SAF New Innovations Finally Allow Face Recognition for Attendance & Armskote

Image: Ministry of Defence Singapore YouTube

Military grade” is a pretty cool marketing term, since it makes things sound high quality.

The idea is that the military is the front line of defense for the country, surely they must use the highest quality materials right?

Slap “military grade” on a smartphone, and suddenly it means that the phone sounds like it can survive lava, being thrown under a tank, and probably require some kind of complicated log in process more accurate and faster than the ones we have in our consumer smartphones.

… at least in the United States.

In Singapore, put “military grade” on any product and most people would avoid it, because to us that means cheap and outdated.

I remember someone during my NS days asking why are we still using pen and paper to record things. The reply from the Sergeant was, “Pen and paper can’t get hacked, and is generally more reliable on the grounds”.

All the while showing “I don’t believe what I’m saying” on his face.

Image: Memegenerator

The days of “Chiong to wait, wait to Chiong” are over…?

If you’re unfamiliar with NS in the army, here’s a video we’ve done on the basic facts on this topic:

Okay, moving on.

A Digital Innovation Day, on 9 May 2019, by MINDEF and SAF, unveiled innovative technologies, such as bio-metrics for booking into camps and taking attendance and facial recognition for drawing weapons.

Image: Ministry of Defence Singapore YouTube

In a video, the fingerprint and facial recognition sensor is also used for the cookhouse, of all things.

Ah Hock loved Michelle and asked her, ‘Ai stead mai?’ in the 90s. Today, he tried again but would it work? Prepare some tissue paper and watch their love story here:

How it is in practice remains to be seen, though from the total unbiased video produced by the Ministry of Defence it appears to be pretty fast.

Much faster than pen and paper, for one.

No, you’re not reading old news. This is a 2019 article.

Of course, we’re all hoping that this would make the queue to outpro faster, because every NSman would know the queue is Hello-Kittied.

For the uninitiated, outpro means the moment NSmen finish their ICT and are scanning their NRIC / 11B to book out. There’s usually a long queue – so long, one of my colleague has queued for more than an hour before.

Draw Arms with Technology

Image: Ministry of Defence Singapore YouTube

Any NSman in the army would be familiar with “signing within the box” – whenever one draws a weapon, he’d have to sign on a box that’s so small, you’re essentially f***ed if your signature comprises your full name with a few emojis.

In the near future, soldiers can draw arms with their face – making signatures a thing of the past.

And yes, for people who’re not in the army: it’s 2019, and we’re still signing out literally.

One-stop Mobile App

There are about 40 new technologies on showcase, so those weren’t the only ones. There is also a one-stop app that can book camp facilities, check training programmes and report defects and hazards. Stagmont Camp in Choa Chu Kang is using the app on trial.

And of course, that is used for the cookhouse to, for you can select meals one week in advance and complete that post-meal survey.

It would appear that the cookhouse has applied food menu copywriting techniques, introducing to us menu “specials” like the Szechuan Special with Five Treasure Soup.

Image: Ministry of Defence Singapore YouTube

Does this mean cookhouse food will be Instagram worthy next? I asked all the NSmen in the office who are posted everywhere in Singapore, and none of them have eaten “Szechuan Special with Five Treasure Soup”. Unless that is another name for cai png lah.

Once again, no: you’re not reading old news. This is a 2019 article.

Purpose of new technology

According to Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How at the event, “MINDEF and SAF must leverage technology and adopt more digital innovation, in order to deal with the challenges of a shrinking National Service population and to better prepare against conventional and hybrid security threats.”

No, you’re not reading old news. This is a 2019 article.

Smart Workshops

This one isn’t really applied to the cookhouse, but servicemen can finally access digital manuals, vehicle repair status, technical faults, and ordering of spare parts through the use of interactive projections.

Image: Ministry of Defence Singapore YouTube

Despite greasy hands.

(Ok, this one is actually pretty new, but I still must remind people that you’re not reading old news. This is a 2019 article.)

The full list of innovations can be found in this fact sheet, or watch the video below:

In the meantime, I’ll be ordering Szechuan Special with Five Treasure Soup when I go to a cai png stall next time.