ICIUS 2012 was a landmark event in many ways. A technological first for SIM University (UniSIM) in that it brought together 160 delegates from 24 countries to debate on four technical tracks of research in unmanned intelligent systems ranging from tiny 100 g intelligent dragonflies which use flapping wing technology to swarms of flying unmanned vehicles mapping the terrain and features through every nook and cranny by continuously passing navigation information and map intelligence across wireless boundaries when each is inhibited by obstacles along the way.
In his opening address Guest of Honour and Singapore's Chief Defense Scientist, Prof Quek Tong Boon, showed a live demonstration of a multi-medium "gremlin". This robot can scale walls, perch on rough surfaces to conserve and recharge her power sources as well as fly. One would not have thought that intelligent fish robots could gather useful environmental/pollution data regarding the water quality in our open seas through the novel techniques of using ultra long wavelength acoustic signals rather than traditional radio waves to send data back to the base stations on land.
The technical wonders extended beyond the hallowed intellectual debates behind the closed doors of SIM's lecture theatres into the displays at the tentage area of SIM HQ adjacent to the Bamboo Garden. Here, robots that react to affective touches roam alongside a scaled formula 1 race track designed by the students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic. At the atrium and in the tentage area, ICIUS meets NED (National Engineers' Day). This year, for the first time in the history of the NED Finale, the Institution of Engineers' NED Committee decided to co-exhibit all NED exhibits with the ICIUS research exhibits at the atrium and tentage areas. In addition, the NED talks for young Singaporean students also took place on the second and third days of ICIUS 2012. This integration of ICIUS and NED, enabled our youth in the schools and polytechnics to intermingle with leading academics involved in unmanned autonomous systems research through exchanges of conversation at the exhibition areas, thereby giving these students an added opportunity to learn about leading edge engineering design in action and persuading some of them to embrace engineering as a career in future.
ICIUS 2012 and NED2012 also scored a logistical first in many ways. This is the first occasion which had an international conference run in conjunction with NED finale events and both the IES and UniSIM co-organised it with ISIUS, the international society of intelligent unmanned systems. Unlike regular conference events which are organised through contracted events management services, the entire event was run using only in-house staff from both UniSIM and the IES, thus enabling staff from both institutions to showcase their unique talents in managing such large scale events. Moreover, the delegates from the conference enjoyed a unique dinner party which was held in the MAJ Aviation Hangar in Seletar Aerospace Park. The delegates were treated to good wine and gourmet food, student cultural performances from SIM GE as well as an informative tour of the aerospace facilities of MAJ Aviation.
All in all, ICIUS 2012 and NED 2012, gave all who organised and participated in it, unforgettable memories that it was well organised (despite the scale and complexity), enabled new networking opportunities (IES is now working with ISIUS to forge a long term collaboration) as well as the latitude and scope for staff from IES and UniSIM to exercise ingenuity and creativity to solve complex management problems in events management.