A world of innovation – supply chains at work

26 August 2016

Supply Management takes a look around the globe to highlight where supply chains are making a difference...


 Money for the government’s £60m investment in the Sabre rocket engine is starting to be released. Sabre burns hydrogen like a rocket motor but in air drawn from the atmosphere, like a jet turbine. Reaction Engines hopes it will be used to propel future spacecraft and hypersonic airliners.


A 10-employee start up in Udine has produced a solar-powered machine that can bring purified water - and wifi - to anywhere on earth. Watly is a 15-ton, 130ft computer that uses energy from 80 solar modules to provide wireless coverage or power other devices.


A study by Hyperloop One, FS Links and KPMG claims a 300-mile trip from Helsinki to Stockholm could be completed in 28 minutes via a system that propels travellers inside the Hyperloop tubes experiencing the same g-force as F1 drivers.


The root structure of grass species changes under drought stress conditions to preserve the limited availability of water in the soil, according to innovative research from Stanford University. Grass plants include many critical food staples such as rice, maize and wheat.


The world’s first 3D-printed house has been constructed in Beijing's Tongzhou district. The two-storey building was apparently completed in only 45 days thanks to non-stop printing. Architects say may mark to lead a home-building revolution.


An anti-malarial drug made from natural plant extracts has won this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa. Api-Palu, made by Dr Valentin Agon from Benin, won the IPA $100,000 grand prize in Botswana. His product has already hit the market in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and the Central African Republic.


Balmuda, a small appliance maker in Tokyo, has turned a toaster into a high-tech gadget. It uses steam and carefully calibrated heat cycles to grill the perfect slice. There’s currently a three-month wait for the $312 device.


Crunching the numbers:


The price ARM Holdings accepted for its sale to Japanese tech giant SoftBank. Its microchips are used in Apple and Samsung smartphones among others and in 2015 it sold 15bn of them.


The year-on-year increase in French foie gras prices. It follows the country’s decision to temporarily ban production for three months between May and August after an outbreak of avian flu.


The average time players are spending walking around using Pokemon Go. There were 15.3m tweets about it in its first week, more than the 11.7m for Brexit in the week of the UK referendum.

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