A 3D-printed silicone heart ©stockbksts/123RF
A 3D-printed silicone heart ©stockbksts/123RF

World of innovation... From microchip implants to silicone hearts

1 September 2017

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


A silicone heart that beats almost like a human heart has been developed by researchers from the Functional Materials Laboratory. It was created using a 3D printing, lost-wax casting technique.


Workers at businesses in startup hub Epicenter can now be implanted with microchips the size of grains of rice to open doors, operate printers and buy food and drink with the wave of a hand. The implant uses Near Field Communication technology, the same as in contactless credit cards or mobile payments.


An aerial approach to tree planting could see BioCarbon Engineering plant 100,000 a day, cheaply, and in difficult to reach locations. Backed by drone manufacturer Parrot, the UK firm uses a drone to scan the topograph and fire seed pods into the ground, at a rate of one per second.


Smart glasses with a sensor that picks up the motion of skin when the wearer blinks could help those with limited or no mobility of limbs. The wearer could write messages on a computer using blinks to scroll through the alphabet.


Lighter, cheaper and safer helmets and armour have been developed by an Australian and Singapore partnership with the Australian Defence Materials Technology Centre. The Smart Think tech is “at the forefront of defence innovation”, said the independent ballistic testers.


A 20-storey twisting skyscraper that can absorb 130 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year has been completed in Taipei. The Agora Garden  building is filled with 23,000 trees and shrubs. The double-helix structure is modelled on a DNA strand.


A genetically modified banana with increased levels of vitamin A is set to improve the nutrition of millions of Ugandans, thanks to Queensland University of Technology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo has installed a vending machine dispensing shirts and lightweight jackets at Oakland International Airport in California to entice customers to the brand, which has struggled to penetrate the US market.

Crunching the numbers


Forecast annual e-commerce sales in Southeast Asia by 2021, up from $16bn in 2016, according to Frost & Sullivan. Amazon is expanding into the region with its launch in Singapore.

15 minutes

The average time it takes for Zume Pizza to deliver to a home in California. The company uses robots to assemble its pizzas in a warehouse and bake them in trucks roving around areas, waiting for orders.

44,625 tonnes

The amount of CO2 emissions that can be saved per year in transport by cutting the weight of washing machines, which are typically weighted by 25kg of concrete. A plastic container, filled with water once in place, can be used instead.

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