MOST Creates an Integrated Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Scientific Research and Innovation

Article By : Matt Lee

At Computex 2022, the "Science and Technological Innovation Zone" showcased the latest innovations from Taiwan's startup community.

Not only has the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) created a number of scientific research and industrialization platforms to integrate relevant scientific research and entrepreneurial plans, but it also spares no effort to support new innovations. During this year’s Computex 2022, the “Science and Technological Innovation Zone” was set up to showcase the achievements of start-up teams in the InnoVEX exhibition hall, where 38 start-up teams showcased their innovative achievements and ideas, and 9 new start-up teams even conveyed their entrepreneurial ideas and product value through English briefings at the scientific research and innovation results presentation meeting held on the spot.

Finally, the Intelligent High-Quality Embryo Prediction System proposed by the Center for Genomic Medicine of National Cheng Kung University (CGMNCKU) won the championship, while Sounds Great Co. Ltd, a semiconductor micro-chip design company, and Aiplux Technology Co. Ltd, an IP protection and management platform development company, were selected as the second-place and the third-place winners, respectively.

In this scientific research and innovation conference, experts such as Wufu Chen, Chairman of Acorn Campus Taiwan; Ning Ning Yu, R&D Vice President of Taboola; and Dr. Simon Fang, founder of Darwin Venture Management were invited to serve as judges. Before the conference, experts also conducted a dialogue to give participating start-up teams suggestions on how they can use the advantages of industry-university-institute platforms to gain the favor of investors and link themselves to the international markets and resources. MOST hopes that through the R&D strength of academic and research institutions, new energy for sustainable development will be injected into long-term goals such as improving people’s lives, industrial upgrading, and improving the environment.

Figure 1: Scientific research and innovation conference in the InnoVEX. (Image Provided by MoST)

James Lin, Chief Secretary of MoST said that the MOST has in recent years planned and implemented many university-research-startup programs, including not only the promotion of Taiwan Germination Program and the GLORIA Project (Forms a Global Research & Industry Alliance Centered on Universities) but also the buildup of Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) north and south bases. All of them aim to lead Taiwan’s outstanding new start-up teams to advance to the international stage and assist them in linking international markets and investors. It is hoped that a friendly environment for science and technology applications and developments can be built up, the industry-university cooperation and innovation and entrepreneurship energy can be brought from academia and research to the industries, and a complete scientific research and innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem can be created.

Figure 2: James Lin, Chief Secretary of MoST. (Image Provided by MoST)

The Smart High-Quality Embryo Prediction System “icONE” Makes It Possible to Break 90% Success Rate for IVF

In recent years, the problem of low birthrate is getting serious. Life pressure has made the number of infertile patients increase year by year. Even with the test tube baby treatment or the in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the highest pregnancy success rate is about 50%, not 100%.

In view of this, Hsiao-Fang Sun, Director of the Center for Genomic Medicine, National Cheng Kung University(CGMNCKU), and Hsien-An Pan, Director of the An-An Women and Children Clinic, worked together with the CGMNCKU team to collect data from 900 embryos and maternal physiological parameters and put them into the AI ​​intelligent auxiliary judgment system to develop an AI embryo prediction system called “icONE”, hoping to use the power of technology to improve the success rate of the in-vitro embryo implantation.

Yen-an Tang, Assistant Director of the CGMNCKU, said that in a traditional way, doctors may judge which embryo to implant by observing the degree of development alone, but several reproductive centers in cooperation with the CGMNCKU have pointed out that it is very difficult to raise the success rate. The CGMNCKU team has thus used big data in this solution to build an AI model to evaluate the success rate of each embryo implantation, and each center/unit only needs to upload the data to the cloud to complete the analysis. He said that in this way, the survival rate of embryos and the probability of successful pregnancy after implantation can be judged and advice can be given to patients so as to achieve a more accurate implantation.

Figure 3: CGMNCKU announced “icONE”, the intelligent and high-quality medical health prediction system. (Image Provided by CGMNCKU)

According to statistics from the CGMNCKU, through the platform’s advance prediction, the pregnancy success rate has a chance to increase to 92%, and the treatment process can be reduced by 80%, and the cost of IVF can be reduced by about 70%. It took them nearly two years to develop this platform alone, not to mention AI training and data accumulation. All of these efforts have made this platform very special. In addition, it is so designed that the platform can conduct parallel computing in the analysis stage, so as to save space and computing resources, making it capable to complete the analysis in about 5 to 10 minutes.

Tang said that the CGMNCKU has transformed itself into a solution center for clinical testing in recent years. It is hoped that this solution can maximize automation and precision. Currently, the CGMNCKU team has been optimizing the multi-center clinical trials and standardizing the AI models and verifying the implementation of models. It is expected to complete the certification process and set up a new company in Taiwan by the end of next year at the earliest.

“Our mission is to help Taiwan and even the world in the future!” he said.

Figure 4: “icONE” won the championship at the scientific research and innovation results presentation meeting. (Image provided by EETimes)

Sounds Great Starts Acoustic Revolution by Replacing Voice Coils with Microchips

The structure of traditional loudspeakers, which has not changed much for several years, is now likely to take a step forward in innovation because of the emergence of Sounds Great Co., Ltd. The Sounds Great team spent five years and tens of millions of dollars in developing a micro-moving chip that is 10 times smaller than traditional coils but has an output power of more than 40 times and can emit strong magnetic fields. The Sounds Great team is going to replace coils with this groundbreaking product to create a more discreet, slimmer and power-efficient loudspeakers. At present, invention patents have been obtained in Taiwan, Europe, the United States, mainland China and other countries.

Figure 5: The Sounds Great team won the runner-up at the scientific research and innovation results presentation meeting. And Hung-ta Chou, CEO and co-founder of Sounds Great, accepted the award on behalf of the company. (Image provided by EETimes)

The story began when Hung-ta Chou sent his self-developed body armor materials for testing, he came across through recommendation a supplier that deals with acoustic vibration films and has since begun his entrepreneurial journey in the acoustics market. The idea of using semiconductors to make loudspeakers is the result of brainstorming with Jung-wai Wu, another co-founder of Sounds Great. He said that at that time, he sought the advice of Wu, who taught entrepreneurship and corporate management at Fu Jen Catholic University.

Wu mentioned his own experience of starting a business with semiconductor light sources in the past, and they wondered if they could also use semiconductors to make loudspeakers.

“We disassembled the structure to study it and spent three days drawing diagrams on the floor of the teacher’s (referring to Wu) house,” said Chou.

The micro-movement chip made by Sounds Great is only 1.5mm x 1.5mm, which is 10 times smaller than the ordinary coil, but compared with the current headphone output power of 0.05 to 1W, the maximum power of the chip can reach 2W. It can reduce the size without affecting the power. Chou said that the key is the chip design. Compared with the traditional coil, which can only generate 2 to 3 gausses of magnetic flux, their chip can generate a magnetic flux of up to 1,000 gausses. With the structure of the exclusive magnetic field circuit, their chips can be put into the product without interfering with other products.

Chou and Wu formed their research and development team by hiring former engineers from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) and Unimicron Technology Corp. and established their semiconductor start-up company in 2019. This young company has been gradually moving towards its goals. Hung-ta Chou revealed that it has cooperated with four ODM manufacturers so far, and the adjustment of product production will be completed by the end of this year and shipment will start in the middle of next year at the earliest. It is also planned to launch the Round A of fundraising in the future.

Figure 6: Sounds Great’s micro-moving chips are much smaller than the coils in conventional loudspeakers. (Image provided by EETimes)

Aiplux Multinational Trademark Application Platform Allows You to Complete Patent Applications in Minutes

Aiplux is the first start-up company in Taiwan to avail the intellectual property services on an online platform. Through their multinational trademark platform “Lofa”, which combines AI, natural language processing (NLP) and other technologies, the trademark application process that used to take weeks to complete can be completed in seconds. Aiplux hopes that this platform can help startups, small and medium-sized enterprises and other companies in Taiwan or the international market to obtain IP (Intellectual Property) easily and quickly, so that their cornerstone of future growth can be guaranteed. Put online for nearly a year, this platform has helped its applied trademarks to gain an approval rate exceeding 95% and has more than 2,000 paying users.

Al Wu, the founder of Aiplux Technology Co. Ltd, holds a Ph.D. degree in IP from China University of Political Science and Law. He has been deeply involved in the fields of patents and trademarks for more than 20 years. In 2016, he started his entrepreneurship trip due to the desire to make digital transformation for his firm.

“When it comes to IP applications,” he said, “in the past, you could only file a paper application, and you had to look through the databases of many countries, and you paid the IP application fees that were not low at all. All of these factors deterred many companies, but lack of IP as the most basic cores, a company may suffer development problems in the future. With my platform, an applicant can reduce the application time, process and cost.”

Initiating innovation in a relatively traditional industry, AL Wu admitted that he experienced many challenges and doubts in the beginning stage, but he managed to turn the tests into a driving force for progress. After that, he has also strengthened information security, cash flow authentication, privacy settings, data control and other parts. As Taiwan is one of the top ten countries in terms of IP production capacity, Aiplux vows to create a better environment for Taiwan. “If you enter Taiwan market or the international market without protection, it is as dangerous as not wearing a mask at the present.”

Established in 2019, Aiplux completed the seed round of fundraising at the end of last year. In addition to the Lofa platform, Aiplux will also launch one after another other products such as the patent writing and matching platform Pter and the intellectual wealth management platform IPAS. Among them, Lofa, which can be used across borders, has opened the market of Taiwan, the United States, mainland China, Singapore, etc. and will join Japan and the European Union in the second half of this year. AL Wu said that now they are in the hardest process of moving from 10 to 100. To prove their ability to survive, his goal is to enter a period of rapid growth within two years.

Figure 7: AL Wu, Founder of Aiplux Technology, explained that Aiplux Technology will use technology to platformize intellectual property rights services, and hope to help the firm’s digital transformation. (Image provided by EETimes)

 

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