DPM Heng goes into Star Wars, Transformers fan mode to explain new tech

The force and the Autobots are certainly with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Recently, in the month of May, he used iconic characters from both Star Wars and Transformers to explain two new technologies he witnessed during his visits to the community and industry.

Temi – the aspiring R2-D2

In a Facebook post on May 28, 2022, DPM Heng said that he met a certain Temi at Heartbeat@Bedok and described her as an “aspiring R2-D2 or BB-8 for younger Star Wars fans”.

Here’s Temi.

Temi’s usual habitat is in the hospital but was at Bedok to demonstrate how robots can wirelessly interface with each other, lifts or other electronic objects using a common standard called TR93.

Temi, a joint initiative between Changi General Hospital, CapitaLand Investments and life manufacturer KONE, also brought DPM Heng on a tour around Heartbeat and called the lift to move up a floor.

“We are a long way from producing R2-D2 and BB-8, who can seamlessly operate around humans (and Jedis) and in almost any environment. But Temi and TR93 are steps in the right direction. Here at East Coast, we continue to innovate and create a more vibrant environment. I look forward to more robots operating safely and seamless in our midst,” wrote DPM Heng.

Check out R2-D2 – we mean Temi – in action:

Optimus Prime?

From the Star Wars Universe, we crossover to the land where another epic war of light vs dark wages on: It’s the Autobots against the Decepticons in Transformers.

Ok not really, we are still in Singapore.

DPM Heng visited Illumina – an American biotech company that provides solutions in the field of life sciences – on May 26 and met Optimus Prime.

No, not this Optimus Prime.

Credit: Transformers Facebook page

This one:

See top left corner

While not as humongous or flashy than the real Optimus Prime, this version is pretty cool in its own way: it’s a fully automated DNA sequencing reagent machine by Illumina.

And get this, it’s built right here in Singapore.

There’s more.

DPM Heng added that more than 90 per cent of the world’s sequencing data is generated using Illumina instruments, and many of their machines are actually produced here in Singapore.

Besides meeting Optimus, he was also there to witness the partnership ceremony between Precision Health Research Singapore (PRECISE) and Illumina, as the Government seeks to transform precision medicine – a field that provides targeted care and treatment for individuals based on their genetic, lifestyle and clinical data – in Singapore.

DPM Heng said that to develop it, there’s a need for a “sufficiently large and representative database of our population”.

Thus SG100K – a recruitment drive that aims to find 100,000 Singaporean volunteers for a multi-ethnic, longitudinal study.

He added: “This partnership is important to generate the whole genome data for each SG100K participant. By joining forces and tapping on each other’s strengths and expertise, we are better placed to deliver on our shared ambitions for a healthier Singapore, and to demonstrate the value of precision medicine in Asia.”

Cover photo credit: Heng Swee Keat, Star Wars and Transformers Facebook pages