Scientists in Singapore have created a virtual cocktail glass ©NUS Cute Center
Scientists in Singapore have created a virtual cocktail glass ©NUS Cute Center

From virtual cocktails to floating rooms: world of innovation

23 February 2018

Where supply chains make a difference


Can’t decide on a cocktail? Don’t worry. Use the virtual cocktail glass invented by a team at the National University of Singapore. Simply pour water into the glass, and you can alter flavours, colours and aroma via a phone app.


An eco-friendly alternative to cremation has been invented by UK firm Resomation. Its Resomator machine produces a process known as ‘alkaline hydrolysis’. Chemicals, heat and pressure dissolve bodies and bones in less than three hours and use less energy than traditional flame cremation.

The Netherlands

Plastic bottles keep these floating rooms buoyant. The pioneering City App units, from Amsterdam-based architecture firm Waterstudio, are solar-powered and can be used as homes, offices or even classrooms. The company is due to deliver floating units to flood-hit Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Gogo Chicken monitors chicks by way of an anklet. Developed by tech incubator ZhongAn Technology, it uses blockchain to log data on the birds’ movements and welfare, which consumers can then access via an app.



Broken bones are being mended using 3D printed ceramic implants that mimic real bone and allow regrowth. The artificial bones, trialled by scientists at the University of Sydney, hold bones together and encourage normal growth until they eventually dissolve.


Glass that can ‘heal’ itself has been developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo. Made from low-weight ‘polyether-thioureas’, if broken it can be returned to its original state when pressed together by hand at room temperature.


Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster site is being transformed into a solar farm thanks to a $1.2m project by Rodina Energy and Energparc Ag. The plant – in the evacuated zone – will make use of remaining power lines.


Humans are no longer needed to diagnose blood infections. Microbiologists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre have developed a microscope enhanced with artificial intelligence that can accurately diagnose blood infections. The smart microscope is equipped with machine learning capabilities. In initial tests it categorised 93% of samples using a series of 100,000 images from 25,000 slides it previously logged.


Crunching the numbers

5bn Items shipped worldwide in 2017 by Amazon through its Prime membership. The only other figure it has released on Prime delivery is $1bn of worldwide holiday-season shipments in 2016.

90%The percentage of US solar panels that are imported, largely from Asia, according to the International Trade Commission, who voted for Donald Trump imposing hefty tariffs on the imports.

24,000 The number of self-driving taxis Volvo has agreed to supply Uber, beginning in 2019. The deal between Chinese-owned Volvo and Uber is one of the first and biggest commercial orders for such vehicles.

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