3-D scanners and waves: Innovation in spotlight

Updated: 2013-11-04 07:40

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily USA)

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The third annual Silicon Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, which took place on Saturday in Santa Clara, California, brought politicians, business leaders and startup entrepreneurs together to foster innovation and promote business partnerships between the US and China.

"To explore the incredible fruitfulness of further innovation, you are doing this not only for your individual adventures, but also for the larger human enterprise," former US vice-president Al Gore told the group in a keynote address.

Gore pointed out some of the severe environmental problems in both China and the US, urging that the two countries take further action, such as using more renewable energy and working together in dealing with the pollution.

China has become the world’s second largest economy, he said, but it is also the number-one contributor worldwide to air pollution. Gore said he appreciated progress in environmental awareness and measures in China, including the initiative that president Xi Jinping has announced in China, in particular a ban on coal burning in three of the heavily polluted areas and launching a carbon trade program in five cities and two provinces as a pilot for a nationwide carbon emission trading system by 2015.

"For all of the challenges that we confront, innovation is one of the absolute keys to success," Gore said. "People should open the door for young people in China and in the US to successfully meet these challenges.

"I know that many of the developments that form here at this event will help us reach that goal," he added.

In addition to Gore, speakers included Congresswomen Judy Chu, Tesla Motors’s chief information officer Jay Vijayan, Facebook’s vice-president of mobile Vaughan Smith and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The daylong forum also included an Expo featuring a wide range of advanced technology, ranging from automobiles and 3-D scanning/printing technology to biotech and mobile apps.

"We want to meet potential Asian — specifically Chinese — partners through this Expo," said Anna Zevelyov, director of business development at Artec Group, a Luxemboung-based 3-D scanning company that develops and manufactures products. "We’ve had a lot of success in China; we would like to grow on that, to develop partnerships, to understand the Chinese market better."

Zevelyov’s company, which has opened offices and showrooms in Russia and the US, is considering opening a regional office in Asia, and Hong Kong is at the top of its list.

"We don’t have a regional office in China but we have a lot of resellers. We have about eight partners on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, and two partners in Taiwan," Zevelyov said. "We are having a great year in China, the sales are wonderful."

According to Zevelyov’s, a lot of people are opening what they call service bureaus across China, where they are using 3-D technology to scan and print customers and make them souvenirs.

"But really, this technology can be used in many more ways, for instance, architecture, medicine, entertainment and the arts," Zevelyov said, adding that she had talked with some representatives from China who sounded very interested.

Yong Yeh, CEO at Pacific Surf Designs, a San Diego-based company that manufactures and installs sheet wave surfing machines, said he was at the conference because he wanted to expand his product line into China.

"The amusement park industry in China is a $3 billion a year industry. There are only two or three of these types of rides in China," said Yong. "With the growing appetite for different kinds of entertainment, we believe there is a huge potential to grow."