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3D PRINTED FOOD

Newest kitchen appliance prints healthy meals using fresh ingredients

BENDABLE BATTERY

New aluminiumion battery may replace lithiumion & alkaline batteries in the near future

ITEX 2016 RETURNS WITH A FRESH APPEAL Vol 2 / No.1 / 2016 / RM10.60 ISSN 2289-9308

POWERED BY

KDN No PP18559/08/2014/(033967)

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ITEX 2016 Returns with a Fresh Appeal

This exhibition, which returns for the 17th year, will again feature a groundbreaking 1,000 inventions.

The 2015 Nobel Prizes For Medicine & Chemistry

Three people win the Nobel Prize for Medicine while another three bag the Prize for Chemistry.

Ghost Particles – The Quest For Neutrinos With Mass

Another Japanese wins the Nobel Prize for Physics two years in a row.

The new aluminium-ion battery could replace lithium-ion and alkaline batteries in the near future.

20 Bridging Invention into

Innovation

Bridges not only connect landmasses separated by water but also connect cultures and ideas and some, like the Jambatan Kedua, or the Second Penang Bridge, even connect a region’s past with its future.

22 The Inventor’s Dilemma

26 Seaweed That Tastes

Dato’ Vincent Lim, President of C.I.S Network Sdn Bhd

SUPPORTED BY Asian Caucus of Invention Associations (ACIA)

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Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia’s Hot Invention Picks

18 Bendable Battery

PUBLISHErs Academian Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Augustine Ong Soon Hock, President of Malaysian Invention & Design Society (MINDS)

A look at options for inventors and researchers regarding patent rights for the invention, keeping the details of the invention confidential, and publishing the details of the invention.

Imagine eating Dulse, a type of red seaweed that tastes like bacon when fried, minus the cholesterol and fats.

For a Cleaner, Healthier Environment The SEERS Hybrid Hot Water System is the world’s first ecofriendly hybrid technology with only 12-volt dc power.

Growing Trees into Furniture & Art

Combining modern technology with ancient techniques, a British designer has come up with an eco-friendly way to create furniture – using moulds to guide branches into chairs, tables and sculptures.

POWERED BY Invention & Innovation Exhibition Malaysia (ITEX) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Academian Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Dr Omar Abdul Rahman EDITORIAL ADVISOR Academian Tan Sri Emeritus Professor, Datuk Dr Augustine Ong Soon Hock EXECUTIVE EDITOR V.S. Ganesan EDITOR Sharmila Vella EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Dr Leo Ann Mean, Academian Datuk Hong Lee Pee, Janice Gan, Stephen Poon, V. S. Ganesan, Yuhanis Latif Invention Asia is produced by

HMS Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd (609031-W) W-9-12, Menara Melawangi, Amcorp Trade Centre, 18, Persiaran Barat, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 603-7932 3259 Email: harini.mservices@gmail.com

Director N. Premala

33 Battleground &

Consultant V.S. Ganesan

Advertising Consultant Faridah Ismail

Playground

How to Develop and Harness Intelligent Design for Social Innovation.

36 Asia’s Innovative

Companies

Sharing the limelight are Sime Darby, Malaysia; Siam Makro, Thailand; Alibaba, China; and Panasonic, Japan.

Profile

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24 3D Printed Food

like Bacon

The newest kitchen appliance called the Foodini, is designed to print edible, delicious, healthy meals using fresh, natural ingredients.

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Recognising Two Academics

Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Dr Augustine Ong was one of two academics conferred honorary degrees by the University of Nottingham.

CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Goh Wei Lee

Malaysian Invention And Design Society (MINDS) C-3A-10, 4th Floor, Block C, Damansara Intan, No. 1, Jalan SS20/27, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 603-7118 2062 Email: minds.invent@gmail.com Website: www.minds.com.my C.I.S Network Sdn Bhd 9-1-6, Jalan 3/109F, Danau Business Centre, Danau Desa Off Jalan Kelang Lama, 58100 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Tel: 603-7982 4668 Email: info@cisnetwork.com Printing United Mission Press Sdn Bhd (755329-X) No. 25 & 27, Jalan PBS 14/14, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, Seri Kembangan, 43300 Selangor. Tel: 603-8941 6618 Fax: 603-8945 5168

All authors automatically agree to indemnify c.i.s Network Sdn Bhd, MINDS and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd against any loss, costs, expenses (including legal fees), damages and liabilities that might arise from their own incapacity, negligence, breach of contract or other civil misdeeds. We reserve the right to edit all articles. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016 by c.i.s Network Sdn Bhd and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of c.i.s Network Sdn Bhd, MINDS and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. c.i.s Network Sdn Bhd, MINDS and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photography, illustration and other editorial materials.

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From the E D I TOR S ’ Board THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE

Dear Readers, how would you like to sit down to a breakfast of 3D printed pasta, with slices of ‘non-meat bacon’ and later to have lunch of grilled marine fish that has been reared in ‘third water’ ; and finally to enjoy a dinner of green food? All of the above while sitting on ‘natural furniture’, that is, table and chairs that are naturally grown and not made in a factory. All the above is now possible with new inventions. Indeed they are already commercially available. In the previous issue of Invention Asia we featured an article on Green Food, describing a Silicon Valley company called Impossible Foods that is developing plant-based hamburger patties that look, taste and bleed like meat patties. Our previous issue also narrated about the invention of ‘magic water’ or ‘third water’ by Professor Toshimasa Yamamoto of Okayama University of Science in Japan, in which marine fish can be reared thus enabling the culture of marine fish to be undertaken far away from the sea. ‘Magic water’ amazingly can also support both marine fish and fresh water fish in the same tank at the same time. In this issue of Invention Asia we feature an amazing new invention that will change the manufacturing industry for ever and with repercussions in other industrial sectors. This is 3D Printing or additive manufacturing. Not only ordinary solid objects, but car and even airplane parts can be 3D printed. A variation of 3D printing is 3D knitting and full dresses can be made in this way. Reports in the recent issue of Nature Biology describe the 3D printing of living body parts. In our current issue you will read about 3D printed foods. I mentioned above about ‘non-meat bacon’. This is a red seaweed called ‘dulse’ which was created and cultivated by researches in Oregon State University at Hatfield, which is rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins and antioxidants and which tastes just like bacon when fried! We are also featuring in this issue of Invention Asia ‘grown furniture’. This is the brain child of Gavin Munro of Derbyshire in England who grows chairs, tables, lampshades and other items directly by ‘training willow trees to grow into desired shapes’, using the espalier process of training trees.

INTERNATIONAL PRIZES FOR SCIENCE

The most famous and prestigious prize in science is the Noble Prize which is presented every December in Stockholm at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The exciting ground breaking works of the winners of the 2015 Noble Prize for Biology/Medicine, Chemistry and Physics are described in this issue of Invention Asia. The Noble is named after Alfred Noble who made a fortune from his invention of dynamite and the prize was first given in 1901. Currently the prize is worth USD1 million per category. There are now rival prizes offering bigger prize money. For example the Breakthrough Prize, awarded for outstanding contributions to Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and

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Mathematics, gives each laureate USD3 million. Founded by a number of Silicon Valley luminaries, the prize was first awarded in 2012. Then there is the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering awarded for ‘ground breaking innovation in engineering which has been of global benefit to humanity’. First awarded in 2013, the prize money is £1 million. Another international prize with bigger award than the Noble is the Tang Prize given for ‘outstanding contribution in sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law’. This is a biennial award established by a Taiwanese entrepreneur and convened by the Academia Sinica Taiwan with a prize money of NT$40 million equivalent to around USD 1.4 million and first given in 2012. Equalling the Noble prize of USD1 million is the Norwegian Kavli Prize for astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience which was first given in 2008. There are other international prizes for science but with smaller prize money than the Noble. In Malaysia we have the Mahathir Science Award, established by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia in 2004 in honour of our Fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. A prize of USD100, 000 is given annually for outstanding contributions in solving the problems of the tropics in four categories: agriculture, medicine, architecture and engineering and natural resources. The Merdeka Award, carrying an RM500,000 prize per category , founded by Petronas, ExxonMobile and Shell and first given in 2008, recognise outstanding contributions in five categories: education and the community; environment; health, science and technology; scholastic achievement and contribution to the people of Malaysia. The last category is international in effect as it is open only to non-citizen of Malaysia; the other four are for Malaysians only. Invention Asia’s Editorial Adviser, Tan Sri Augustine Ong, is a 2012 Merdeka laureate in health, science and technology category. The latest international prize is Iran’s Mustafa Prize in life and medical science, information and communication technology, nano science and technology and ‘top scientific achievement in other fields’. This biennial award is for Muslim scientists working anywhere in the world and carries a prize money of USD 500,000 per category. I was present at its inaugural award night in Tehran in December, 2015. I hope the above enumeration of both the national and international prizes will motivate our readers, both inventors and researchers alike. Enjoy our new issue of Invention Asia and please let us have your feedback. Tan Sri Omar Abdul Where Invention Thrives, the Economy Flourishes

Rahman, Editor-in-Chief tansriomar@gmail.com


Innovations have always been the major catalyst behind mankind’s success. Some of these breakthroughs brought about immediate change, while others laid the groundwork for important developments down the road. From pioneering inventions to bold scientific and medical advancements, there are many innovations and inventions that have changed the course of human history. In the spirit of inquiry, we must play our part by staying informed of the latest breakthroughs, and be determined to improve on old ways for the better. We cannot do these things alone, which is why we have international events such as ITEX and concurrent exhibitions and conferences such as AYIE and MYIE, among others, that not only celebrate and showcase participants’ inventions and innovations but also provide opportunities to help them commercialise their creations to an international audience.

~ Dato’ Vincent Lim

We are pleased to bring you another edition of Invention Asia, Malaysia’s one and only magazine that champions invention and innovation. Invention Asia is a tribute to not just Malaysians but to people throughout the region who are into technology. It is heartening to know that readers are keeping abreast with the latest information from the nation’s most eminent scientific societies. We trust that our readers will enjoy the magazine’s contents with as much enthusiasm as we had putting it together.

~ V.S. Ganesan

~ Stephen Poon

One cannot imagine what our world would be like without inventions. We will continue to discover things because they are there but we will also need to keep inventing things. Fire is a discovery while the wheel is an invention. An invention is the product of our creativity while a discovery is a natural occurrence that we stumble upon. Inventions have a long history and have made tremendous changes to the way we live. Many of these inventions are today a part of our everyday lives. Our mission in this magazine is to record some of these inventions that have brought changes already or will be making more changes to the way we live. Happy reading! ~ Dr Leo Ann Mean

~ Tan Sri Augustine Ong

INTUITION – imagination and insight in Design Thinking, there is little practical understanding of how the mental processes these words refer to might work in thought, or how they might arise when solving a problem, or designing something. Although today much discussed and widely recognised as a very important tool in decision-making, the experience of intuition remains poorly understood. For the purposes of this issue, I define intuition broadly as a non-conscious, fast, effortless, associative and sometimes emotional operation. Intuition has a place in this process, it is the ‘force’ that tells which direction to go. Indeed, intuition helps the individual to shift through the endless possibilities of idea development by setting preliminary boundaries for exploration. In other words, intuition is not a knowledge artefact. It is a process that mostly relies on tacit knowledge, but may also rely on other information or processes that we do not understand yet. In psychology, intuition can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision making. Now we know, thanks to brain researchers.

It is generally agreed that science is an important tool for development. Hence, the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. However, some intellectuals have suggested going further to include Ethics and humanities. Thus STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) is the goal for education. MINDS would encourage creativity in these disciplines with possible outcome in inventions, industrial designs and aspects of creative industry.

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International countries participating at ITEX 2015 last year.

ITEX 2016

Returns with a Fresh Appeal

Tan Sri Omar Abdul Rahman greeting guest at Itex 2015.

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Tan Sri Omar, Tan Sri Augustine and Dato’ Vincent Lim officiated ITEX 2015 at the KL Convention Centre llast year.


Tan Sri Law Hieng Ding at the opening ceremony of ITEX 2015.

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ome of the biggest names in the innovative scene are coming to the annually staged International Invention and Innovation Exhibition, better known as ITEX. This exhibition, which returns for the 17th year, will again feature a groundbreaking 1000 inventions. Most of these inventions are from the local universities and research institutes, corporate and individual inventors, oversea submissions and young inventors from secondary and primary schools across 14 states in Malaysia. More than 20 countries are expected to participate in ITEX this year including Saudi Arab, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Russia and Poland. Every year, ITEX sees an encouraging increase in the number of visitors to the exhibition. This year ITEX is set to open its doors to 13,500 visitors from around the globe. That’s more than the 12,900 visitors which showed up last year. This year, ITEX returns with a hint of fresh appeal. The International Conference on Invention & Design (ICID) will make its debut at ITEX. The Malaysian Invention & Design Society (MINDS), the organiser of ITEX, through the ICID 2016 seeks to encourage and offer an avenue for exchange with regards to the theoretical research and evidence-based practices and proposals taking place in various campuses all over the world. It includes design and invention approaches which integrate social, business and management needs of all kinds. Meanwhile, due to overwhelming response,

The Organising Committee greeting the Russian delegates to ITEX.

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ITEX has also increased the numbers of finalists for Malaysian Young Inventors Exhibition (MYIE) to 152 from 79 last year. To date, 483 submissions from schools across 14 states in Malaysia have submitted their entry and the number is shortlisted to only 152 this year. Dato’ Vincent Lim, the President of C.I.S Network Sdn Bhd, the event manager of ITEX, says a few major sectors are set to take centre stage in ITEX 2016. Solutions in areas of clean energy, for example, have been picking up steam over the years and the trend is here to stay. “It’s no surprise that more inventions are leaning towards renewable energy and the importance of environmental control. This is an encouraging trend because in the pursuitof higher technological advancements, we must not disregard Mother Nature,” Dato’ Vincent explains. The global renewable energy sector has been growing at break neck speed for almost a decade now. While the adoption rate for green solutions in the Asia Pacific region has not been as aggressive as expected when the boom first took place, things are now taking a turn for the better. As highlighted by professional services firm EY in its 2016 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, Asia Pacific is today at the heart of the renewable energy hype. The region secured almost US$180 million in clean energy investments last year. That amount translates into more than half of the total global investment inked in 2015.

Young inventors of MYIE at ITEX.

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China tops the list with US$110.5 billion in investments flowing into the clean energy sector. EY has also identified wind and solar energy as the main energy source driving growth in global renewable energy front. A total of US$270 billion in clean energy investments last year came from the two sources, accounting for more than 80% of the US$329 billion total investment. This significant pickup in green energy awareness and investment present pockets of opportunity for inventors and innovators. As much as the low hanging fruits present endless opportunities, Dato’ Vincent, however, admits that there’s still a number of teething problem faced by inventors which need to be addressed. “There’s always a huge gap between Research and Development and Commercialisation. Researchers are highly technical people and, unfortunately, they might lack marketing knowledge. It’s therefore important for us to bring the right audience to the exhibition. We hope that with the right mix of audience, all stakeholders can join hands and churn out great ideas which will otherwise be a challenge to achieve single-handedly,” he says. Commercialisation and funding go hand in hand as they often regarded as

Amazing inventions could be discovered at ITEX.

the biggest speed bumps in the road to commercialisation. “Finance is another main challenge that requires attention. We hope to bring alternative funding mediums to the table such as crowd sourcing, to kick start new ideas,” Dato’ Vincent explained when asked about ITEX’s role in facilitating exhibitors’ funding concerns. He states there will be concerted effort in place to tackle the issue. This

includes collaboration with The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, via the Malaysia Commercialisation Year showcase. The showcase aims to provide exposure to inventions and to offer a platform for potential collaboration with related agencies. Besides that, ITEX has also extended its network to relevant organisations such as Malaysia Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and SME Corp. “I hope that more collaborations can be materialised between organisations in this exhibition and more products can achieve successful commercialisation,” Dato’ Vincent says.

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The 2015 Nobel Prizes For Medicine And Chemistry Nobel Prize for Medicine

Figure 1. (L-R) Nobel prize winners for medicine: Youyu Tu, Satoshi Omura and W C Campbell. [Yuoyu Tu: b 1930, pharmacologist at China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing. Satoshi Omura: b 1935, microbiologist at Kitasato University, Tokyo. William C Campbell: b 1930 in Ireland, parasitic biologist at Drew University, New Jersey.]

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his was shared by Youyou Tu, Satoshi Omura and William C Campbell (Fig. 1) with half the prize going to Tu and the other half shared. The prize recognises the discovery and successful application of natural products for curing serious parasitic infections. Artemisinin was discovered by Tu from Chinese herbal plant Artemisia annua (Fig. 2) to provide a needed alternative to quinine-type drugs which have become ineffective to resistant strains of malaria, causing high mortalities in tropical countries. Avermectins were isolated by Omura from strains of Streptomyces bacteria cultures of Japanese soil (a golf course near Tokyo) and have been developed together with Campbell as Ivermectin (a mixture of dihydroderivatives of Avermectin natural compounds) for veterinary and human medicines against diseases caused

by roundworm parasites also in tropical countries. All these discoveries have provided “wonder drugs” to combat debilitating diseases (mosquito-borne malaria and elephantiasis; black-fly borne river blindness; etc.) which infect hundreds of millions of people and can now provide for improved human health and reduced suffering, with the hope of eliminating such diseases’ cycles.

Discovery of Artemisinin

There was the need for an alternative cure for malaria since the parasite was becoming resistant to quinine derivatives and the need was more urgent during the wars in Vietnam. Dr Yu’s group was tasked to find a suitable cure from the traditional Chinese herbs. Decades of research on about 2,000 herbs provided hundreds of specimens able to treat fever and the study narrowed down


Figure 2. Artemisia annua herb.

to Artemesia annua as useful to treat malaria. The efficacy of the extracts from the plant was however found to be not consistently replicable and the researchers had to refer back to the original prescriptions of 1,700 years ago (Fig. 2). It was described that cold aqueous extracts were used, and the research was put on the right track when it was realised that chemical components were unstable to heat and needed a controlled temperature environment for extraction. Artemisinin is a novel natural product with a peroxo-bonds that break up on heating, and can be catalysed by transition metals to form destructive radicals – a possible mechanism for action against malaria parasite which uses iron-rich haemoglobin of blood for sustenance. As with most active natural products, artemisinin was available only in small quantities from the plant. Decades of development followed, to make a synthetic or semisynthetic drug for practical applications in curing malaria worldwide. One of the semi-synthetic methods uses dihydroartemisic acid. Dr. Tu, a first winner of a Nobel prize for medicine from China, was “not surprised” though it was a long and difficult journey to be recognised. This is especially in view of the fact that artemisinin has now been the drug of last resort used to save lives from the debilitating disease of chloroquine-resistant malaria. Devoting a lifetime to research, she and her team endured the tumultuous years of persecution during Mao’s cultural revolution. They were so confident of their research that they tested the drug on themselves. Malaysia has been relatively free malaria in recent years but the risk remains from migrants and travellers from endemic countries. Meanwhile, science has to keep up with newly discovered strains of resistant malaria parasites.

The Discovery of Avermectins and Ivermectin

Avermectins were discovered by Omura from Streptomyces avermectilis bacteria from soils in Japan in the late 1970s. The derivative Ivermectin was later developed with Campbell as an efficacious drug for farm animals and also humans infected with a wide range of parasitic organisms. In collaboration with international parties like the WHO, the company Merck and others, Ivermectin was to be the ”wonder drug” to treat two of the world’s most devastating and disfiguring diseases in poor tropical countries – River Blindness from Onchocerca worms transmitted by blackflies and Elephantiasis from Filariasis parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. Elephantiasis occurs in Malaysia and causes swollen, disfigured legs.

Figure 3. Handbook of prescriptions for emergencies by Gee Hong (284346 CE or AD).

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Figure 4. (L-R) Nobel prize in chemistry: Tomas Lindahl, Aziz Sancar and Paul Modrich. [T Lindhal: b 1938 Sweden, Francis Crick Institute and Clair Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK; Aziz Sancar, University of North Carolina, New Jersey, NC, USA; Paul Modrich, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA.]

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Since the discovery of the structure of DNA by Crick and Watson (1963) there has been tremendous research on this treasure house on the multifaceted and complex molecular processes that govern life, reproduction, hereditary diseases, and cancer. Molecular mechanisms continue to attract attention and with these, molecular tools are being discovered. The 2015 prize has been for the demonstration of three mechanisms for DNA repair from the molecular “toolbox”. The prize is shared equally by Tomas Lindall, Azis Sanchar and Paul Modrich (Fig. 4). DNA (bundled up as chromosomes containing supercoiled DNA and protein) continues to defy elucidation of structure and mechanistic function (Fig. 5). Figs. 5 & 6 provide simplified diagrams to show nuclei acid base-pairing, and nucleosides anchored in the polymeric scaffold of deoxyribose-phosphate polymer chains.

Aziz Sancar’s NucleotideExcision Repair Mechanism for DNA

A rather inspiring story comes from Aziz Sancar who graduated as a medical doctor in Turkey but was interested in a phenomenon he had studied: that bacteria could recover after being irradiated with strong UV-radiation. In 1973, he joined Claud Rupert at the University of Texas and succeeded in cloning the gene for the enzyme (photolyase) that repairs DNA, earning a PhD degree by 1976 he couldn’t get a postdoc position to further this work and had to join Yale University School of Medicine as a laboratory technician. He was able to study UV-sensitive bacteria with colleagues and managed to isolate and characterise enzymes from mutant genes

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Figure 5. Diagram of DNA double helix with protein supercoil bundled in chromosomes.

Figure 6. Diagrammatic presentation of base pairs A-T and G-C.

Thymine base pairs with Adenine by Hydrogen Bonds.

Guanine base pairs with Cytosine by Hydrogen Bonds.

of the bacteria (1983). He was offered an Assoc. Prof. Position in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he elaborated the similar but more complex details of nucleotide-excision repair mechanism (Fig. 9) in humans.

Paul Modrich’s DNA Mismatch Repair Mechanism

Paul Modrich had an early start in school in New Mexico, USA, to be interested in “DNA stuff” right after the 1963 finding of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick.


Figure 7. Diagram of nucleotides consisting of unique base pairings scaffolded by the deoxyribose-phosphate polymeric chains to form the “double helix”. Unique A-T and G-C base pairs are bonded to deoxyribose (a sugar) and phosphate as nucleotides. The strong sugar-phosphate polymer becomes a scaffold to string up the nucleotides to a double helix. Genetic information is stored in the long combinations of A-T and G-C base pairs. If no chemical damage occurs, the genetic information is transferred to new DNA by replication (when enzymes open up the hydrogenbonded base pairs in the double helix and create exact duplicates of the original according to the unique sequences of A-T and G-C base-pairing).

Tomas Lindahl’s Base-Excise Repair Mechanism

This is illustrated in Fig. 8 which shows enzymes cut off defective or wrong bases and the polymerase enzyme helps to fill the gap. Figure 8. Tomas Lindahl’s base-excise repair mechanism: enzymes recognise faulty bases, cuts them out and replace with correct pairing bases.

DNA as well as DNA with methyl groups introduced by Modrich’s dam methylase, it was found that bacteria infected with these viruses consistently corrected DNA strands that lacked methyl groups. DNA mismatch repair is a natural process that corrects mismatches that occur when DNA is copied during cell division – the defect strand being recognised by its unmethylated state. The defective strand can be long and has to be corrected and replaced. (Paul Modrich’s DNA mismatch repair mechanism was published in 1989. DNA methylation is also important in other biological processes that are yet to be clarified.)

DNA repair and Cancer

Besides the three mechanisms out of the toolbox for DNA repair, there are others other, all helping to repair damage from thousands of errors caused by environmental carcinogens, sunlight, cigarette smoke and other genotoxins. The mismatch repair corrects thousands of mismatches continually; but failure of these processes causes increased risk to cancer. Hereditary skin and colon cancer are known to be possible from defects in the DNA mismatch repair mechanisms. On the other hand, understanding how repair systems can be switched on or off can help to design drugs for chemotherapy.

Figure 9. Aziz Sancar’s excision-repair mechanism of UV-damaged base-pairs. The enzyme exinuclease finds the UV-induced damage and cuts the damaged 12-nucleotide section, the polymerase enzyme fills the gap with correct nucleotides and the ligase enzyme seals the strand.

ò

Ultraviolet induced cyclodimerisation of T-bases.

DNA bases can be altered by chemical reactions with environmental carcinogens or accidental biochemical proceses, e.g. uracil (U) is structurally similar to .T. and can be in the altered DNA but cannot properly base pair with G. The enzyme glycolase hydrolyses and cuts off the U fragment with the help of other enzymes and the gap is filled with .C. by the polymerase enzyme.

With a PhD at Stanford, a postdoc at Harvard he was an assistant professor at Duke University he has been familiar with enzymes for DNA – ligase, polymerase and the restriction enzyme Eco R1. By the late 1970s he has stumbled on the enzyme dam methylase, which has important uses including for DNA repair. The enzyme introduces methyl groups to DNA. Methyl groups on DNA function as signposts (also noted by Matthew Meselson at Harvard) and allow restriction enzyme to cut the DNA strand at the correct location. Working with viruses with mismatches in their

[Reported by Dr. SH Goh of MOSTA] References: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015”; http://kva.se S. Omura and A Crump (2004) Nature Reviews Microbiology. Vol 2: 984-989. www.nature. com/reviews/micro http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/10/07/the-2015-nobel-prize-in-physiology-ormedicine-for-the-discoverer-of-artemisinin-a-triumph-of-natural-product-pharmacology-nottraditional-chinese-medicine/ Questions. DNA repair research has had a long evolution and there have been other pioneering works in the discovery process, and comments have arisen on why selections for the Nobel Prize may have left other pioneers out. As with the discovery of the structure of DNA, it is likely other pioneers can be left out.

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Ghost Particles – The Quest For Neutrinos With Mass Another Japanese wins the Nobel Prize for Physics two years in a row

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he roaring early decades of the 20th century turned the world of physics into an exotic quest for knowledge that was never seen or paralleled before in the history of mankind. These fundamental and theoretical works, ranging from relativity to quantum mechanics, changed the physical world as perceived from the Newtonian paradigm. It also influenced the scientific and technolgical advances of mankind in the 20th century and continues to do so today. The impact of fundamental research is priceless – from the discovery of electrons to photons to nuclear transmutation and the undying quest for space travel. It can be easily forgotten that the discovery of laser has led to so many technological advances in the last 50 years! Since the awarding of Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901, 201 laureates have been recognised – 10 of whom are of Japanese origin. In an unprecended 2nd year in a row, another Japanese, Takaaki Kajita, a particle physicist from Super-Kamiokande Collaboration, University of Tokyo, was co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics alongside Albert McDonald, Canadian physicist from Sudbury Neutrino Observatory

Takaaki Kajita.

Albert McDonald.

Image @ University of Tokyo.

Image @Perimeter Institute, Queens University.

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Collaboration, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. They led two independent teams to discover that neutrinos (‘little neutral one’ attributed to Enrico Fermi) had mass which in the words of the Nobel Committee “changes our view of the universe”. The Collaboration is a consortium of 40 institutes from Japan, USA, Korea, China, Poland, Spain, Canada and UK. What are neutrinos? It was conceptualised by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 to elucidiate the loss of energy during ß decay. If you know about leptons or quarks, then a neutrino is simply a neutral lepton (all matter are classified as leptons or quarks) while an electron is a negatively charged lepton – they do not possess electric charge. They have 3 flavours – electron-neutrinos (νe), muon-neutrinos(νμ) and tau-neutrinos(ντ).

Leptons: Electron, muon and tau particle with the corresponding neutral neutrino flavours.

Why are they known as ghost particles? Every second, billions of neutrinos are created by nuclear reactions in the sun or by other cosmic reactions and even due to interactions when cosmic rays interact in the earth’s atmosphere. Essentially, a neutrino will pass through any matter and remain undetected. They can penetrate any matter but only rarely do they interact with matter. During that rare reaction with matter there is energy released that could be detected. But it required far greater resources than normal terrestial experimental laboratories. How do physicists use terrestial detectors to capture the possibilty of a neutrino event in the avalanche of billions of nucelons bombarding earth at any one time? The technological challenge was to build special laboratories deep underground that will help to filter away other unwanted cosmic particles in the detection process so that a possible neutrino interaction event can be detected. Thus, it required mammoth experiments such as the world’s largest underground neutrino detector – The Super-Kamiokande (SK) observatory for Neutrino Detection Experiment. It is essentially a cylindrincial stainless tank that holds 50,000 tons of ultrapure water. It is located about 1km under Mount Ikeno in Japan, and it is a part of the Kamioka Mozumi zinc mine in Hida city, Gifu. The experiment was designed to observe proton decay, and investigate solar and atmospheric neutrinos, besides scanning for supernovae in the Milky Way Galaxy.


1. Mt. Ikeno in winter. With permission @ Kamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, The University of Tokyo

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Basically, the SK and its various versions (detectors consisted of a cylindrical stainless-steel tank about 41 m tall and 39m diameter) have about 13,000 photomultipliers (PMTs) installed on the inner wall. The other is the SNO laboratory (based in Vale Creighton Mine, Sudbury, Canada) which specialises in neutrino and dark matter physics – and could in principle, detect all three neutrinos. It used heavy water (D2O) which is 10% heavier than H2O. Using the principle of Cerenkov radiation (created during the interaction when charged particles travelling through water at speeds more then 75% of the speed of light), the SK as well as the SNO had used photo-multiplier tubes (PMTs) in the walls to detect neutrino(s). Ignoring the physics, mathematics and statistics of the neutrino deficit, a major announcement was made by the SK consortium in 1998 [Evidence for Oscillation of Atmospheric Neutrinos, Fukuda et al, Physical Review Letters Vol 81(8), pgs 1562-1567] which established that neutrinos oscillate between flavours. This has been confirmed by many experiments [Nobel Lectures by T. Kajita and A. McDonald]. The 1998 experiments at SK reported that while solar neutrinos traverse through water, electrons are produced in the neutrino-electron scattering which in turn produces the Cerenkov photons (which can be detected by the PMTs). A detailed analysis of 535 days of atmospheric neutrino data from the SK demonstrated evidence that a two neutrino oscillation model (νμ <--> ντ) was possible. This means, neutrinos must have mass. Thereafter, a series of experiments at SK, SNO and others had confirmed the experimental observation of the disappearance of neutrinos of one flavour and appearance of a neutrino with another flavour. This completely challenged the prevailing notion that neutrinos have no mass! Neutrino physics had never seen so much intense activity as in the past 2 decades. It is expected the next generation neutrino experiments, such as the DOE funded ‘Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment’ (online

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2. Nearly filled with water on June 26, 2006. With permission @ Kamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, The University of Tokyo.

by 2022), will help to unravel more knowledge on why the universe is made of matter. Other experiments such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, (based deep in Antarctica) are leading the chase for neutrino astrophysical observations. Is fundamential science vital in a national agenda for research and innovation? A cursory glance of Nobel laureates in physics will show that 7 Japanese nationals from H. Yukawa in 1949, to T. Kajita in 2015 have won the Nobel Prize for their fundamental work in physics with 7 since 2008 and 3 for their innovation. H. Yukawa, S. Tomonaga, L. Esaki, M. Kobayashi, T. Maskawa, Y. Nambu and T. Kajita worked on fundamental physics whereas I. Akasaki, H. Amano and S. Nakamura were recognised for “...their invention of efficient blue-light emitting diodes”. The above illustrates the great contributions to the development of fundamental and applied work by Japanese physicists and engineers, and in the process turn Japan into an economic giant within 3-4 decades decades after World War II. In another perspective, it seems great innovation comes from the development of fundamental knowledge in basically all fields. Japan continues to shine as a leading example for other countries in their pursuit of innovation – without neglecting the fact that basic and fundamental work is the underlying foundation of that pursuit.

Prof Hawking visited the SNO facility on Sept 15, 2012 @SNO.

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YIMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot Invention Picks

Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM) or the Malaysian Foundation for Innovation has come a long way since its establishment in October 2008. Its vision is to promote and inculcate creativity and innovation among Malaysians focusing on children and youth, women, rural folk, people with disabilities and non-government organisations. Today, YIM champions innovation, and by doing so it has encouraged Malaysians to embrace and practice creativity and innovation. Here are the top innovation picks that YIM have helped groom.

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Double Filled Drink Container

SMK Tengku Mahmud, Terrenganu Want to have 2 types of drinks without having to carry 2 water containers? With the Double Filled Drink Container, you can! Its unique design allows for 2 types of drinks to be placed in 1 container; using separate compartment with separate straws, the Double Filled Drink Container gives user the convenience of having 2 drinks at one go! Made of eco-friendly yet sturdy material, the Double Filled Drink Container can be filled with both hot and cold drinks and is design to be user friendly, especially for children. It is leak proof, heat resistance and comes in vibrant colours.

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The Modular Cupboard

SMJK Chung Ling, Penang Fancy having a cupboard that can fit almost anything minus the hassle of having to renovate or purchase any add-ons? The Modular Cupboard has been innovatively designed to give you the flexibility of having a cupboard with interchangeable space. Using grooves and joints, the plank of the Modular Cupboard can be designed according to userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space requirement. Sturdy, long lasting, coated with water resistant coating, light weight, easy to assemble and best of all, interchangeable space for all purpose, makes the Modular Cupboard a product for a new generation of space conscious user!


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Power Duster

SMK Ibrahim, Kedah There was a time when cleaning the whiteboard was a dirty and unhealthy chore. Introducing the Power Duster, an invention designed to transform a tedious chore into a simple, fast and healthy application, beneficial to all. The casing is made of plastic and the sponge is made from a soft replaceable and/or washable material that enables easy handling whilst allowing for a clean and scratch free cleaning. All the user has to do is switch on the power button. The sponge will spin and effectively clean the whiteboard while simultaneously collecting dust allowing for a squeaky clean yet healthy cleaning process. Applicable not only for whiteboard, the Power Duster can also be used to clean windows, furniture or any thing that collects dust.

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Innovative Cockroach Trap

SMK Seksyen 7, Shah Alam Students from SMK Seksyen 7, Shah Alam, found an innovative way to ‘fool’ cockroaches. They’ve invented a cockroach trap disguised as a vase. The Innovative Cockroach Trap that will not only solve cockroach infestation problem, but also complement the interior decoration of homes via an artistic design that’s sure to awe visitors. The outer shell is made from plastic, while the internal parts optimises the use of recycled materials including plastic bottle (as the internal container) and used cooking oil (as bait to attract cockroaches). Its truly green and eco-friendly nature makes it the most innovative solution to your roach problems.

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Zippable Hand Socks

SMK KUNDASANG, RANAU, SABAH This is an innovative solution for ‘muslimah’ who faces difficulties when making ablution. The Zippable Hand Socks allows muslimah to not only perform their ablution easily, but enable them to execute other chores or activities without the hassle of having to stretch and pull their hand socks, which, after a period of time, leads to loosened grip and over stretched fabric. Using a simple zip plus accessories, the Zippable Hand Socks can be neatly folded and buttoned; securing and fasting the hand socks in its place. Once the chore is done, it can be rolled down and zipped again providing protection and concealing the “muslimah’s aurat”. Made of soft, easy to clean and cool fabric, the Zippable Hand Socks can be used as a hand sock or t-shirt arm extender, turning it into a dual purpose product suitable for both men and women.

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Mini Foldable Table

SMK TTDI Jaya, Shah Alam Facing difficulties due to the limited space available in the dorm gave birth to the creation of the foldable table. Multi-functional, easy to carry and space saving, the foldable table serves as an innovative product that is a must have for people on the go. It can even be a mobile work station. Its inventors say UMW YIM Ideation program helped equip them with precious knowledge and skills that is of industry standard.

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Tracking Dengue Hotspots with Contageo App

Universiti Malaysia The Contageo App is the brainchild of 2 students from Universiti Malaya. The idea came about after dengue cases rose to alarming levels in the recent years. The mobile application updates users with information on dengue transmission using reports based on user’s location. The application is designed to function in an interactive manner where users can send and share information such as dengue fever reporting, fogging activities, breeding grounds reporting, and bite reporting. Through the application of Contageo Apps, users will receive push notification directly and can take precautionary measures if their area is a hotspot and high number of dengue fever were reported. It also gathers information on dengue cases and locations from local authorities and also from the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s iDengue portal to give users a map of dengue-prone areas around the country. Contageo is currently still in beta and was created with the help of the University of Malaya Centre of Innovation & Commercialisation.

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Bamboo Saxophone

Philipus Jani For more than a decade, Philipus Jani, 39, carefully carved bamboo from a nearby forest, shaping it to resemble a popular musical instrument invented in the 1840s in Europe. He had fallen in love with a brass saxophone he had borrowed from a friend, but unable to afford his own, he decided to make one. He spent12 years perfecting his saxophone. Not wanting his hard work to be copied by others, Jani patented his invention with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia, calling it the “somporing”. Jani, who showcased the conical musical instrument at the recent Sabah Fest, has sold 35 “somporing” and is banking on more orders, not just from music enthusiasts, but also from those eyeing unique Sabah traditional souvenirs. Jani has also recently invented a bamboo guitar.

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Smart Pet Feeder

Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Smart Pet Feeder allows pet owners to feed their pets according to meal time schedule even when they are not home. This product uses a Bluetooth technology Low Energy (BLE) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It recognises the pet’s preprogrammed collar tags and opens up the food container when it is near. This product offers a more convenient and practical solution to pet owners. They can now work late in the office without worrying about their pet being fed on time.


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Recognising Two Academics Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Dr Augustine Ong, one of two academics conferred honorary degrees by the University of Nottingham.

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r Augustine Ong and Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Hassan Said recently received their honorary degrees from The University of Nottingham. They received their degrees from Professor Sir David Greenaway, vice-chancellor of the university and Professor Christine Ennew, chief executive officer and provost of the university’s Malaysia campus, at the graduation ceremonies held at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) on February 20. “Professor Ong and Professor Hassan have demonstrated lifelong commitment to higher learning and their respective areas of research. Both have committed themselves to advancing knowledge for the benefit of others and in doing so, have had genuine and substantial impact in Malaysia and beyond,” said Professor. Ennew. During the presentation ceremony, Professor Graham Kendall, Vice Provost (Research and Knowledge Transfer), said that it was “always a pleasure to meet” Professor Ong as he (Professor Kendall) would “inevitably learn something new from him each time”. Dr Augustine Ong, the founding president of the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS), was the recipient of the 2015 National Academic Laureate Award, in recognition of his contributions to the higher education sector and the country’s progress. He was also awarded the country’s Merdeka Award in 2012 for his significant role in the research, development and promotion of Malaysian palm oil industry globally. He is a Senior Fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry London, a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of Jing’s College London. Another recipient was Professor Datuk Dr Hassan Said, an outstanding mathematician and the vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Mara. Professor Hassan has been conferred with the Chevalier de l’ Ordre National du Merite Award from the government of France. He also played a leading role within the Education Ministry to steer the essential regulatory approvals for the establishment of UNMC.

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Stanford scientists have invented a flexible, highperformance aluminium battery that charges in about 60 seconds.

Bendable Battery The new aluminium-ion battery could replace lithium-ion and alkaline batteries in the near future. by Sharmila Vella

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magine a battery that’s flexible enough to fold or squeeze. Most of all, it doesn’t break no matter how much it’s bent. With invention being the front runner in changing the world, it appears that a new bendable battery has taken shape. This new invention is the work of an eclectic team of chemists, material scientists and engineers led by Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor of Stanford University. Called the futuristic new battery, it has more voltage than your average AA and the best news of this new aluminium-based battery is that it has a recharge time of around one minute. This will certainly change the mobile phone industry. Imagine the amount of time, effort and money one can save, especially for those who are on the go. Gone will be the days of charging the phone for half an hour or more. As the saying goes, time equals money and that means using the phone 24/7 without worrying about charging it for long hours. In a scientific paper published in the journal Nature, Dai, one of the authors of the paper on the battery, and his colleagues explain how it works and why they believe their prototype may eventually phase out the rechargeable batteries in the market today. An increasing interest in portable and flexible electronics led Dai and his team to develop flexible batteries for use in products such as smartphones, wearable electronics, novelty packaging, as well as flexible displays. Researchers have always been looking for attractive material for batteries, and aluminium appears to be the perfect material as it is inexpensive, has low flammability and high-charge storage capacity. One prototype charged a smartphone in just one minute, which the researchers said was an “unprecedented” charging time. Dai and his team believe that the batteries are also safer than lithium-ion batteries that are used in millions of electronics such as smartphones and laptops. Lithium-ion batteries can be a fire hazard. It was reported in the The Economist that in 2006, millions of battery packs made by a renowned Japanese manufacturer had to be replaced after many of them caught fire. For decades, researchers have tried unsuccessfully to develop a commercially viable aluminium-ion battery. The key challenge has always been finding materials capable of producing sufficient voltage after repeated cycles of charging and discharging. An aluminium-ion battery consists of two electrodes: a negatively charged anode made of aluminium and a positively charged cathode. The material used for the cathode is graphite, which is basically carbon. “In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance,” said Professor Dai. Improving the cathode material could eventually increase

In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance. – Professor Dai

the voltage and energy density. Professor Dai also pointed out that the bendable capability of the aluminium battery made it attractive to wearable devices. There are also other plus points of the battery – low electrode cost, safety factor and the long life cycle, that make it appealing to grid-scale electric storage. Each prototype battery packet holds a maximum of about 2 volts. That’s about half of what you’d expect from lithiumion, the battery technology that’s probably in your mobile phone right now. While aluminium-based batteries hold the promise of being very inexpensive, one particular product used in Dai’s battery, which is the ionic liquid electrolyte, is actually quite expensive, mainly because there’s no big commercial demand for it. Another significant factor is durability. Most of the batteries developed at other laboratories usually die after just 100 charge-discharge cycles. The Stanford aluminium battery is able to withstand more than 7,500 cycles without any loss of capacity. “This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminium-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles,” the report said. While it currently produces half the voltage required to power a smartphone, the researchers believe that improvements to the cathode material could increase voltage and energy density. “Otherwise, our battery has everything else you’d dream that a battery should have: inexpensive electrodes, good safety, high-speed charging, flexibility and long cycle life. I see this as a new battery in its early days. It’s quite exciting,” said Professor Dai.

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Bridging Invention Into Innovation

Bridges connect; they connect landmasses separated by water, roads cut by ravines, neighborhoods divided by unwelcoming terrain. Bridges also connect cultures and ideas and some, like the Jambatan Kedua, or the Second Penang Bridge, even connect a region’s past with its future. by Fanny Bucheli-Rotter photos V. Chanthiran & JKSB

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here is little doubt as to the usefulness of a bridge. The Romans are generally believed to have invented the concept of bridge building in the 1st or 2nd century AD. An engineering feat that can, in large parts, lay claim to the Empire’s huge success. Economical advancement, thanks to viaducts facilitating irrigation of farmlands and bridges connecting a vast network of trading routes, helped sustain the empire’s need to feed their ever-growing population. Military bridge-building, like Julius Caesar’s famous Bridge over the Rhine River, served the obvious purpose of marching legions through vast territories in record times, but also established the Emperor’s assertion to military, as well as general superiority, and broke Rome’s enemies’ resistance. Thanks to her bridges, “it was emphasised that Rome could travel wherever she wished”. So how can a structure that has proven its significance for more than 2,000 years possibly lend itself to new inventions? As the latest landmark for the Northern Region, Jambatan Kedua, or the Second Penang Bridge, owed it to herself to become a beacon of new and forward-looking technologies in industrial building.

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If its most notable green building features are not necessarily inventions in and of themselves, they are most certainly highly innovative and to an even greater extent, trailblazers for the Malaysian and South East Asian construction industry. The bridge has raked in 15 Malaysia Book of Records entries. Some of them are of a very technical nature, like the “first embankment designed for an upgraded secondary consolidation criteria in Malaysia”, which means that the new highway linking the PLUS Expressway to the bridge will sink only by 50mm in the next 20 years. Or the fact that Jambatan Kedua is the first bridge in Malaysia to be installed with noise reduction seismic expansion joints. Other features are of somewhat more tellurian nature, like the TL-4 moveable barriers installed. As the first such concept in the country, these barriers give the bridge a temporary lane dedicated to motorbikes exclusively. According to the bridge concessionaire JKSB’s Managing Director Dato’ Ir. Dr. Ismail Mohamed Taib, “the barriers will be removed eventually.” Either because motorists on both two and four wheels will have gathered enough driving experience on the structure to coexist


safely, or because a third lane in each crossing direction is needed to cope with increasing traffic. “But that’s not happening any time soon,” says Dato’ Dr. Ismail. Another innovation is the first dynamic road sign application in Malaysia, which is used to feed the interactive traffic information system. Besides strictly circulating related information such as breakdown assistance numbers or expected time of arrival at destination, the information system can and will also give travellers advice on safe driving practices like urging them to take regular breaks or to refrain from texting while driving. However, what is really the stuff of the future in regards to Jambatan Kedua are its many green building features. Generally, a sturdy concrete structure is not seen as particularly eco-sensible. But nothing could be further from the truth. Concrete is being increasingly recognised for its sustainable benefits as far as a building’s lifecycle is concerned. From concrete production, to its use and eventually the structure’s demolition and the material recycling, concrete is gaining substantial support from the green building advocates worldwide. The so-called green concrete, a locally sourced material made of pulverised fuel ash (PFA), is an even more sustainable solution. The Second Penang Bridge was built using such PFA, in this particular case, a waste product from a nearby power station. Also, the very impressive structure of the PLUS integrated toll plaza is the first of its kind in the country to have been awarded a gold rating by the Green Building Index (GBI), the adjoining Jambatan Sultan Abdul Halim toll plaza building even secured a platinum award. The awarding body, the GBI, is the country’s ultimate keeper of all facets related to sustainability in the built environment. Dato’ Dr. Ismail and his dedicated team of bridge builders have gone to great lengths to ensure the highest possible degree of efficiency and environmental respect. Roofs and flat structures have been fitted with photovoltaic panels, which generate and thus supply solar electricity to the entire complex. Double-glazing on windows, high ceilings for natural ventilation, automatic light and air-conditioning off-switches, a wind turbine inside the surau’s minaret for additional power supply, are some of the more prominent environmentally reasonable novelties the Second Penang Bridge proudly features. “But there’s more,” Azizi Azizan, the company’s Corporate Communications Manager interjects. As one of a select few large industrial buildings in Malaysia, JKSB champions rainwater collection, a sensible undertaking, considering the region’s frequent and torrential tropical thunderstorms.

The bridge’s operator also proudly manages a fleet of five environment-friendly, fully electric patrol vehicles. These compact, speedy four-seater cars not only run on electricity, but reach full circle as they are charged with renewable energy provided by the construction’s solar panels. Smaller, but by no means unimportant endeavours such as the presence of a corporate herb garden and paperless work processes further emphasise the company’s dedication to a greener and better future and its inherent innovative spirit. The Romans may have invented bridges about two millennia ago. But even before that, Asia was the uncontested birthplace of many significant inventions, which still affect our daily lives. Inventions such as silk and ink from China, soap from Babylon, or as perhaps a more technical and therefore more relevant example, irrigation canals from both Chinese and Sumerian provenance have shaped the civilised world. Jambatan Kedua might well be the vanguard of a new era pioneering more inventions and innovations that will lead the world towards a more environment-friendly and sustainable future for generations to come.

JKSB’s Managing Director Dato’ Ir. Dr. Ismail Mohamed Taib.

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The Inventor’s Dilemma by P. Kandiah

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tricky issue that has long plagued inventors and researchers who invent potentially commercially useful products or processes is the dilemma whether to: i) Seek patent rights for the invention, ii) Keep the details of the invention confidential (or as a trade secret), or iii) Publish the details of the invention and depend on copyright protection afforded by the Copyright Act. The publication could be in a peer reviewed journal, or as a paper presented at a conference proceeding.

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The question is, which is the path to take?

Let’s look at the various options available and the implications of each path to the inventor/researcher. Where the research is undertaken in an academic institution or in a research institution, there is a culture of publishing the details of the invention in a peer reviewed journal or as a paper presented at a reputable conference. In fact, in many institutions it is a policy or internal regulation, requiring all research output in the institution to be published as early as possible. Academics are still governed by the “publish or perish” rule. The publication, whether in a journal or in conference proceedings, would nevertheless enjoy copyright protection, unless expressly disclaimed. But is copyright protection of the publication sufficient to protect the inventor’s interests or is it sufficient to prevent any other person from taking advantage of the invention disclosed in the publication by using the invention for commercial gain? Copyright merely allows the owner (who could be the inventor, or the institution where the inventor is employed to do research) to prevent any others from substantial reproduction of the published works, but does not grant any right to prevent others from making use of the teachings or the details disclosed in the publication. For example, assume A publishes an article or a book entitled “The Art of Making Furniture” where modern methods of making furniture are disclosed in detail. The publication (the book or the article) would enjoy copyright protection. What right does A have? Is copyright protection sufficient to protect A’s interests? If, say, a furniture manufacturer, B, obtains a copy of the publication and


follows the teachings in the publication to improve his manufacturing method or produce new types of furniture disclosed in the publication, there is nothing A can do to prevent B from using the teachings, or even to demand monetary compensation or royalty from B. A’s publication disclosing the details of his knowledge in making furniture will be deemed to be a donation to the public, allowing others to freely benefit from the creative or intellectual output. If A (or his employer) wants to benefit financially from the creative efforts, then A (or his employer) has to claim proprietary rights to the invention by way of patent rights (on the assumption that the creative output is patentable). Can copyright and patent rights be claimed for the invention? Or is a claim to copyright and a claim to patent mutually exclusive? Has it to be one or the other? The patent laws of all countries require that the features claimed in the patent should be novel as at the date of first filing of the patent application. If the inventor has disclosed details of the invention to the public in any manner (e.g., by publishing details of the invention in a journal, on a website or even orally at a conference proceeding/seminar) prior to the filing of the patent application, the requirement of novelty is not met and a patent will not be granted, and if granted, it can be invalidated for lacking novelty. Even the inventor’s own publication (where the inventor is named as the author of the paper) is sufficient to destroy the novelty, and is no excuse. (Note: Some countries do excuse such prior publications by the inventor, provided the patent application is filed within a stipulated period, otherwise known as the grace period.) It is advisable not to rely on the grace period as an excuse to publish the invention before filing the patent application. However, it is possible to file the patent application and thereafter, on the very next day, publish the details of the invention, although for strategic reasons it is not advisable to do so, especially if further research is still being carried out on the subject matter of the invention. The author has personal experience where a granted patent for a commercially important invention is being challenged by a competitor for lack of novelty

citing the inventor’s own publication of the invention in his institution’s in-house publications and on the institution’s website. Alternatively, can the inventor keep the invention confidential or as a trade secret instead of filing a patent or publishing the invention and claiming copyright? If the invention relates to a chemical product or a method of manufacture, details of which can be kept confidential within the four walls of the factory and the product or process cannot be reverse engineered by analysis of the product when it is placed in the market, then it may be advantageous to keep the details of the product or process of manufacture as a trade secret. However, in this modern age of availability of sophisticated analytical tools and techniques, I doubt if such a process or composition can be kept confidential and cannot be reverse engineered. Reverse engineering a product or process is lawful although it may not be morally acceptable or ethical. Further, once the trade secret is leaked out, there is no way the secret can be contained. It is also difficult to take legal action against anyone accused of using stolen trade secrets or of obtaining trade secrets unlawfully. If the inventor is desirous of commercialising his invention, then potential investors or licensees would demand to see patent rights and would not be favourable to obtaining a licence to use trade secrets. In summary, it can be concluded that where an inventor is researching on an area with potentially high commercial value, he is strongly advised to seek patent rights for the invention (assuming the results of the research meet the patentability criteria) rather than depend on copyright protection or trade secret. Note: This area of practice of intellectual property rights is complex and highly technical in nature. Inventors are strongly advised to seek professional advice from experienced practitioners in the field. This article is published purely for information and should not be construed as legal advice. Each case would depend on its own facts as to determine the best way to claim proprietary rights in order to commercialise the invention.

P. Kandiah is the Founder and Director of KASS International, an established intellectual property firm with offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Mr. Kandiah has vast experience in obtaining patents, trademarks and industrial design rights on a global scale, and also specializes in identifying patentable inventions, designing around patented technology, and advising on the commercialization of IP Rights, franchising and licensing strategies. For more information, visit www.kass.com.my or drop an e-mail to kass@kass.com.my.

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3D Printed Food The newest kitchen appliance called the Foodini, is designed to print delicious, healthy meals using fresh, natural ingredients. by Sharmila Vella

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nventors are taking innovative measures to make human life easier, comfortable and more interesting. What was not possible few years ago is quickly taking shape with innovative and imaginative ideas. The 3D printing, a technology long priced beyond many peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reach, is quickly coming to attention. In fact, companies are trying to 3D print all kinds of new things, including food. Think about the machines that we could only see in the movies which prepared, cooked, and served meals on command or a touch of a button. This could actually

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be our future. 3D food printing has the potential to revolutionise food production by boosting culinary creativity, food sustainability, and nutritional value in the years to come. This newest kitchen appliance is one that is designed to allow people who are simply too busy to prepare their food to create delicious, healthy meals without the messy and lengthy preparations. That is, if the idea of printing food sounds appealing to you. Foodini is a 3D food printer by Natural Machines. Foodini makes all kinds of food like pizza, pasta, breads


and even sweets like cookies. According to Natural Machines all you have to do is simply load the dough and filling and Foodini will print the pasta for you. Foodini is the first 3D printer to print all types of real, fresh, nutritious foods, from savoury to sweet, according to the Natural Machines. It uses fresh, real ingredients, making the Foodini the first 3D food printer kitchen appliance to contribute “to a healthy eating lifestyle”. While Foodini isn’t available for purchase just yet, co-founder Lynette Kucsma, envisions a time where every household will own their own 3D food printer. Now that 3D printing has the world enamoured, it’s natural that the technology would be used to make food and to make making food easier. It’s still a very new field, but food 3D printing is super exciting stuff and could, if Star Trek is an accurate depiction of how things will be 2,000 years from now, be the technology used to prepare all of our personally tailored meals. “It’s the same technology as regular 3D printers,” says Lynette, “but with plastics there’s just one melting point, whereas with food it’s different temperatures, consistencies, and textures. The food is real food, made from fresh ingredients prepared before printing. That means you’ll still have to bake or boil the food before consuming it.” Initially, Natural Machines is currently marketing Foodini to professionals, but a consumer version is also expected - for about US$1,000. Like most household items these days, Foodini is meant to be connected to your kitchen via the Internet, making the product not only useful, but also technologically advanced as it syncs with your smartphone or tablet to share recipes. Natural Machines has conducted some tests, all with positive results. But it remains to be seen whether the public will accept food built by a printer. This is real food, with real fresh ingredients. It’s just prepared using a new technology.

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Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

Imagine eating Dulse, a type of red seaweed that tastes like bacon when fried, minus the cholesterol and fats. by Sharmila Vella

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t seems too good to be true but researchers have quickly patented the seaweed that normally grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. The seaweed is actually a new strain of red marine algae called dulse and looks like red lettuce, that is packed with all the good minerals. When fried, dulse tastes like bacon which is good news for vegans, vegetarians and health conscious people. Aquaculture researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues

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at Oregon State Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hatfield Marine Science Center have patented the new strain. Langdon has studied dulse, trying to figure out a way to make the nutritious algae grow quickly enough to become commercially viable feed for abalone, a type of edible sea snail. In 2004, he obtained a patent for a particularly fast-growing strain that can double its weight in just 10 days. However, a year and a half ago, Chuck Toombs, a business professor at Oregon State University suggested that Langdon might want to


stop trying to grow dulse for abalone, and start growing it for humans. The succulent red marine algae is a fast-growing and super nutritious plant that has about 16% protein by dry weight. It is also rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. “Dulse is a super-food with twice the nutritional value of kale,” said Toombs. Seaweeds and sea vegetables are known for taking up vitamins from the water, so minerals such as iodine, potassium and calcium are part of the goodness of eating dulce. Several Portland chefs, as well as the Food Innovation Center in Portland, are experimenting with the new ingredient, including adding it to peanut brittle and trail mix, and even candied dulse chips added to ice cream. It is interesting to note that dulse has, for centuries, been harvested in the wild and used in northern European cuisine. In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food. It’s an ancient snack in Ireland, where people living along the island’s northern shore have traditionally gathered it. Health food stores around the world sell it, too. “I think the public is ready to have something that tastes good and is good for you. There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form,” said Langdon. Researchers say their dulse, when fried, smells and tastes like bacon. This is a big relief for bacon lovers who indulge in this treat but cannot eat bacon due to health reasons, as bacon is known to have excess sodium and can elevate blood pressure and raise risk of heart disease. Langdon, recently said in an interview with CNN that he anticipates dulse becoming a more common bacon replacement for people who are concerned about their cholesterol levels or who do not eat meat due to other dietary or religious reasons. He said the research team has received interest from vegans and vegetarians. Dulse’s quick growth time is an advantage that the

seaweed has over other food sources, especially livestock, which is expensive and time-consuming to rear. It can be cultivated anywhere where there is a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine. “The advantage of farming sea vegetables, like dulse, is that it does not depend on freshwater supplies and ecologically benefits the marine environment by removing nutrients and dissolved carbon,” added Langdon. He and his colleagues grow dulse in cultured tanks of seawater producing about 30 pounds of seaweed each week. Growing the dulse in cultured tanks allows them to fine-tune the nutrient content of the water and grow dulse year round, but it also constrains their ability to scale their dulse operation to a commercially-viable size. Although there’s been no research done as yet into how well the crop could be commercialised, marketers are now working on a plan for a line of specialty foods, with the vegan and vegetarian markets in mind.

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For a Cleaner, Healthier Environment The SEERS Hybrid Hot Water System is the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first eco-friendly hybrid technology with only 12-volt dc power by Sharmila Vella

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nventors are the new breed whose ideas are shaping the technology we enjoy today. However, bringing an idea to reality is no easy feat as Ken Foo, founder of SEERS Technology Sdn Bhd, will tell you. “It’s a three year journey of ups and downs but the reward is satisfying as it’s a proud accomplishment of my dream that turned into reality,” says Foo, the winner of the Asian Invention Cup 2009. It all started with the safety level of water heaters installed in homes. “It came to my knowledge that electrocutions while showering claims one life every 6 months. That’s a staggering amount for a product that should be safe in the first place.” That got him thinking about why water heaters in homes case electrocution and what can be done to have a safe water heating system. He discovered that the problem was the corroded and cracked heating elements immersed inside the water heaters or boilers. “So, I put on my thinking cap to create a water heater without using heating elements. With my background study of Aerospace Engineering, I created the technology that offers an efficient heat transfer technique where energy is extracted from ambient air to produce hot water,” added Foo. The SEERS Hybrid Hot Water System is the world’s first eco-friendly hybrid technology that enables users to enjoy hot water that’s powered by, an inexpensive to operate, 12v DC system. The system incorporates a revolutionary technology that offers an efficient heat transfer technique, where energy is extracted from ambient air to produce hot water without the use of heating elements, electric booster or hermetic compressor. Using only 12-volt DC power consumption, the system is not only cost effective, but also very safe. It is now possible for you to have a luxurious bath with instant hot shower. You an also disinfect dirty laundry or wash dishes with hot water on a daily basis without worrying about running up the energy bill. Its low-energy consumption technology makes it among the most cost-saving hot water systems in the world. Unlike conventional solar system, the SEERS hybrid hot water system works day and night regardless of the weather. A temperature-controller enables the user to adjust water temperature as required. With global warming on everyone’s mind, people are becoming more concerned about the environment they live in. Winning the Asian Invention Cup in 2009 not only boosted his confidence but opened the doors for opportunities. “I got many calls from developers wanting to use my product. I also managed to get some investors to invest in my invention after I got the Award,” added Foo. After winning the Award, he landed his first project to install water heaters in a high-end residential development in Mont Kiara. “I started receiving other projects from

developers such as IJM, Mah Sing Group, IGB, Paramount Property and SP Setia.” After capturing the local market, Foo started to look for opportunities overseas and began exporting the product to Japan, Ireland, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. Besides instant water heater, SEERS also market centralised hybrid hot water system, alkaline water purifier that eliminates 99.99 % of harmful bacteria and dirt in the drinking water, storage water heater, hot water dispenser and 3 second thermos flask booster pump. “Our revolutionary heat transfer technique, also harnesses ambient heat and releases cooled air back to the environment. SEERS hopes to restore the balance of the environment by providing a cleaner, healthier and cooler world for future generations,” said Foo. Foo’s mission is to build a strong environmental brand by producing energy-efficient electrical appliances to meet the market trends and demand. SEERS Technology is the inventor and manufacturer of its signature DC water heater system that uses its international patented 12 Volt driven heat extraction technology. This world-renowned application was filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) under the title “Apparatus for Heating Water and Methodology Thereof”.

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Growing Trees Into Furniture & Art Combining modern technology with ancient techniques, a British designer has come up with an eco-friendly way to create furniture â&#x20AC;&#x201C; using moulds to guide branches into chairs, tables and sculptures. by Sharmila Vella

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he next time you sit on a wooden chair, don’t be surprised to discover that the chair has been ‘grown’ and not manufactured in a factory. No nails, fixings or machinery are used in creating the furniture. This novel way of creating or growing extraordinary household chairs and tables is the brainchild of British designer Gavin Munro who not only challenges the way we create products, but believes in letting Mother Nature do all the hard work. As a young boy growing up in England, he noticed that his mother had a bonsai tree which was left to grow in its own direction. It eventually formed itself into the shape of a throne. He was intrigued by the idea of a chair being created directly from nature. However, it was only when he moved to California – to get a degree in Furniture Design, an apprenticeship to a cabinet-maker and a long stint building with natural materials – that the idea of ‘growing’ furniture as a business took firm root. While in San Francisco, he spent his free time crafting furniture from driftwood, but the thought of his mother’s

bonsai plant never left him. If a bonsai plant could grow into a chair shape, why not other furniture, he thought. Returning to England, he founded his firm, Full Grown, in 2006, with one goal in mind – to create the world’s most eco-friendly furniture design company. “My chairs and tables are formed from one solid piece of wood. No joints, no nails, no weak points, and no unnecessary waste,” he said in an interview recently in the Architectural Digest magazine. How are these grown furniture made? He trains and prunes young tree branches as they grow over specially designed plastic moulds or formers. At certain points he grafts them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece. “It is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials,” he said. After it’s grown into the shape he wants, he continues to nurture the tree while it thickens and matures before harvesting it, and then letting it season and dry. “After that, it is a matter of planning and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside,” he said. The whole process of growing a chair can take between 4 and 8 years. Using this method, he’s already created

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It is a matter of planning and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside. – Gavin Munro

several prototype pieces and has a whole field of willow trees in Derbyshire where he, his wife, Alice, and their team are currently tending a crop of 500 tables, chairs and lampshades which Munro hopes to harvest next year. It takes an immense amount of patience to get the job done. For every 100 trees, there are at least 1,000 branches that grow with them that must be shaped, coaxed and cared for. Also, the shoots must be trimmed at the right time to preserve the health of the tree while maintaining the desired shape. Currently, Munro uses willow trees to grow furniture. ‘Growing’ furniture is not a new concept. In fact, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians grew stools while the Chinese were known to dig holes and grow tree roots through the gaps of chair-shaped rocks. In 1904, American, John Krubsack planted the ‘chair that grew’ which took him 11 years. He inspired Axel Earlanderson to make the tree circus in the 1950s. Several other people have also ‘grown’ their own furniture. Munro is experimenting with other tree species such as Ash, Sycamore, Hazel, Crab Apple, Sessile Oak and Red Oak. Using these new timber types means that other products can be grown to take advantage of different grain, hardness, finish, and texture. Most of all, each piece is as unique as the individual tree. The grown furniture are also very sturdy as they do not

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have weak points around the joints. “Just like a broken bone will be a lot stronger where it heals, the points where the wood is grafted are extremely strong,” explained Alice. Munro is also conscious of reducing his carbon footprint. The tree furniture does not consume enormous amounts of energy as ordinary tree farming does. Unlike the traditional furniture-making industry, the trees at Full Grown are not sawed down, chopped up, carted away, and milled, which saves a lot of energy. Also, the tending of the trees uses the least amount of water possible, the new formers used to shape the trees are made from recycled plastic, and Munro’s office area (a caravan) has solar power and a composting toilet. According to calculations by Munro and his team, they barely use 25 per cent of the energy required to make a timber chair using ordinary methods. As the first commercially-available chairs are expected to be ready for sale by around mid-2017, Munro is in discussions with a few galleries. Other items such as geometric lamps and mirror frames, are expected to be available in the later part of this year.


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Battleground & Playground:

How to Develop and Harness Intelligent Design for Social Innovation by Stephen Poon

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ur greatest asset as humankind is the same conundrum that civilisations have grappled with from the ancient epochs, agrarian kingdoms, industrial and technological ages, and to today’s information economy. It’s our ability to invent. Innovating is that intrinsic ability to translate ideas into coherent systems, designs, concepts, projects and platforms. Social innovations, however, are that which introduce or urge populations to embrace broad changes in attitudes, behaviours and perceptions, in the hope of transforming said societies for the greater good. It can be argued that innovation is an accomplishment which defines every progressive society. Designing our present and future has always led to the birth, development, adoption and integration of intelligent concepts and practices that resolve existing problems. In fulfilling social and economic needs, designers are intrinsically concerned with solutions, necessitated by two visionary credos: to earn respect and gain experience. Hence, associated experiences from the process of innovating and introducing market-worthy new ideas have to have direct linkages to the degrees of effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of designs. Innovations that improve our quality of life prepossess public support and faith. They, as innovation

researchers claim, are not scattergun chances of random actions; they fundamentally proceed from entrepreneurial mind sets of various change agents and leaders who risk much to bring new experiences and consummate the work of “creative destruction” (Joseph Schumpeter, 1942; Deborah Cox and John Rigby, 2013). Following is the checklist of criteria for the successful establishment of design-led innovation. Resourcefulness is a characteristic domain of design innovators as much as business entrepreneurs. Underscoring this trait is emotional intelligence, non-linear cognitive skills, willingness to conduct trial

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and error experimental prototyping, being open to collaborations, strong risk tolerance and intuition of consumers’ experiences who engage in creative content. Emotional intelligence calls for empathy for what appeals directly to audiences. Donald Norman sees it the model of behavioural change that outlasts our visceral, impulsive tendencies to judge the nature of experiences. Designers of branding communication, for instance, must understand the innate, emotional, psychological, workings of symbols and icons that ignites loyalty and motivates consumer commitment, bringing user experiences to a more dynamic aspect of relationship, from a pure platonic friendship to what practitioners label (Figure 1) as the “lovemarks” (Kevin Roberts, 2004).

Figure 1: The ‘Lovemarks’ Academy, a Saatchi & Saatchi project, 2013.

History plays an indispensable role in design. In understanding social histories, phenomena and problems, designers must participate in deconstructing past methods and systems, values and approaches. Innovations must be grounded to “what worked well before” before there can be breaking away from conventions and norms. Historical awareness helps frame aspects of knowledge, skills and competencies required for the production of creative ideas that fits contemporary situations and purposes. For instance, while large-scale food manufacturing serves and feeds the masses, changes in social attitudes towards dietary issues, its links to health and wellbeing and breakthrough technologies have enabled innovators to tap potential niche concepts like organic farming, nutraceuticals, mobile food trucks, food communities as well as artisanal cuisine. “Art is not a thing, it is a way”. So, said American craftsman, publisher and radical philosopher, Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915). The essence of this truth is never as crucial as it is today, in training the present generation

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of design thinkers to find creative, intelligent inspirations (and elegant solutions) for existing problems. Hence, creative designing for social innovation involves new paradigms of educated abstraction: designers must be able to make a business case for positive social action, based on acknowledging what problem exists, for how long, for whom social innovations must work, and what degree of effectiveness in measuring success or failure, and assessing results. Evidently, the expression of ideas that improve human living and social conditions derives from a basic perceptive skills which guide every designer in the integration of language, art, objects, images, colours, shapes, sounds, scents, textures, instincts or even random thoughts. Perception is the basis of understanding design’s linkages with the five senses. Perception indicates our level of awareness and insights of particular scenarios, problems, objects, etc. Designers seek reflexive markers to understand how design outcomes could be meaningful to specific groups as determined by ages, cultures, professions, education, etc. These factors also shape the amount of potential intelligence needed for the outcomes to be made sense of. The level of intelligence also presumes that targeted benefactors or groups have certain degree of tolerance of the trial and error process before the intended message hits home. Design research methodologies is an essential pathway towards generating the ’Big Idea’ that addresses issues endemic in particular societies. Though purposeful, exploratory research is often chaotic. Design prototypes must consider the best interests of the masses, yet be authentic, resilient, and able to shift social behaviour for desirable outcomes. Semiotics, the principles by which designers figure how signs, symbols and associations interplay in design outcomes, is a backbone of design research. Design research suggests that people tend to pay more attention to subjects that affect them in comparison to irrelevant topics. With that, a designer has clear basis for developing new ideas that affect certain groups or target segments. Impactful innovations are rooted in simplifying interactions between design prototype and users. Aside from mastering the broad intertextual discourses which forms their perception, knowledge, intuition and subconscious, designers need to have strong visualisation ability to craft messages and representations through semiotics and visual metaphors, which in turn are infused with the intertextual elements they perceive would capture target audience’s attention, while subliminally enforcing desired notions in their minds. Design thinking is naturally entwined with the process of identifying opportunities. Design-centric


You should try to surprise yourself as you work, so that you don’t know all the answers in advance … it is possible to operate in many [design] areas if your interest leads you that way.

Milton Glaser

methods begin innovating through using the ‘Creative Toolbox’ to stimulate creativity, analysing trends and patterns, and improvising from experiential learning. The designer’s creative toolbox contain elements of sensorial stimuli, including visuals and images, symbols and signs, sounds, smells, feels and other mediated representations of discourse that can be associated with the intended audience. Orientation toward the visual dimension is the way design creates imagery as an interpretation of the stimuli. Various models and tools lend depth to design knowledge, helping practitioners improve insights on user perceptions, and make educated abstraction of associative or symbolic ideation. However verbalised and articulated, these knowledge inputs go through the processes of conceptualisation, creative development, adaptation, implementation and evaluation. Opportunity identification is followed by resource generation, idea implementation, and getting feedback. For most people, it’s almost impossible to actually describe and explain the images of change they wish to see and problems to be addressed. Hence, designers are constantly researching and analysing the potency of aesthetics for various audiences. Living in increasingly mediated environments, with a multiplicity of networks and interactions in communities, people’s

communicative acts have been robbed of the humanising elements of pleasure or satisfaction. Conclusively, design is neither peripheral nor an after-effect in social innovations; it is the core culture change ingredient. Designers must differentiate between knowledge and practice; balancing aesthetic sensibility with their distinct belief system and values, while fulfilling a higher purpose in the context of innovation for greater good and advancement of the practice. Milton Glaser once said, “You should try to surprise yourself as you work, so that you don’t know all the answers in advance … it is possible to operate in many [design] areas if your interest leads you that way”. Creating meaningful innovations requires tactful accommodation of client objectives, audience communities’ beliefs and designers’ ideals. The end result is often the fruition of the exploration of meanings, limits and attitudes during the creative process. Social innovations are the designer’s new battlegrounds and playgrounds. In and through them are opportunities to cross barriers, break from mundane thinking, improvise, refresh, discontinue old stereotypes and create intelligent solutions for today’s social problems, ensuring competitive edge as the crucial mainstay of creative industries.

“The writer is a member of the Editors’ Board as well as a Social Design Catalyst.”

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Asia’s Innovative Companies Sime Darby, Malaysia When British businessmen William Sime and Henry Darby established Sime, Darby and Co. in October 1910, they were newcomers to the rubber industry – then a flourishing industry. After many changes in governance and a merger in 2007 with Golden Hope and Guthrie, Sime Darby Berhad, is today an investment holding company with six businesses at its core – plantation, property, industrial, healthcare, motors, energy and utilities. It has proven itself an enormous success. Last year, the Malaysia-based multinational raked in an estimated RM43.73 billion in revenue. Excellent performance by the group’s diverse business sectors and subsidiaries had also garnered Sime Darby Berhad many prestigious awards: ‘2015 Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Building Construction New Product Innovation Award’, and ‘Institut Kimia Malaysia (IKM) President Laboratory Award for 2014’, among others. The most significant achievement by this innovative company is its contribution to the research and development of agriculture via its root business, Sime Darby Plantation. Most noteworthy of their successful research efforts took form in: development of the Calix 600 high-yield oil palm seed, an award-winning zero burning replanting technique, leading management practices on water conservation and irrigation, and the conversion of Empty Fruit Bunches (EFB) and Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) into compost for plantations. In addition to its strong product support capabilities, Sime Darby continuously strives to inculcate and embed corporate responsibilities into its value chain, just as it highly values its diverse workforce, winning it ‘Best Company for Female Worker Empowerment Province Level’. The multinational also sees training as one of the key factors in maintaining customer satisfaction – Sime Darby Industrial Division has Caterpillar certified training campuses throughout the region, offering training programmes for technical and upgrading skills on servicing, selling and management. These facilities will be the mainstay of Sime Darby Industrial’s commitment to training and towards ensuring that the latest technical innovation and expertise are available to customers.

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Marko, which had Dutch origins, was created with a Sam’s Club-style concept (based on the American chain of membersonly retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart). Their plan was to retail goods at low prices to registered members (already itself an innovative branding), and meet the demand preferences of Hotel/Restaurant/Café (HoReCa) customers. It created new, huge demand waves, and helped set new trends in the succeeding years, including a cult-following of loyal customers. Twenty five years after its establishment in Thailand as Siam Makro Public Company Limited, the cash-and-carry had opened nearly 70 stores (including 64 Makro stores, and 5 Siam Frozen Food stores) and served over 2.5 million customers in 2013. In 2013, Makro was listed as one of ‘Forbes Top 100 Most Innovative Growth Companies’. It was also the recipient of a ‘7 Innovation Award’ given out by a collective of Thai government agencies. Their sales performance and market presence were so astounding that Charoen Popkhand Group, led by billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, acquired the company from SHV Holdings (a Dutch training company) for a record US$6.6 billion in 2013. Makro’s keys to success are its determination to progressively expand their branches, to provide product variety at unbeatable pricing and quality, developing relationships with business partners and upholding social responsibility. The company retains its edge via competitive product development – visiting Makro, shoppers can often find new items. By developing variety store formats like the ‘Eco Plus’ (22% fresh food, 58% dry food, and the remainder are non-food items), Makro widened its customer base while reaching out to more operators in the retail and food industries. Makro bases its business on ethics summarised in the word ‘VICTORY’ – the first two letters stand for ‘visionary’ and ‘integrity’. Being a company that wants to make it big in Thailand, a slogan is not enough. It has made the prices of its goods affordable for all its clientele, which would require a combination of intelligent sourcing, cost-control and inventory planning – Siam qualities that constitute what is uniquely Makro, Makro’s innovative corporate culture. Thailand

Compiled by Sean Low

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A financial crisis in 2012 was the turning point for Panasonic Corporation, Japan’s largest corporate employer and the world’s fourth largest TV manufacturer. Panasonic’s plan to go for broke on its consumer electronics business had cost the corporation US$10.2 billion in losses. The Japanese giant desperately needed to plug its losses. “We had to change – recreate Panasonic. From that point of view, it was a good opportunity,” said Kazuhiro Tsuga, President of Panasonic Corporation, when reflecting back on those dark moments. Tsuga intensified Panasonic’s efforts in interconnected businesses such as building “green” with cutting edge Technostructure designs in Asia, automotive electronics, and co-operating with companies like California-based Tesla Motors in manufacturing electric-car batteries. Panasonic and Tesla are jointly funding the construction of a US$5 billion lithium-ion battery “gigafactory” in Nevada. Since the founding of the company in 1918, Panasonic has been operating on the basic management philosophy of its founder Konosuke Matsushita regarding ‘commitment to improving peoples’ lives around the world, and to the further progress of society’. Bent on creating “A Better Life, A Better World” for everyone, Panasonic constantly challenges business partners and itself into achieving “cross-value innovation” and enhanced customer value in new growth areas. Hence, the Panasonic Venture Group was set up to diversify its business through innovation-based technology partnerships that lead to competitive advantage.

Alibaba, known as the ‘Chinese e-commerce superpower, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange with a world-record tech IPO raising US$25 billion in shares sold. While Alibaba did not invent e-commerce, it conquered the domestic markets by reinventing certain technologies and refining existing business models to be on par with industry players overseas. It is said to connect 36 million businesses worldwide to date. Alibaba.com was founded in 1999 in in Hangzhou, China, by 18 people with Jack Ma, a former English teacher, as its leader. Alibaba, They all believed that the China Internet is the platform for

Panasonic, Japan

At the Panasonic Centre in Osaka, visitors can review prototypes for the business market – cameras, displays, biometrics, and connected technology for working place and homes. Abroad, in 2013, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America opened the doors to the Panasonic Innovation Centre which serves as an incubator for nextgeneration automotive In-Vehicle Infotainment technologies, extensive software development, validation and testing. In 2012, Panasonic was the only company in Japan to be selected among the world’s top 10 leading companies on climate change by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

small enterprises to leverage on innovation and technology to grow, and eventually compete with established companies in domestic and global markets. Today, the company and its related companies operate leading wholesale and retail websites, as well as provide Internet-based financing, marketing services and other mobile solutions to clients all over the world – ultimately creating a onestop marketplace in lieu of a narrow niche service. Alibaba has also expanded into personal finance, games, video and other services. During its growth, Alibaba thwarted challenges with indefatigable creativity, and all the years which led to today for Alibaba can be transcribed as a masterclass in innovation. Winding back to 2003, EachNet, then China’s top e-commerce site, was acquired by eBay for $150 million. The quick-witted Ma retaliated by launching ‘Taobao’ and ‘Alipay’. eBay backed away three years later. In 2014, Ma launched 11Main.com, enabling American consumers to purchase merchandise from an Alibaba affiliate for the first time. It is interesting to note that Alibaba’s management culture is as nonconformist as Ma’s outspoken eccentricity – but make no mistake, the group’s employees and executives are passionate about their work, believe in teamwork and embrace change to adapt to new business conditions in order to move forward. Alibaba is the fourth ‘Smartest Company of 2015’ as rated by MIT Technology Review, while ranking third on the ‘World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies’ list by Fast Company.

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B O O K

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On Invention: Awakening The Inventive Mind This informative book spins captivating tales of intriguing inventions

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by Chng Bee Ee

his newly published book by Dr Leo Ann Mean is a compendium of invention. It is an interesting and informative book for anyone interested in the field of invention. It tells many fascinating stories of inventions that we are very familiar with today. It encompasses a comprehensive coverage of things ranging from simple everyday items like the paper clip, to more complex gadgets like the modern cellular phone. Written as a sequel to the author’s earlier book, “On Creativity: Awakening the Creative Mind”, this book begins by differentiating inventions from discoveries, followed by descriptions of many inventions which play an important part in our lives today. The 22 chapters are organised in the author’s own worldview of inventions and inventors, categorising the inventions under headings such as Once Upon A Time, Moving In Air, Office Stuff, Crazy Inventions, and Name It After Me! Each chapter starts off with a delightful short poem and an anecdote that introduces the content that follows. It reads easily with a touch of humour at appropriate places. While each invention is succinctly described, a few more pictures may make the book more appealing to the visual literate readers of today. Would-be inventors will find the appendices most informative. They range from practical advice on inventing and patenting to descriptions of invention associations and related organisations both local and overseas. The appendices also provide much useful information such as annotations of books on invention, online magazines as well as links and contacts. Every inventor and everyone interested in how things are invented should get hold of a copy of this inspiring book and read it from cover to cover. On Invention: Awakening the Inventive Mind by Dr. Leo Ann Mean is available in all leading bookshops throughout the country.

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GET YOUR COPY NOW AT RM29.90! Available at all leading bookshops throughout the country. Invention Asia

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BRINGING YOUNG INVENTORS TO THE FORE Young inventors share their ideas & thought process

10

MALAYSIAN INVENTIONS THAT HAVE IMPACTED SOCIETY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Celebration

ITEX’S SILVER JUBILEE

PowereD by

rM10

MyIPO Director General Shamsiah Kamaruddin talks about the importance of IP protection

INVENTIONS THAT CONTINUE TO CHANGE OUR WORLD

ITEX 2015

EMBRACING DESIGN THINKING

CONNECTING INVENTIVE MINDS

Design process in the invention of Embrace Infant Warmer

MALAYSIAN WOMEN INVENTORS IMPRESS Spotlight on 5 award-winning women inventors

ITEX MALAYSIA 2014

The year that was

‘MAGIC’ WATER

A look at some inventions that shape our daily life Vol 1 No.1 / 2015 / RM10.60 ISSN 2289-9308

Where sea and freshwater fish swim together in the same tank

POWERED BY

Vol 1 No. 2 / 2015 / RM10.60 ISSN 2289-9308

POWERED BY

ISbN 978-967-12619-0-3

9 789671 261903

KDN No PP18559/08/2014/(033967)

• This is the only magazine wholly devoted to Invention and Innovation in Malaysia.

• Publication of CIS Network Sdn Bhd and Malaysian Invention & Design Society (MINDS)

• INVENTION ASIA is the official publication of the International

Invention & Innovation Exhibition (ITEX), organised by MINDS and managed by CIS Network. ITEX is currently 15 years old in Malaysia. • ITEX is the official event of Asia Caucus of Invention Association (ACIA) and is recognised by the International Federation of Inventors Association (IFIA). Supported by MOSTI, Ministry of Education Malaysia and Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and MyIPO. • The Patron is the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. • The inaugural issue was launched in May 2014 by the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. DISTRIBUTION

• Distributed during the ITEX exhibition. • Copies distributed to all Ministries in Malaysia & relevant agencies/ • • • •

Invention Asia

KDN No PP18559/08/2014/(033967)

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PUBLICATION DATE

Twice a year – May & Nov, since 2014 CIRCULATION

15,000 copies AD BOOKING DEADLINE

1st April & 1st Oct

Publishers:

departments in the country. Embassies & Consulate Offices in Malaysia. National and International Business Councils/Chambers. Business Organisation Networks. Sold in all major bookshops nationwide.

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3/05/16 11:21 PM


1st International Conference on Invention & Design (ICID) 2016 DRIVING INNOVATION THROUGH INVENTION & DESIGN 13-14 May 2016 – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Keynotes Speakers

Innovation

Tan Sri Omar Abdul Rahman Malaysia’s First Science Advisor to the Prime Minister

Sustainability

Dato’ Dr Kenneth Yeang Principal of Hamzah & Yeang (Malaysia)

Photonics

Professor Dr Harith Ahmad Professor of Photonics University of Malaya

Industrial Design

Prof Dr Yen Ching Chiuan Head, Division of Industrial Design National University of Singapore

Key Trends Covered in ICID 2016 Sustainability in Science & Technology/Design/Social Science/Humanities Creativity in Science & Technology/Design/Social Science/Humanities Cultivating Innovation in Science & Technology/Design/Social Science/Humanities Protecting Intellectual Property in Science & Technology/Design/Social Science/Humanities The following are some of papers which will be presented Sustainability  

“A Prospective, Double-Blind Randomized, Controlled Study on the Effect of Haruan Fish Extract (Channa striatus) on Wound Healing and Quality of Life of Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Patients” (Speaker: Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa (Monash University, Australia) “Utilization of Durian Leaves as Adsorbent for the Removal of Zinc (II) from Aqueous Solution” (Presenter: Dr Manal Mohsen Abood, Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur)

Creativity  

“An Automatic Bus Kneeling System” (Presenter Mr. Afshin Aslian, Universiti Malaya) “Font, Color, Brightness of Smartphone User Interface for Elderly Users” (Presenter: Ms. Raywadee Sakdulyatam, Chulalongkorn University)

Cultivating Innovation 

“Conceptual Design Analysis Of High-Altitude Platform For Broadband Telecommunication” (Speaker: Mr Azam Che Idris (Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia) “Granular Flexible Gripper For Effective Oil Palm Loose Fruits Collecting Process” (Presenter: Cik Nurnabila Akma Ismail, Universiti Malaysia Perlis)

MINDS would like to invite you to participate in the ICID - 2016 in conjunction with International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX). We believe these presentations and discussions will stimulate interest and development in creativity and innovations. It is our intention to encourage as many of you as possible to attend this conference so, for every 2 paying participants we will give 1 on a complimentary basis.

Registration: RM1,200/pax For registration and further information please contact: minds.secretariat@gmail.com Tel: 03-71182062

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Profile for Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd

Invention Asia|Vol 2|No 1|2016|ITEX 2016  

Invention Asia is the only magazine wholly devoted to Invention and Innovation in Malaysia, and is also the official publication of the Inte...

Invention Asia|Vol 2|No 1|2016|ITEX 2016  

Invention Asia is the only magazine wholly devoted to Invention and Innovation in Malaysia, and is also the official publication of the Inte...

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