The Collaborative Effort of Taiwan and India’s Science and Technology Innovation Center on Epidemic Prevention
To align with the New Southbound policy, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has been providing funding for academic institutions in Taiwan and their counterparts in South and Southeast Asian countries to establish “Science and Technology Innovation Centers (STICs).” Since 2017, 12 STICs have been set up in 9 countries.
In 2018, MOST subsidized National Chung Cheng University (CCU) and the Institute of Technology Ropar (IIT Ropar) to establish the Taiwan-India Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence in India. Soon after the pandemic broke out, the two institutions began cooperating on a new proposal for frontline pandemic prevention. CCU developed a “Smart Pandemic Prevention System” with three major features: automatic body temperature sensing, facial recognition, and contact history analysis. Jointly developed by professors and students in Taiwan and India, the system adopts the latest artificial intelligence technology, and has been implemented on campuses to effectively track footprint and ensure the safety measures.
In addition to employing the latest thermal camera technology, the system’s automatic sensing technology uses optimized software to accurately measure body temperature. This feature not only reduces the manpower required to measure people’s temperatures at each checkpoint on campus, but also reduces the risk of violating government regulations of social distancing.
The facial recognition system, which has been optimized to allow deep neural networks to recognize distinct facial features in Asia, has now effectively achieved facial recognition accuracy of over 90%. Due to the large number of users, the system performed relatively slow at first. Nonetheless, the issue was resolved by the joint effort of professors and students of CCU optimizing the software’s processing method and employing parallel facial recognition based on the number of processor cores. At present, this system being used on campus, displays a high recognition rate and ensures a high level of privacy. To address privacy concerns, the system uses Edge AI technology rather than putting the database online.
With the combination of the database assembled using the aforementioned technologies, the smart pandemic prevention system is capable of conducting community analyses of the school personnel’s contact history. Such a system could quickly and accurately determine the contact history of everyone who enters the university. In comparison, the advantage of university’s smart system is that even if the individuals do not carry mobile phones, it can still effectively record their locations and contact history.
Combining the above advantages, this smart pandemic prevention system has provided a good opportunity for innovative cooperation between Taiwanese and Indian academic institutions, which has benefited the faculty and students of the two universities. In the future, it is hoped that this cooperative model can be extended to other subject areas, including the prevention and control of pandemics in public areas.
In addition to the smart pandemic prevention system, the National Chung Cheng University CSR team has successfully invented bamboo vinegar products. The team assisted the India-based South Asia Bamboo Foundation in making bamboo vinegar and related products, including bamboo vinegar hand sanitizer used to stop the spread of disease. The natural bamboo vinegar hand sanitizer is manufactured using Taiwan moso bamboo by collecting high-temperature gas during its carbonization. The liquid obtained by condensation, standing, and distillation produces a distinctive natural smell. The sanitizer’s ingredients are gentle, leaving the skin feeling pleasantly soft and dry. This is yet another good example of Taiwan-India collaboration.
Department of International Cooperation and Science Education
Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)
Professor Shi-Ming Huang,
Taiwan-India Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence
National Chung Cheng University