Sep 09, 2004

NTU Students' Creative and Innovative Ideas Impress Data Storage Industry

Instead of looking at an advertisement for a brand new car in a magazine, imagine receiving a hologram of the car instead. One which you can view in its actual size and the colour of your choice, right in the comfort of your room.

If a group of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have their way, the day will soon come when we can store images, text and sound not just in an analogue medium, digitally and even in nano form but also in holographs as well. A holograph device will enable us to store, retrieve and transmit the holograms, radically changing the way we manage data now.

This and some 50 other innovative and fascinating data storage ideas make up the entries for a data storage competition organized by NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) and A*STAR's Data Storage Institute. Seagate Technology International sponsored all the prizes.

Called "Storage Unlimited in Consumer Electronics", this is the first such data storage competition, for novel design concepts of storage devices or applications, organized by a local university and a research institute and supported by industry. The competition requires entries with storage ideas that are creative, useful and with market potential. Participants were free to propose any devices or applications related to consumer electronics.

Deputy President of NTU and Dean of EEE, Prof Er Meng Hwa enthused, "The competition provides an excellent opportunity for our students to exercise their creativity and innovation to propose new ideas and solutions for the data storage industry. It is a wonderful way to nurture talented manpower for the high tech industry."

Some of the creative and innovative ideas submitted for the competition will be pursued further as research projects or final-year projects at NTU. A range of research options at NTU, such as the university-wide Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA), create a conducive environment and provide the resources for students to conduct and explore innovative research ideas.

Even in their conceptual stages, the entries have so impressed DSI and Seagate Technology International that DSI has committed to engaging the top three winners of the competition for an attachment with the institute while Seagate Technology has expressed interest in sponsoring future data storage competitions. Both are interested in making this competition a regular affair based just on the strength of entries received for the inaugural competition.

Says Prof Chong Tow Chong, Executive Director of the DSI, "With the rate information is created every second, and the resulting need for low-cost, small-form and portable storage, the competition allows for fresh, out-of-the-box ideas from our youth on how and where data storage can take place. They are the ones who have yet to be bound by perceived constraints that so often stymied the adults to think beyond the thinkable. Indeed, the quality of many of the entries in this competition is excellent."

Says Mr Jim Chirico, senior vice president and general manager of Seagate's Asia operations, "This competition is an excellent example of how Seagate can collaborate with government agencies and academic institutions to promote local creative talent. The emphasis of this competition is to come up with practical innovations and solutions that will benefit the storage industry in the long run."

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About Nanyang Technological University

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a top-tier university, ranked among the best science and technological universities in Asia. It has a business school that is consistently ranked among the top ten in Asia.

Established in 1991, the university has since been positioning itself to be a global university of excellence and is committed to its mission of Educating Leaders and Advancing Knowledge for Singapore and Beyond. NTU has an undergraduate and graduate enrolment of about 25,000 and an international faculty of over 1,500. It offers a broad-based curriculum, which focuses on the development of global views, entrepreneurship and adaptability, through the following schools:

1. College of Engineering, which consists of five schools:
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Engineering
- Mechanical and Production Engineering
2. Nanyang Business School
3. School of Biological Sciences
4. School of Communication and Information
5. School of Humanities and Social Sciences
6. School of Art, Design and Media (to be established by 2005)
7. School of Physical Sciences (to be established by 2005)

For more information, visit

About Data Storage Institute

The Data Storage Institute (DSI) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in 1992 as the Magnetics Technology Centre (MTC), it was renamed Data Storage Institute in 1996. The research institute's vision is to be a vital node in a global community of knowledge generation and innovation, nurturing research talents and capabilities for world-class R&D in next generation storage technologies. DSI is a member of the non-profit Information Storage Industry Consortium (INSIC) of USA. For more information, please visit:

About Seagate

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing and Consumer Electronics applications. The company is committed to delivering award-winning products, customer support and reliability, to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at