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Shifting to an innovation economy - page 11 / 16





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Commercialising the Malaysia Microchip

Anyone who has ever chipped their pet with an ID tag, checked in luggage at certain airports, sent a package via selected couriers or used an Oyster card on London public transport has benefitted from radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Radio waves transmit the identity of an object or person wirelessly in the form of a unique serial number. RFID technology does not require contact or line of sight for communication and signals can be read through the human body, clothing and non-metallic materials – unlike ubiquitous barcode technology. A typical RFID tag consists of a microchip attached to a radio antenna, which is easily concealed and incorporated into items such as credit cards, passports and official documentation. The possibilities for the technology are countless.

will replace the barcode. This is to simplify and speed up the process of identification. One of the biggest [baggage handling] applications right now is in Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Whenever you touch down in Hong Kong, your bag will be tagged by an RFID chip. There are many more potential applications such as road tax and the certification and identification of important documents and assets. All of this will bring in good volumes and lower the [chip] price.”

Senstech brings RFID technology from the lab to the market. The company is a subsidiary of MiGH , the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology, which promotes the development of applications to commercialise and fully utilise the capabilities available from the three Malaysia Microchip (MM) variations.

“We are building up the industry in Malaysia and then we will prepare to export. We are developing our own intellectual property (IP),” says Dr Azmi bin Hassan, managing director of Senstech. “The idea is that these RFID chips

“We need to have good collaborators because Malaysia cannot do this on its own. We have to work with our partners from overseas,” says Dr Azmi, referring to Senstech’s European and Japanese collaborations.

DR AZMI BIN HASSAN Managing Director of Senstech


USM’s approach is green, sustainable and humane

Students from around the world can take

advantage of USM’s unique educational plan

Sustainability and innovation are the buzzwords of today, but what do they mean exactly? And, in what context are they applied?

These are just a few of the questions that the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) sets out to address and fix. As the only Malaysian university to have received APEX (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) status, USM has full autonomy to choose its path and focus. Armed with such power, it is revolutionising higher education, forming an entirely new concept of what university studies should be like in this new century. This new concept is entirely based on a sustainable future, in which health, poverty and the environment are properly dealt with, and without the premise of profitability.

USM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak practices what the university preaches. “We are looking for industrial partners who are also very much into sustainable development [...] If there is

a corporation that does not subscribe to our values, we do not need to have a corporate presence of that nature,” he claims.

As for innovation, he believes that science must be reinvented. “The problems we see today, in no small way, could be attributed to the kind of science we develop,” says the vice-chancellor, adding, “Innovation has become a ‘one-size fits all’ concept. If people talk to us about moving up the value chain, we ask where humanity is in your value chain.”

Supporting Millennium Development Goals and the UN initiative on Education for Sustainable Development, USM has set its sights high on making a positive change both in Malaysia and abroad. Its unique approach to higher education attracts students from the UK, Commonwealth countries, Scandinavia and Japan. “Students come here to see what we are doing and how we synergise with the environment,” remarks Dato’ Dzulkifli.

World Report 11

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