Successful made-in-Singapore tech products

SINGAPORE - The growing maker culture in Singapore has just received a boost after the formation of an association that aims to unify and develop the local maker scene.

These makers tinker with and create things, either to solve a problem, or simply for experimental and creativity's sake.

Mr William Hooi, founder and director of the SG Maker's Association, said: "Thinking of new ways to experiment, to innovate, to tinker - it all comes naturally to makers. They are in the business of creating things people have not seen before."

Perhaps the future inventions of these makers will join the ranks of other Singapore-developed products that have met with global success. Here are four of them:

1. Creative Sound Blaster sound card

Before the iPod became the de facto music player on the streets, people in Singapore were jamming to the tunes of the '90s and early 2000s on their Creative MP3 players.

Creative Technology has been lauded as one of Singapore's most successful tech firms, particularly in its early days.

Creative's most successful venture was its Sound Blaster sound card. This was a chip that was installed in computers for audio processing and was considered to be the industry standard during the 1990s.

2. Razer gaming peripherals

Gamers worldwide were undoubtedly first introduced to their first taste of high-speed precision computer mice and fluid, responsive mechanical keyboards when they picked up their first Razer product.

While the first Razer products were not technically developed in Singapore, they had a very Singaporean touch to them. The company's co-founder and chief executive, Singaporean Tan Min-Liang, was working in San Francisco in 1998 when he developed the first high-speed mouse along with the company's other founder, Robert Krakoff.

To date, Razer products are sold all over the world and have become synonymous with equipment for professional gaming.

3. Rotimatic

Sometimes, all someone wants is a nice, toasty chappati or roti (wholewheat unleavened flatbread), and not have to wait too long for it.

Enter the Rotimatic, a microwave-sized instant chappati-maker, which is able to produce about one warm roti a minute.

It was the brainchild of India-born Ms Pranoti Israni, who is now a Singapore citizen. She set out to build an automatic chapatti maker to take the tedium out of mixing, kneading and rolling dough for the flatbread

When it was first unveiled, the Rotimatic won the Start-Up@Singapore 2009 Business Plan Competition organised by National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Society.

It has caught on strongly in Singapore, India and the United States, with the 2015 pre-order model selling out within days.

When pre-orders started in 2014, thousands of Rotimatic machines flew off the online shelves, netting its company, Zimplistic, a cool US$5 million.

4. Pirate3D Buccaneer 3D printer

The 3D printer is among a maker's favourite tools, as it opens up a whole new way for them to create scale models, figurines, or even small parts for bigger products.

However, being a form of relatively new technology, 3D printers are still too pricey for mass-market appeal. Most machines cost at least $2,500.

The lure of homegrown company Pirate3D's offering, the Buccaneer 3D printer, was its absurdly low price of US$397 (S$550) when it was first announced on crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2013.

Created by a team of graduates of Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore, it raised $1.9 million in funding in just a month, and was the first Singapore company to break the million-dollar mark on the website.

The company has shipped out more than 200 of its Buccaneer printers so far, and are still working on sending the rest of the 2,500 orders it has received.

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