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  • Cheryl Tan

Tech Round Up Week 5 April 2020: Singapore Uses Robots To Fight Covid

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

We have news that’s closer to us here in Singapore this week, with robots used to help in circuit breaker measures, WhatsApp allowing up to 8 people in video calls and more.

Previously, Whatsapp only allowed you to video call up to 3 people, which means having 4 people in a video call at one time. With its latest update, you can now have up to 8 simultaneous callers. All WhatsApp video calls have secured end to end encryption to ensure the privacy of your calls.

This is a great development for the in-app video calling feature. The update is released at a prime time where more and more people are virtually communicating with their family/friends amidst the global pandemic, making WhatsApp a viable option next to popular apps like Facebook, Zoom, Skype and more.

Many companies are coming up with new features in their apps to combat the popular video calling app Zoom. Facebook is one of them, announcing that it will be releasing some new features, one of which is the Messenger Room. Messenger Room allows up to 50 users to video-call at once.

The room creator can choose to add participants or keep the room public. Facebook says that the new feature is built with safety and privacy when they communicate with their friends/family. Messenger Rooms are accessible via Messenger or the Facebook App. It will be launched in some countries first before having a worldwide roll-out.

Despite Wifi 6’s premature stage of a blowout, the development of the next in line, Wifi 7, is already on its way. Reports mention that Wifi 7’s maximum transmission rates can reach 30Gbps which is three times the maximum rate of 9.6Gbps for WiFi 6.

Developers also have plans to launch the CMU-MIMO technology that supports up to 16 data streams, 8 lanes to 16 lanes, proper interstellar highway, etc. In addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Wifi 7 will also support the 6GHz frequency band and it will also be using a 4096-QAM signal modulation method.

Robots are now being used to ensure even more stringent social distancing. With Changi Exhibition Centre now being converted to a community isolation facility, food is distributed by STEngineering STrobo Tug robots. That’s not all, with PUB also deploying a talking autonomous robot to patrol Bedok Reservoir park and remind runners to keep a safe distance from one another.

The robots will also be deployed at Pandan Reservoir and MacRitchie Reservoir. Aside from just social distancing, sanitation is important too. More than 200 UV disinfecting robots made by local robotics firm PBA Group will be deployed by the end of the year to help fight the COVID19 pandemic.

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