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Singapore start-up wins accolades

Veronica C. Silva | Dec. 14, 2011
Government-supported iTwin project is recognised for innovation.

A government-funded project has been earning accolades for a Singapore start-up company for its new easy-to-use device that may soon replace other external portable devices in the market.

The plug-and-play iTwin device won for the company a spot in Popular Science magazine's list of top 100 new tech products. The device was featured in the December issue of the US-based magazine. In November 2011, the device also won the "Best of What's New Award" by the same magazine in the computing category.

The USB dongle stick composed of two parts makes file transfer between computers easy by simply plugging one part into one computer, copying the files, and then plugging the other part of the USB into the second computer. The USB drive doesn't store data so there is no confusion as to which file is the updated copy, iTwin Inc. said.

The device, which runs on the Apple and Windows platform, needs an Internet connection as it is a data access device. The company also claims that there is no limit to the amount of data to be transferred, but that the storage limit is in the computers where the files will be stored.

iTwin also assures that data is safe with the remote disable feature.

Research

The device was invented to solve a problem for iTwin co-founder and CEO Lux Anantharaman.

"Two years back, I wanted to check on some personal investments and finances that were stored on my computer at home. I was at the office and I realised that there was a need for a simple and secure remote file access solution. The secure stuff was way too complicated to configure, and the simple stuff was way too insecure. That led to the invention of iTwin," said Anantharaman on the company website.

The device was developed in the laboratories of the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore's lead agency for encouraging scientific research. Anantharaman then was a scientist in I2R.

Exploit Technologies, the commercialisation arm of A*STAR, then funded the development of a marketable prototype and helped Anantharaman develop a viable business plan for the product. The prototype was introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2009.

Commercialisation

The device was commercially launched in October 2010 and is now available in the US (through Best Buy, Staples and Amazon), Italy and the UK, aside from Singapore. It currently supports English and Italian languages but the website said support for the German language will also be available soon.

"The success of iTwin showcases the creativity and entrepreneurship of our researchers in I2R," said Professor Lye Kin Mun, executive director, I²R. "Their determination to make iTwin a success, as well as their ability to provide real-world solutions that are simple and yet powerful for users is indeed very encouraging for us. I wish iTwin all the best in its future success! "

 

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