Entries with tag national university of singapore.

Study: Software Piracy Costs Businesses Billions

Companies using unlicensed software ultimately cost other businesses worldwide billions of dollars in efforts to clean up malware distributed via pirated software and the resulting security breaches. The study—sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by market-research firm IDC and the National University of Singapore—estimated that in 2014, businesses worldwide will spend $491 billion on such remediation. Two-thirds of the cost, according to the report, will be “the result of organized crime—malware launched by financially motivated criminals.” The study forecast that governments will spend about $50 billion and individual consumers will spend $25 billion recovering from problems caused by malware-ridden pirated software. Buying a new computer doesn’t mean consumers are safe, as the researchers found that 61 percent of systems sold as new contained pirated software riddled with malware. (eWeek)(Microsoft)

Researchers Create Muscles for Robots

National University of Singapore researchers have developed artificial muscles that are strong enough to help power a robot. The muscles, created from electromechanically-active polymer materials, can carry 80 times their own weight and can extend to five times their original length when carrying a load. How much a muscle can extend contributes to its efficiency. In this case, the researchers say it means it could perform a wider range of operations while carrying heavy loads. Conventional robotic musculature can carry only half its own weight and extend to only three times its original length. And as the new artificial muscles work, contracting and expanding, the energy created could propel the robot by converting the mechanical energy into electrical energy.  (PhysOrg)(National University of Singapore)

Video-Search Technique Relies on Text

Searching video efficiently and effectively has long been a research challenge. Some techniques use text found in video—such as street signs or building names to find a specific frame or section of a video. However, recognizing text can be difficult because it could be occluded or could vary in size or orientation. A research team from the National University of Singapore and the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research developed a multistep automatic text-recognition process. The software uses image masks, which are used to isolate a portion of an image, to enhance the contrast between text and background, then employs an algorithm to find the text. The software then uses a technique called boundary growing to grow a text box that surrounds the line of text in the video to verify that the content of the box is indeed text. The researchers say they are trying to improve their software’s accuracy and ability to work with different types of text. They published their findings in IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology. (PhysOrg)(IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology)

Stable MEMS Pressure Sensor Developed

An international research team has created a miniaturized MEMS pressure sensor that is both physically stable and sensitive. As device sizes shrink, it is difficult to produce sensors with both attributes because the components are typically fragile and the circuit sizes are much smaller and difficult to design. The Singapore and South Korean researchers – from National University of Singapore; Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research; and Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea -- solved the challenge by creating a sensor with a stable diaphragm able to deform under pressure. Their sensor also contains a piezoresistor—which experiences a change in electrical resistivity when mechanical stress is applied—made from silicon nanowires. The change in piezoresististance in this device is caused by small changes in pressure that are transferred by the diaphragm to the piezoresistor. It is critical that the diaphragm retain its shape for the sensor to continue functioning. MEMS pressure sensors are used in applications such as oil-well drilling and robot-driven surgery. The researchers, who are also exploring the sensor’s use in an implantable medical device, published their work in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. (PhysOrg)(Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering)

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