The Human Interface Technology Laboratory Australia (HIT Lab AU) is in the early stages of development at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. As with HIT Lab Singapore it is being built around an existing research centre, the Wearable Computer Laboratory in the Advanced Computing Centre at the School of Computer and Information Science. The Director of the Lab, Associate Professor Bruce Thomas, has close research links with the other HITLab participants having been a visiting scholar at the HIT Lab US and close working relationships with Associate Professor Adrian Cheok at NUS and Associate Professor Mark Billinghurst of HIT Lab NZ.
The Wearable Computer Laboratory at UniSA has been lauded for its work on outdoor augmented reality. An outdoor version of the computer game QUAKE has been developed utilising a wearable computer, outdoor augmented reality tracking and GPS. The game allows users to walk around and shoot the ‘enemies’ in the game while using real buildings and other objects as part of the game.
5.2 HITLab Asia Pacific Once the HITLabs (US, NZ, Singapore, Australia) are all underway, we envision that the four labs will form a joint venture designated as the HITLab Asia Pacific. The purpose of this ‘meta lab’ is to combine talent, expertise and intellectual property to build a world-wide entity to leaverage significant investments from respective governments and mutlinational corporations and to work on projects that span and combine the expertise of all labs. Figure 2 shows the cluster of Labs forming the HITLabAP wherein each Laboratory functions autonomously, but integrates resources at the Consortium level and shares IP with the other participants.
Figure 2: Configuration of HITLab Asia Pacific
The guiding principles of the HITLabgAP are the following:
Development of human capital in the Asia Pacific region
Autonomy of laboratories in setting up and conducting own research agenda
Platform for joint venturing and international project development
Sharing and grouping of IP so as to build strong licensing potiential
The HITLabAP will also formulate an Asia Pacific network testbed to demonstrate and evaluate advanced human interface and telecommunications technology that afford secure collaborative environments. This network will concentrate on developing platform technologies and applications that drive the digital pulse of the 21st century. It is anticipated this activity will embrace and build upon the Medici platform technology currently initiated in New Zealand and mentored by the HITLabNZ.
Additionally the HITLabAP will develop exhibitions of the HITLab technologies that showcase the elements of the creative industries. It will also promote the development of creative tools and sponsor projects that integrate creative arts into the technology development process. We also intend to provide opportunities for talented developers to showcase their work and present a wide portfolio of talented candidates for local operators. The HIT LabAP will hold events such as the Independent Mobile Games Competition would present the best opportunities for both talented developers and operators who are looking for attractive and compelling applications/services to meet each other.
We also feel obligated to educate and train up Gen-Y on mobile entertainment applications development and foster a new creative synergy for the group. The primary target audiences for mobile entertainment applications/services are teens and young working professionals, generally known as Generation-Y (Gen-Y). Gen-Y would be the primary target group that fits in nicely, and they would be the best bet to come up with new applications/services that are
attractive to them. HIT Lab AP will organize many joint-school events and academic trainings for this target group with the aim to enable them to actually create simple applications/services and in turn fuel a new development force/community on Mobile Entertainment.
In each of the regions of HITLabAP operation, we will work together to create rewarding and exciting career opportunities for local university students in Mobile Entertainment (among others). (It should be noted that this application area is perfectly suited for Singapore's environment.) The local employment market would also receive huge benefits from thegrowth of such a new and promising industry. By providing training to local university students and equip them with the latest knowledge and understand on Mobile Entertainment, fresh local university graduates can immediately contribute to this booming area.
The HITLabAP will supply Singapore with the technologies that will be at the digital heart of many of Singapore’s emerging sectors including Digital Exchange, Digital Entertainment and Digital Media, Digital Culture as well as adding value to Biomedical and Biotechnology initiatives. In the nexus of interactions between biological systems and machines heralded by many world scientific leaders as the next major Digital Disruption the Hitlab Asia Pacific Network will provide an early stage technological advantage to Singapore by exploring the key enablers and early commercial applications of the emerging Bio-intelligence Age.
As the complexity and scale of new technology development becomes larger, developing new products and services will increasingly be undertaken in large multidimensional distributed teams. We are already seeing this trend with many large MNC’s running projects across Singapore, USA, New Zealand and Australia. With its global reach the HitLabAP will be able to market to large companies at a scale that is truly Asian Pacific in it’s focus.
Depending upon the interest and forthcoming support for the HITLabAP, it is envisioned that the headquarters of this organization could be centered in Singapore. As such the HITLabSG can become the premier Asian centre in the network (HitlabAP) that is designed to be a high value economic development engine with effective technology transitions from the lab to the marketplace while also nurturing a talent pool of new digital age scientists, artists, technologists and technopreneurs.
5.3 Value added opportunities Adding value to the initiatives outlined above is involvement with other projects being developed by the HITLab Partners that can also be added to the mix in a phased manner. These include the development of a Digital Trade Route between New Zealand and Seattle that could be extended to Singapore, and the NZ $25 Million project mentioned above that is being led by HitLabNZ.
Combined with a team of young and emerging world leading scientists from Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the USA and a consortium of both MNC’s and indigenous companies these initiatives will help propel Singapore into a world-leading centre in the age of Digital Disruptions.
Human Interface Technology Institute
The long term vision of the HITLabAP is to evolve into world institute that can be located in Singapore where the world experts meet and work toegether. Such an institute would have 100-300 scientists and engineers who invent the future of the symbiotic relationships of humans and computing machines. Details of this vision will be developed as the organisation of the HITLabSG and HITLabAP are completed.
6.0 References  Annual Computer Industry Almanac, 1996. Computer Industry Almanac, Inc. c.1992-
 Kurzweil, R. The Age of Spiritual Machines. Viking 1999.