The activities today were reasonably laid back and relaxed, as they were both specifically for tourists. In the morning, we visited Fusionworld, a subsidiary of A*Star that is designed to showcase some of the more ‘exciting’ recent scientific developments. We were shown various new technologies, including a computer game that is powered by brain wave activity and an interactive screen that is controlled using a laser pointer. I was particularly interested in the applications of these technologies. For example, the brain-wave game was designed specifically to improve the focus of children with ADHD, and there have been studies which have shown its effectiveness.
In the afternoon, we joined once again with international students in the Biodiversity Group, and together we visited Singapore Zoo. We were given a ‘behind-the-scenes’ pass, and we were educated on how the zoo functions in order to keep the animals happy and healthy, including feeding procedures, veterinary services and general zoo maintenance. In addition, we also had some time to walk freely around the zoo and visit all of the animals. As with the aquarium, I will let the photos describe this portion of the trip!
It has been a great day today as it was very relaxed and filled with fun in which we visited Fusionworld – Fusionopolis, and then the Singapore Zoo.
Fusionworld is similar to the Scienceworks museum in Melbourne where it displays new and exciting technology, however in Fusionworld it is all technology that has been created in institutes like A Star around Singapore. It was great to see products come from hard work at some of the institutes we visited and have them right in front of us. I hope that some day I can see products on display in a place like Fusionworld that I researched and worked hard on.
Some products within Fusionworld include a holographic display that you see upon entry, mirrors with cameras in them which can detect your gender and age and then display advertisements according to your profile, hospital beds that can non-invasively monitor your vital signs, video games that you control with your mind, and many other amazing products. I hope I can see some of these products in Melbourne in the not too distant future.
After the tour of Fusionworld was over they allowed us to go to the 23rd floor where they had a beautiful sky garden that was a great opportunity for some nice photos (See Gallery Above).
In the afternoon we met up once again with the biodiversity group and visited the Singapore Zoo for a behind the scenes tour. The first part of the behind the scenes tour was visiting the animal veterinary clinic where they treat sick and injured animals. The second part of the behind the scenes tour was where they prepare all the food for the animals. I did not enjoy this part of the tour as there was raw meat everywhere which gave of a foul smell. I was very happy to get out of there and be able to explore the zoo to see all the animals. A few of my favourites animals included the elephants, pygmy hippopotamus, white tigers, otters, and many others. See the Gallery above for some images.
Today we visited another subsidiary of A*STAR, Fusionopolis. The best description I can think of is a science works (the Melbourne kids science facility to engage young people in science) level of science, if not less, to try and engage and sell their services to possible investors of A*STAR facilities in Singapore. Admittedly it was entertaining to see some novel technologies I had never seen before like a game controlled completely on how well you could concentrate or a hospital bed that had sensors for heart rate, breathing and movement built in. The game that operated on how well you could concentrate was marketed towards primary schools, to help students that suffer from ADHD learn to concentrate and block out external distractions. Though these and other technologies shown to us were quite enjoyable the level of science explained and presented was very low, especially when considering they got us to skip the “kids” area which was filled with what appeared to be Tron like bikes. I can understand that this was all made to engage possible corporations that had a little understanding of science as well as school groups of kids, but if the level of science was that low, the least they could have done was let us go on the Tron bikes, they looked fun.
In the afternoon we got to meet up with the Biodiversity students again (the students from the aquarium trip) but this time at the Singapore zoo. We were treated to a behind the scenes look at the zoo which included the veterinary clinic, the animal’s kitchen and the roofs that seem to have a constant drip of bat feces coming from them, it’s the only way to explain the amount of poo in some areas. After that we were set free in the zoo to observe all the animals in their “natural” habitats which in general were large in size for most but I sincerely hope that the few zebras and the like het to rotate into bigger fields from time to time. To be honest I’m still not 100% sure how I felt about the elephant shows. On one hand they were entertaining and showed a way of life in south east Asia, on the other though I felt kind of dirty watching these animals move logs and do tricks like spinning their trunks and going to sleep on command for our entertainment. I guess though it would be good for the elephants to be able to get out and have some enrichment and variety to their day to day lives rather than being cooped up in an enclosure day in and day out.