Singapore's Changi Airport offers a fully automated experience ©Getty Images
Singapore's Changi Airport offers a fully automated experience ©Getty Images

Skinny pigs and twisting buildings - a world of innovation...

Where supply chains make a difference


Changi Airport’s new terminal four offers the first contactless experience for passengers. It includes check-in, passport control using facial scanning, cleaning robots and automated baggage vehicles.


Scientists at the University of Bath have created a plastic that doesn’t use harmful chemicals and is biodegradable. It is made by adding CO2 to a naturally occurring sugar at room temperature. It can then be degraded back into sugar and CO2 using only the enzymes found in soil bacteria.


Pigs with 24% less fat than normal have been bred by Chinese scientists, potentially saving farmers money for feed. Modern pigs lack the UCP1 gene, making them prone to fat deposition. A mouse version of the gene was used to clone pig embryos, which produced 12 healthy piglets.


Researchers have found a cost-effective way to make clean energy from water. Scientists from Moscow and the US used a combination of sunlight and photosensitive lipids (fats) to produce hydrogen fuel.

South Africa

Researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg have found a way to connect a human brain to the internet, turning it into an Internet of Things node. The ‘Brainternet’ works by transmitting EEG signals to a Raspberry Pi computer and live streaming brain activity online.


Catch the morning and evening sun? A shape-shifting skyscraper could dominate Dubai’s skyline by 2020. The 80-storey Dynamic Tower would have rotating floors attached to a central column, and would generate its own energy.


The first carbon-neutral eggs are being produced at a farm powered entirely by solar panels. Kipster uses chicken feed produced from food waste, and ‘retired’ hens are processed into high quality meat products.


Transparent solar panels could soon be available to use as windows in cars or homes. Scientists at Michigan State University have been working on solar cells designed to capture ultraviolet and near-infrared light that can enhance the efficiency of buildings, vehicles and mobile electronics.

Crunching the numbers

Number of parts procured by Boeing’s global supply chain to assemble each aircraft:

Boeing 737 – 400,000

Boeing 787 – 2.3m

Boeing 777 – 3m

Boeing 767 – 3.1m

Boeing 747-8 – 6m


The number of US stores Aldi plans to have by 2022. The grocer plans to win over Americans by offering fewer choices in exchange for price cuts, as part of a $3.4bn US investment.


The estimated total value of 37 trade deals struck between Chinese and US companies during Donald Trump’s Asian tour. The biggest deal, around Alaskan gasline development, was worth $43bn.


The number of new privately owned cars allowed on Singapore roads next year. The annual growth rate for cars will be cut from 0.25% because of land scarcity and limited scope for expansion of the road network.

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