Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Mother Of Invention

Reading about the spat between a certain Lee and a Yeo reminded me of a discussion I had with a friend a while back about our incessant need for pragmatism (no thanks to the father of that same Lee). Yeo runs R&D by buying establish winners to run in the biggest races, while Lee suggests betting on horses and courses closer to home. The discussion I had was triggered by a news I read about Japanese man who invented a special paint that is rather offensive (the smell?) to birds. The inventor came up with the idea when he saw birds resting on and making a mess of park statues. (I can't seem to find a link to that story now. If anyone can find it, would greatly appreciate a link)

Would a Singaporean have come up with an invention like that? What was the first thought that came to your mind? Waste of time and money? Is it really useless? How many thought of Akio Morita's Walkman as a silly piece of toy when it was first marketed? (The creation of the Walkman is actually credited to Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara. However the idea of portable music was thought of by Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to his favourite music during his frequent trips overseas). How has our national devotion to efficiency, productivity and practicality affected our spirit of invention and creativity? Would a local chapter of Chindogu be able to survive in our climate?

A bee once sang..
Good, better, best
Never let it rest

Till the good is better
Better than the best
Are there any potential inventions to problems that are unique to us and the region just waiting to be discovered? How about a solution to the humidity problem in Singapore? Maybe special fibers that can be woven into fabric which when worn accelerates evaporation of sweat? A silly idea? Tell that to Morita.

Speaking of Sony Walkmans, I just got myself a W810i. Will post a mini review of it once I get the time.

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