VR and mobile app-based tools that can be used to gather in-the-moment data in environments that are more reflective of real-world commuting.”


Food Pilot Plant Showcase

The MOE delegation was also introduced to the SIT Food Pilot Plant, which houses pilot-scale food processing equipment used to teach food engineering concepts and prototyping. Ms Poh Mei Chi, a Year 3 student from the SIT-Massey Food Technology programme, walked the visitors through her improvement project that she was working on as part of her Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). By applying Lean thinking and A3 problem-solving approach during her IWSP, Mei Chi investigated the root causes of rejected products at the company and implemented changes in processing equipment to reduce product rejection rate.


Following Mei Chi’s presentation, the MOE delegation was given an introduction to the Food Pilot Plant facility by Assoc Prof Wang Mei Yin, Programme Leader and Ms Lee Yen Yen, Senior Professional Officer. They gave a snapshot of how the Food Pilot Plant is utilised as an integral laboratory for the SIT-Massey Food Technology programme. “The equipment is used by our students for food product prototyping and scaling up in product development modules,” Assoc Prof Wang explained.


After the campus tour, the afternoon’s visit concluded with a closed-door dialogue session comprising both ministers, MOE staff and about 40 SITizen Ambassadors and student leaders.