The Digital Maker Carnival at Tech Saturday (Upsized!) drew a big crowd interested in hands-on tech activities.
Young warriors donned augmented reality headsets to duel with virtual lightsabers in the Lenovo Star Wars Jedi Challenges exhibit.
By Janice Lin
Keeping up with the latest and greatest in technology always sounds like an arduous task.
But Tech Saturday (Upsized!) brought out the fun in doing so, and for many visitors, with the family in tow too!
Organised by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), this annual tech carnival for the family allows the public to interact and experience various emerging technologies and new innovations, including augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Held on 2 and 3 June 2018, the event featured many interactive exhibits by companies such as Lenovo, Micromaker and Tinkercademy to demonstrate to both the young and the young-at-heart how technology can positively impact the way we live, work, play and learn.
This year’s event – which is the fourth edition – was also the curtain-raiser for Smart Nation Innovations Week, a mega-event where over 13,000 local and international guests gathered under one main venue to discuss and debate about the disruptive technologies that are reshaping the world.
The Made-In-Singapore games corner was another star attraction at Tech Saturday.
And as its name suggests, Tech Saturday this year has been further “upsized” to showcase products and solutions from local tech start-ups, such as Sybo Tech Singapore’s Pebby, a Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled robotic ball that enables pet owners to play with their pets from anywhere and at anytime.
Meanwhile, games and prototypes made by students from several institutes of higher learning were proudly presented to let visitors experience what living in the digital age is like.
Tech delights on show
One such showcase was the Digital Maker Carnival, where students from primary, secondary and the Institute of Technical Education exhibited carnival games, which they created using the micro:bit, a tiny, entry-level, programmable micro-controller. Some of the students’ innovations included robots and arcade shooting games that are controlled by micro:bit-powered consoles and guns.
Mr Nick Tan, 50, was at the carnival with his young daughter, Yan Xi, and they both found the games fascinating. “It’s definitely interesting seeing what these young minds can create. I’m also glad my daughter can see for herself games and creations that were invented within schools by students, and hopefully take an interest in trying her hand at coding and programming,” he said.
Competitors prep to take on one of several tech competitions held during the event.
Other new features at this year’s Tech Saturday included the Lab on Wheels mobile exhibit. This IT-lab-in-a-bus is part of a programme that brings technologies such as AI and robotics to schools and communities in the form of interactive showcases, in an effort to ignite an interest in technology among the young.
Imagine two futuristic buses, one showcasing AI technology and the other immersive media, prominently parked in the exhibition hall for visitors to board and explore. No wonder there was a consistent queue for these buses.
Some visitors donned immersive media headsets to experience what it is like using such technologies, while others learnt about the many possibilities that AI brings to us by solving a series of escape-room-type challenges.
Mr Frederick Kah, 41, who visited the AI bus with his wife and two sons, shared that his family enjoyed seeing the possibilities that AI opens up in our daily lives, and appreciated that the exhibit helped debunk a number of misconceptions people have about the technology.
Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S. Iswaran, and Senior Minister of State Dr Janil Puthucheary, with the Broadrick Secondary team who created the Tap Tap Reflex arcade game.
He added: “It's really cool to understand more about AI. We previously thought AI was something that would take away our jobs, but here, we learnt that AI and robots can actually help us make our work more efficient, and even do dangerous jobs that we humans cannot do.”
As the doors closed on 3 June, it was confirmed that this year's Tech Saturday (Upsized!) this year was another major success, with more than 13,000 visitors joining in the fun over two days, many of whom left the event with big smiles and a deeper appreciation of disruptive technology.
Missed out on all the tech fun and excitement?
You can enjoy more snapshots of the various happenings on Tech Saturday, including some celebrity sightings! Check out the photo album on IMDA Facebook's page.
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