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Taiwan: An island of innovation

We spotlight the Taiwan Excellence Award winners in Industrial innovation

Technological capability has often provided competitive advantage. As companies are seeking to distinguish themselves from their competitors, meet their customers' needs, control costs, and provide innovative solutions to ever more challenging problems, they rely on innovative vendors to help them push the envelope. Here are a few examples.

Apacer's groundbreaking CoreSnapshot SSD technology offers an instant whole disk backup and recovery mechanism for SSDs to solve enterprises' unexpected data loss or OS crush immediately. CHIMEI's Turning Blind Spot Assistance System uses AI and machine vision to help drivers avoid dangerous turns, and it can be installed by any mechanic without any special training. Thunder Tiger's SkyEye is a drone capable of sending 4K video over 5G connections, so that very high resolution live video can be used wherever it's needed.

Each of these companies is based in Taiwan, along with thousands of other innovative and market-leading businesses. In this series of articles, CNET is spotlighting a selection of Taiwan Excellence Award-winning products. In this article, we're looking at some fascinating industrial products. In a companion article, we'll be looking at some exceptional business and consumer products that the awards committee judged as setting the bar for innovation and quality.

It is this focus on technology and innovation that the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) seek to highlight across the world. Starting 1993 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, outstanding and innovative products made in Taiwan are nominated for the annual Taiwan Excellence Awards, and judged for R&D, design, quality, and marketing.

And with that, let's dig in.

Product spotlights

The following are just a few of the Taiwan Excellence Award winners for industrial products.

Apacer Technology Inc.

CoreSnapshot SSD technology by Apacer Technology provides device continuity capabilities, built securely into SSD volumes. We live in a world where computing devices are routinely under attack by hackers. The devices are not only in our computers and data centers, but at the edge of our networks, in special-purpose Internet of Things (IoT) devices like network video recorder, network switches, factory equipment, medical devices, transportation systems, and more.

Disaster recovery and business continuity best practices mandate taking regular or continuous backups of all computing device data. If a system fails, whether due to an attack or some other circumstance, those backups can be used to recover the system. The issue is that those backups are often stored remotely and take time to recover.

CoreSnapshot uses an exclusive patented backup and index conversion technology to replace time-consuming data transfer procedures. It can complete the execution stage of SSD backup and recovery within one second, restoring the system to a working state and eliminating downtime. In addition, CoreSnapshot supports a variety of trigger execution methods, including software, hardware (GPIO) and cloud remote OOB (out-of-band management) triggers, which can satisfy customers no matter which OS platform designs and or field applications they adopt.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner Apacer Technology Inc. was founded in 1997 and provides storage solutions for memory modules, industrial SSDs, consumer digital storage products and Internet of Things integrated applications. Apacer Technology Inc. is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan. 


According to the US Department of Transportation, there are an average of 413,000 truck blind spot-related accidents and 160,000 fatalities every year in the US alone. One way to mitigate this disturbing statistic is to incorporate advanced driver assistance systems into vehicles that help spot vulnerable road users like other cars and trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders.

The Turning Blind Spot Assistance System by CHIMEI MOTOR ELECTRONICS adds driver assistance in the form of an AI-based monitoring system that enables vehicle operators to make safer turns and lane changes. This system is smart and provides protection regardless of whether the protected object is still, relative position, relative movement, or is temporarily blocked by a stationary object. The system is active, which means it guides drivers in real time.

What made this product stand out, beyond it's obvious and critically important safety benefits, is that installation does not require custom training or AI expertise. Once the mechanism is mounted and wired on the vehicle according to the manufacturer's instructions, it works. There's no need to build up a body of knowledge or otherwise go through advanced heuristics training. That means just about any trained mechanic can do the installation, which opens this safety feature to a much wider variety of vehicles and users.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner CHIMEI MOTOR ELECTRONICS CO ., LTD. provides camera-based advanced driver assistance systems. CHIMEI MOTOR ELECTRONICS CO ., LTD. is headquartered in Tainan City, Taiwan. 

Chroma ATE

Here at CNET (and at our sister site, ZDNET), we've talked a lot about SoC (system on a chip) implementations inside smartphones and laptops. But SoC becomes even more important when you're trying to shrink intelligent functionality like active noise canceling and Bluetooth networking into something the size of an earbud.

Doing that requires that the system processor, audio processors, and wireless networking components all exist inside of one increasingly tiny and yet increasingly complex chip. So how do you test all that functionality before shipping products to the end consumer?

You use the Advanced SoC/Analog Test System by Chroma ATE. This device tests large batches of smart audio SoC chips in parallel, validating functionality ranging from high fidelity audio signal test to extreme low current test, and more.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner Chroma ATE Inc. was founded in 1984 and provides precision test and measurement instrumentation, automated test systems, intelligent manufacturing systems, and test & automation turnkey solutions marketed globally under the brand name Chroma. Chroma ATE Inc. is headquartered in Taoyuan City, Taiwan.

Mind & Idea Fly Co.

If you've spent any time here on CNET, you know we've had some discussions about the concept of the metaverse. We've also been pretty excited about AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). If the promise of these technologies can be realized, it will push computing experiences to a whole new level.


 But there's a problem with all this hype: you can't visit the metaverse or experience virtual reality if there's no 'verse to visit or no reality in virtual space. In other words, someone has to create the content. That's right. Just as there's content on web pages like this one, and in video sites like YouTube, there needs to be content in the 3D enhanced spaces within metaverses, AR, and VR applications.

That's where MAKAR by Mind & Idea Fly comes into play. MAKAR is a tool for creating the scenes and objects in virtual space. What sets MAKAR apart is that it's "no code," meaning you don't have to be a programmer to create objects. You drag and drop pre-made 3D objects (the company provides a library of 200,000 such models) onto a design space and manipulate those objects through 3D controls. When you're done, you've created a virtual scene. That opens the virtual space to all those creative folks who aren't programmers: artists, designers, dreamers, and even kids.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner Mind & Idea Fly Co., Ltd. was founded in 2014 and holds multiple invention patents and utility model patents, including graphical visualization technology, AI recognition technology, spatial positioning and cloud-to-local AR technology. The company provides turnkey AR/VR/MR solutions, including support for various AR glasses, VR helmets, mobile phones, tablets, smart robots and other devices. Mind & Idea Fly Co., Ltd. is headquartered in Taipei City, Taiwan.

Thunder Tiger

Most drones used as commercial and creative camera platforms are limited in terms of radio transmission speed and range. The SkyEye, by contrast, uses 5G to communicate to the ground, providing benefits in speed, reliability, distance, and even onboard smart connection management.

The SkyEye is also capable of higher payloads and is able to remain in the air for nearly 50 minutes, double most consumer drones. With the ability to transmit 4K video continually, the SkyEye can provide video for live and breaking events, effectively combining the video news gathering functions of both a satellite news van on the ground and a manned chopper in the air.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner Thunder Tiger Corporation was founded in 1979, the company supplies proven, reliable, persistent, and surveillance capable vehicles spanning ground, aerial and marine categories. Thunder Tiger Corporation is headquartered in Taichung City, Taiwan.

Wistron Corporation

The Modularized Automated Mobile Robot Platform by Wistron Corporation is an autonomous cart system that can be customized for factory automation, retail services, and any other application that could benefit from a robotic cart system for moving material or hosting a vertical solution (for example, a guest greeter at a hotel or retail store).

The combination of ever-increasing labor costs, the desire to improve worker safety, and the unpredictability of pandemic strains and lockdowns has increased demand for automated systems over the past few years. What makes this robotic system so interesting is that it is a small, compact, and flexible platform that can serve as the foundation for many different solutions. Some examples include moving goods, disinfecting workspaces, greeting patrons, and more.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner Wistron Corporation, founded in 2001, is a ODM (original design manufacturer) that provides services for Information and communication technology products. Wistron Corporation is headquartered in Taipei City, Taiwan.

An environment that fosters innovation

Taiwan is not only the home of the world's largest semiconductor fab, it also produces more semiconductor product than any other economy. Taiwan has invested numerous resources in developing research parks and R&D institutes to push the boundaries of science and technology. The numerous educated scientists and engineers in Taiwan, along with the government's focus on R&D investment has made Taiwan into an ideal economy for both new startups and established players worldwide to partner on design, production, and innovation.

The winners of the 2022 Taiwan Excellence Awards demonstrate how Taiwan's work to build an economic and investment climate conducive to innovation is bearing fruit. For more information, visit Taiwan Excellence at https://www.taiwanexcellence.org/en.

And, be sure to check out our companion article, where we look at some of Taiwan's award-winning business and consumer products.