By Michael Hoare
Pound for pound, Singapore is the city that could. When the World Intellectual Property Organisation released its 2018 study of the world’s most inventive nations in the Global Innovation Index, Singapore was fifth, ranked the best in Asia and ahead of the US, Germany and Canada. Here are five times this year that made-in-Singapore made headlines.
Creative Sim Wong Hoo’s Comeback
Creative Technology’s chief executive Sim Wong Hoo is a hero to geeks everywhere. The maker of the SoundBlaster soundcards in the 1980s, Sim burst back into global prominence this year, launching Super X-Fi. The technology mimics the way we hear multiple sources, recreating a lifelike 3D soundscape. Even sceptics rave about the award-winning headphones. Sim is back.
Singapore is a leader when it comes to ecologically sensitive construction. Its achievements in the field was recognised at the World Architecture Festival, regarded the “Oscars of Architecture”. Their best building for 2018? Kampung Admiralty. The HDB development in Woodlands integrates aged care, health care and transport into public housing that is as green as can be.
Power to the People
Professor Rachid Yazami is a researcher at Nanyang Technological University who has an invention that would enhance your social or professional life. He has created a device to restore the failing capacity of lithium batteries in a breakthrough that extends the life and usefulness of wireless tech devices. Imagine a handphone that lasts a day on a single charge, or a laptop that endures an all-day work conference. When his invention was revealed at the start of 2018, Professor Yazami said its greatest application would be on electric cars.
Answers to Big Questions
Some of Singapore’s brightest minds have found a region of the brain that regulates appetite and body weight. The researchers at the A*STAR Singapore Bioimaging Consortium have identified the Tuberal Nucleus in mice. It’s a weighty discovery that could help unlock an answer to the scourge of obesity – a problem linked to diabetes and hypertension, to mention just two diseases – that costs the Singapore economy at least US$400 million a year.
Lean, Green, Floating Machine
How you generate electricity matters if you have a lot of sea and water, but much less land. Singapore’s biggest solar power player Sunseap is floating solar panels in the Straits of Johor, covering an area of about five football fields. This is the world’s biggest solar platform at sea, generating enough juice to power 1,250 four-room flats, in another world-beating innovation with Singaporean roots.