Platform helps to 'brew' over 60 product ideas

Exploit Technologies (ETPL), the commercialisation arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), has helped to generate over 60 product ideas and concepts through a platform it started a little over two years ago.

ETPL was set up in 2002 to help bring the innovations created in A*Star's research institutes to market, but in 2013, it saw a need to boost collaboration between scientists and industry.

This, it realised, was the starting point towards the creation of innovative and useful products, ETPL said.

And so it launched its first "ideation platform", a two-day brainstorming and pitching session themed "Brewing Wearable".

Scientists from two A*Star research institutes - the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and the Institute for Infocomm Research - met people from private companies, investment funds and institutes of higher learning.

The scientists showcased their technologies to the other participants and they formed teams to brainstorm ideas on how to use the innovations to solve real-world problems through wearable devices.

Each team identified a target industry and market segment for each technology and developed a minimum viable product in a day.

They then pitched their product idea to a team of venture capitalists from Red Dot Ventures, Formation 8, FocusTech Ventures and Joyful Frog Digital Incubator to validate and develop their solutions further.

The event generated many business leads, investor inquiries and requests for samples, and was such a success that it has since become an annual programme spanning six months, with each programme revolving around a different theme.

In 2014, when the theme was "Next to the Skin", prototypes of fashionable wearable technologies were displayed on a "Smart Wear Runway Showcase".

Last year, the theme was "Care@Home", during which 50 A*Star scientists gained insights from eight companies and organisations in the healthcare industry and learnt about Singapore's ageing society, industry problems, patient needs and how to bring institutional care into the home.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Platform helps to 'brew' over 60 product ideas'. Print Edition | Subscribe