Accelerating community solutions with AI
By Jill Arul
After cleaning a bag of crisps, it’s not uncommon for well-meaning Singaporeans to mistakenly throw the wrapper into a blue recycling bin. After all, between egg cartons, plastic food packaging and glass bottles, it can be difficult to tell which waste should be recycled and which should not. However, this seemingly minor inconvenience has far-reaching consequences: when non-recyclables like soiled food wrappers and tissue paper end up in our blue bins, they can contaminate recyclables and disrupt the recycling process.
To combat improper recycling and other community concerns such as irresponsible cat feeding and noise at odd hours, while sparking an innovative spirit among Singapore’s youth at the same time, IMDA and Amazon Web Services (AWS ) have teamed up to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) boot camp.
Notably, this is the first of such programs that target high school and college students. Committed to igniting a passion for technology from an early age, the program is supported by the Digital for life movement that was started to encourage Singaporeans to embrace digital and enrich their lives with technology.
The first series of workshops introduced students to the concepts of data science tthanks to an autonomous racing car that learns to drive itself on a circuit. Students who showed talent and passion were able to deepen their knowledge and skills in AI and data science through a subsequent Accelerator program, where they learned the basics of AI programming and worked in group to develop AI-based solutions to address community concerns.
The Accelerator Program, a collaborative effort between IMDA, AWS, and the Tampines City Council, has also taken in students who did not complete the AI bootcamp.
Find out how the acceleration program enabled a group of four students, Project Requartech, to develop an application that sorts waste for you.
Step on the accelerator
Creative ideas don’t always come from the best professional talent in big companies. Often the most innovative solutions can come from passionate and inspired individuals at all levels. In keeping with the “tech for life” philosophy of the Digital for Life movement, the program proves that with the proper training and encouragement, anyone with an interest in technology and a talent for problem solving can be empowered to create quality digital solutions.
Realizing the power of passion and the potential of the cloud computing industry, AWS has partnered with Tampines City Council and IMDA to launch the AWS Accelerator Program and give students a glimpse of what’s behind it. the development of advanced technologies.
“The abundance of cloud-related jobs and the critical lack of digital skills was the inspiration behind this project. Our goal is to provide early exposure, access to mentorship, and hands-on training to young learners and builders who have the potential and the passion to become future cloud computing professionals, so that when deciding their future career, cloud computing related jobs are part of their consideration.
Mr Emmanuel PILLAI
Training and Certification Manager, ASEAN
“The program went quite deep into machine learning, so I was able to get quite a bit of new information from the lessons, including things like supervised and unsupervised machine learning as well as the convoluted neural network. While my high school provided me with a foundational understanding of machine learning, the program really helped me understand the complexities of this branch of AI.”
The path to the right to recycling
Faced with a choice between several municipal concerns, the team agreed that the confusion induced by recycling was a challenge they had all faced and that it furthermore had far-reaching consequences for our environment and our climate. So the team set to work developing a smartphone app that would allow users to identify recyclable materials with a simple touch.
With Project Requartech’s app, users take a photo of the item they intend to throw away and are then directed to a page with information about what type of item it is and what type of item it is. it can be recycled. “We thought the problem was widespread in Singapore, as evidenced by our country’s lower recycling rates,” said team member Jolynn Yeo. “The problem can be solved by raising awareness of the importance of recycling and by taking concrete steps to identify recyclable materials, such as with our app.”
Through the AWS Accelerator sessions, the team learned more about how deep learning and neural networks work, skills that were leveraged when designing their application. According to the team’s programmer, Bryan Lim, they used an AWS service called Amazon Rekognition to detect the type of element in an image and categorize it for recycling. Along with identifying whether the item is recyclable or not, the app also offers recycling ideas for users to make the most eco-friendly choice possible.
The team is already brainstorming ways to put their new knowledge gained from the workshops into personal passion projects.
“I learned how AI works and how I can use programs to create such tools. I feel like I can use it for future automation projects like hand gesture recognition. »
“We were impressed with the high quality of the Requartech team’s solution for determining which objects can be recycled, using AWS services like AWS Lambda and AWS Amplify, despite having no prior cloud computing experience. other than going through the six-month AWS cloud computing and Python training,” Pillai said.The fact that The Tampines City Council is seriously considering making some of the eight projects in the program a reality, which is a testament to the high quality of the submissions.
Working together, IMDA, AWS and Tampines City Council embody a true private-public-people partnership. The effort also highlights the impact of these partnerships for the benefit of the community. Individuals are inspired and empowered to embrace the vast technological possibilities available to them to not only improve the way they work, but also the way they live and play.
Do you have a project idea that can contribute to Singapore’s inclusive digital future? Click on here to find out how Digital for Life can help bring it to life!