Sun, Apr 14, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese inventions scoop awards in Geneva

TOP BANANA:With innovations including a banana-based dietary supplement and a self-watering plant pot, the nation’s inventors once again scored highly at the event

Staff writer, with CNA, GENEVA

An interactive water-saving picture frame for plants that can automatically gauge the amount of water needed to maintain the plant, invented by a team of Taiwanese inventors, is displayed yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Photo: CNA

Taiwanese inventors won 97 medals and six special prizes, including 30 gold medals, at the 2013 International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this week.

The annual fair, which is considered the world’s largest marketplace for inventions, opened on Wednesday. A 74-member Taiwanese delegation showcased 101 inventions.

The Taiwanese inventors also won 53 silver medals and 14 bronzes.

A total of 725 exhibitors from 45 countries attended the fair — now in its 41st year — in which 1,000 new innovations were displayed, the organizers said.

Taiwan has been a medal magnet at the Geneva fair in recent years, due to its vigorous innovative and creative spirit. Last year, it won 45 gold, 52 silver and 25 bronze medals, as well as eight special prizes.

Taiwan Invention Association chief executive Chen Tsung-tai (陳宗台) said Taiwanese inventions are diverse, ranging from sophisticated high-tech equipment to simple items that are useful for people in everyday life.

Taiwan’s six winners of special prizes in the this year’s show are all conventional inventions for use in daily life, such as a “lifesaving electric socket” that shuts off automatically when a fire breaks out and activates a red guidelight to show the direction of emergency exits.

Others include an interactive plant pot that can automatically gauge the amount of water needed to maintain the plant, and a dietary supplement purported to relieve depression and suppress appetite.

The product, which also won a gold medal, is named “Happy Banana” and is made from banana skins. It was developed and produced by Taipei-based biotechnology company TCI Co.

It took two years for the firm’s research team to develop the product, which is offered in both powder and liquid forms, TCI research division chief Su Hsiang-ling (蘇香綾) said.

“Happy Banana” also won medals at invention exhibitions in Italy and Tokyo last year.

The interactive water-saving picture frame for plants attracted a lot of attention at the Geneva fair. One of its inventors, Chan Tien-ying (詹添印), said picture frames can be useful for displaying indoor plants, but the plants need to be watered.

To facilitate this, he, along with teachers and students from Far East University where he heads the General Education Center, began eight months ago to develop a frame that can automatically water the plant. It also makes sounds of insects and birds as people approach the frame.

The team studied camels, and installed a reservoir within the frame that releases water based on temperature, Chan said.

The design is supposed to allow people to have “a green corner in modern life where they can shake away stress and anxiety,” Chan said.

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