The government-funded Institute for Information Industry (III, 資策會) yesterday showcased its first product to win the coveted “iF Product Design Award” from Germany’s International Forum Design, marking a shift from its previous focus on purely technological research to the design of end products incorporating those technologies.
The winning product entry was the “ServBox,” a portable piece of hardware that looks like a set-top box that can be held in two hands. It is able to “communicate” with the chip controllers of machine tools at a factory.
That means if a machine tools manufacturer deploys the ServBox at its clients’ factories, the box will record the production process at those sites. This will allow tool manufacturers to monitor a factory’s workflow and offer prompt maintenance service if the equipment breaks down.
“State-funded research organizations including III have always been technology oriented. We are now making a shift to market our technologies in aesthetic designs and product forms,” said Lin Chih-chieh (林志杰), a manager of III’s innovative digitech-enabled applications and services division.
In this way, he said, III will be able to show these products to outside companies that show an interest in licensing its technologies.
Lin made the remarks on the sidelines of a press conference held by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to showcase Taiwan’s iF-award-winning products.
Since it was inaugurated in 1953, the iF award has become a trademark distinction for -exceptional designs. Companies submit their products for a professional design quality assessment by an international panel of experts.
This edition of the award attracted a total of 2,756 product submissions from 1,121 participants in 43 countries. Taiwan had 93 winning entries in a variety of categories this year.
Another state-funded organization, Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI, 紡織產業綜合研究所), also had one iF-winning entry.
Woven LED threads in its LED windbreaker protect bicycle riders during road trips by making them more visible.
Both III and TTRI are first-time winners of the award, and their projects were subsidized by the ministry’s Department of Industrial Technology, which launched the “Dechnology” program for state-funded research institutions last year.
“The term ‘Dechnology’ means the project includes a ‘design’ element. The department deems that innovative designs must be incorporated into technology research for possible product commercialization,” said Monica Chi (紀懿珊), a researcher at the department.