A Sneak Peek at the
Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart
By Kayley Duval
I was wheeling through the Taipei International Airport searching for someone holding a card with my name on it.
I spotted a sign – “Kaely Dual.”
No quite right, but after a marathon journey that spanned the continental United States, the Pacific Ocean and the International Dateline, it was close enough for me.
My Taiwan hosts invited me to get a taste of the upcoming 7th annual Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart or INST. With attendance at more than 100,000, INST is one of the world’s largest invention, intellectual property and tech-transfer events in the world.
Taiwan is proud of its thriving economy, technological achievements and robust entrepreneurial culture. The Taiwan External Trade Development Council or TAITRA, founded in 1970, plays a large role in this.
The Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart is Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at the Taipei World Trade Center. Visitwww.inventaipei.com.tw
Sponsored by the government, with joint contributions from industry and commercial associations, TAITRA assists Taiwan companies boost their competitiveness internationally and helps foreign businesses establish a wider presence in Taiwan. It also puts on the Invention Show & Technomart.
The Taiwan government plays an active role in nurturing inventor/entrepreneurs. Its Intellectual Property Office even offers plane fare and lodging for Taiwanese inventors to attend tradeshows.
After some time to decompress from the long flight, first on the agenda was a meeting with TAITRA officials, who briefed me on the show’s history and introduced me to some of the innovations that will be on display at INST 2011.
The meeting convened in a conference room inside the Taipei World Trade Center. There were board games and a few other innovations spread across the circular conference room table, and as we walked into the room, one of the presenters was pouring hot tea for each of the guests. Having tea is customary in Taiwanese business meetings.
The left side of the table featured a game that allows players to use the economies of multiple countries. You move around a board with the roll of dice.
If you land on “Airport,” you can “fly” to another country, located on a separate board.
The game is called Magnate of World Property. It’s made of bio-degradable materials, which hews to this year’s Invention Show & Technomart theme of environmentally friendly innovation.
Another purpose of the game is to incorporate an educational aspect, allowing people to develop a better understanding of the geography of different countries and maybe even improve their understanding of international commerce.
He hopes that by developing games that include an educational aspect, people will be able to develop a better understanding of the geography of different countries and maybe even improve their understanding of international commerce.
Energy use and conservation are priorities in Taiwan. Eze-Light is a company that has committed itself to products that improve the human condition.
Company President Phile Yang particularly focuses on environmentally friendly products: renewable energy, natural energy sources, solar and electric heat application and, of course, energy-efficient lighting solutions.
They have developed light products that only require one-fourth the energy of competing products. They also have developed a solution to reduce the need for paper by utilizing POI Corrugated Board.
My favorite concept was its BVM Motorcycle, electric motorcycles that get their charge from batteries purchased from special vending machines.
Battery Vending Machines or BVMs would be located around town, maybe in the same location as ATMs.
Our Taiwan innovation tour included a stop at Compal Communications, home of the Robii, a robotic monkey.
Compal, founded in 1999, made its mark in the telecom handset business. But it’s redefining itself with Robii, an “edu-tainment” robot that projects a virtual display from a projector housed in its circus tent base.
Robii has the ability to sense touch, recognize and react to movement with more than 100 facial expressions and interact vocally with its user whether through a greeting or other voice commands.
Robii also has an interactive projection mode that produces a virtual display onto the desk/table-top of the user. This display has multi-touch display technology, allowing for the interaction with the images displayed on the desk.
I actually beat one of Robii’s developers in a brain-development game, proof that all that time I spend playing games on my iPhone hasn’t gone to waste.
But Taiwan and this trip wasn’t all fun and games.
No Taiwan innovation tour is complete without a visit to the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu, a quick bullet-train ride southwest of Taipei.
Founded in 1973, IRTI was responsible for Taiwan’s success in the semi-conductor market and has since become the country’s leading R&D and technology transfer hub.
For more than 30 years, ITRI has accumulated more than 10,000 patents, cultivated 70 CEOs and assisted in the creation of more than 165 startups and spinoffs. ITRI continues to focus on six areas: information and communications; electronics and optoelectronics; material, chemical and nanotechnology; medical device and biomedical; mechanical and systems; as well as green energy technologies.
The sprawling complex houses more than 6,000 researchers and support staff and remains a huge contributor to the Taiwan’s economic development. And its Taiwan Technology Marketplace, founded in 2001, helps researchers patent and commercialize their intellectual property. TWTM is affiliated with the Technomart division of the upcoming invention show, which has more than 300 booths.
The Taiwan tour included stops at several universities, which keep that country’s innovation pipeline brimming with new technologies.
Taiwan is justifiably proud of its inventing and entrepreneurial prowess. Together, the government, private industry and research universities have built a winning formula for technology and new-product development.
The rest of the world should be taking notes.
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