5 Companies Engaging Our 5 Senses


Published On Thu, 01 Jun 2023


Since the beginning of humanity, we’ve survived and thrived with our five senses—sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Find out just how much they benefit us everyday, and how our tenants at Singapore Science Park are using these five senses to elevate our lives.

When it comes to experiencing the world around us, we all have different preferences—some travel thousands of miles to gape at magnificent views, while others groove to sweet tunes and beats, or wait in line for a chance to savour a mouthwatering meal. What we do have in common, however, are the bodily tools that help us navigate our daily lives. That is, our five primary senses: vision (sight), sound (hearing), gustation (taste), tactile perception (touch), and olfaction (smell). These senses are our gateway to perceiving and interpreting information from the environment, allowing us to discover, learn, and innovate.   

But how exactly do our senses add value to our lives? Here, we go in-depth into the importance of each sense and zero in on the companies at the Singapore Science Park that are using them to elevate our experiences. 


Perhaps the most dominant of our senses is sight. In fact, the majority of information we perceive comes from our vision, setting us apart from most animals that rely more heavily on their sense of smell.[1] Simply put, our eyes are specialised and complex organs that work directly with the brain to provide visual stimuli for daily functions such as spatial navigation and object recognition.

While powerful, the human eye has its shortcomings. Not only does our eyesight naturally deteriorate with age, our evolved lifestyle of staring at digital screens indoors and minimal exposure to the outdoor light has resulted in a scary increase in myopia, or nearsighted individuals, with Singapore even labelled as the myopia capital of the world.[2] As such, we’re growing more reliant on technological solutions such as prescription glasses and corrective eye surgeries.

Among these solutions is a budding innovation in driverless technology by industry pioneer, Motional. Now, imagine driving with your eyes closed. That may seem impossible but it’s very much a reality at The Cavendish, where the future-forward company develops autonomous vehicles (AVs) specially for ride-hail and delivery services.

Using advanced technology and super sensors, Motional enables AVs to “see” better than human drivers ever could, eliminating the risks of human error and blind spots. Their first production-ready all-electric AV, the IONIQ 5 Robotaxi that is in service on the roads of Las Vegas, is proof that we can create safer, accessible, and more sustainable mobility options beyond human capabilities. It is possible that the blind and visually-impaired might soon be able to “drive” in the near future!

Motional supports research into autonomous driving in challenging urban roads through
nuScenes, a public large-scale dataset collected from various local districts.
Image courtesy of Motional.


Another incredibly important sense is hearing. Unlike our eyes and mouths, our ears have not evolved with a closing mechanism, possibly so that we can always be aware of our surroundings. What’s more, the ability to hear allows us to communicate through common language, form relationships, and of course, enjoy music.

But when sound rises to the level of noise, the effects are no longer music to our ears. Unfortunately, noise is inevitable in a densely populated city like Singapore, especially with continual construction projects happening across the island. To make matters worse, a study by the National University of Singapore found that the average daily outdoor noise level in Singapore is 69.4 decibels, which exceeds the National Environment Agency’s recommended limit of 67 decibels.[3] Needless to say, noise pollution can have adverse effects on our physical and mental health; thankfully, there are ways to minimise noise, and no, we’re not talking about noise-cancelling headphones—the answer lies in infrastructure.

Nowadays, new buildings and public spaces are built with our ears in mind to maintain an audio balance in the environment, even during development, so that we feel comfortable in our daily lives. That’s where Acoustics & Environmental Solutions (AES) comes in. Located at Teletech Park, the multi-disciplinary acoustic consultant champions state-of-the-art noise instruments and modelling software to provide professional advice in architectural, environmental, and industrial acoustics, as well as noise and vibration control within the region, going as far as to predict façade noise exposure and indoor noise levels to implement the best noise mitigation solutions. So perhaps in the near future, we won’t require noise-cancelling headphones anymore.

AES conducts noise impact assessments in high-traffic areas such as construction sites and train zones. Image courtesy of Acoustics & Environmental Solutions.


The only sensory organ that extends pass the face, our sense of touch plays a crucial role in the physical experience of our surroundings. In fact, there are over four million touch receptors throughout the human body! While our sensitivity to pressure, texture, and temperature helps us to avoid dangerous situations, our penchant for physical affection also allows us to form strong bonds with both living beings and inanimate objects alike.

Speaking of which, did you know that tactile sense is at play when we eat too? Flavour aside, directly touching our food triggers a sensory response as we evaluate the mouthfeel of each bite, making the brain perceive it as tastier and more satisfying.[4] And as the topic of sustainability is on the rise, more companies are looking to get people back in touch with their food, literally.

Well, one such company at The Cavendish is VertiVegies. Boasting the largest indoor vertical farm in the country, the chemical-free facility uses precision planting technology to produce nutritious fresh produce in sustainable urban farming systems.

Additionally, VertiVegies believes in instilling good food habits, particularly in children who are often resistant to new tastes and textures, by encouraging consumers to get their hands dirty and become more involved in their own sustenance by growing their own vegetables at home.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells harvested by Medeze are multi-potent stem cells that are self-renewing and can adapt into different cell types such as bone, muscle , and nerve.

Don’t be surprised to see VertiVegies’ mobile farm in schools for their educational initiative to foster the next generation of urban farmers. Image courtesy of VertiVegies.


On the subject of food, possibly the most indulgent of all our senses is taste. With just a lick, our tongues can detect distinct flavour profiles, namely salty, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, and umami. Surprisingly, our tastebuds are also the weakest sensory organ as they change over time and can be influenced by many factors including medication. But that does not stop us from enjoying the pleasures of food, which has become an integral part of our social lives.

As global food trends change, so too does the leading manufacturer of functional ingredients, BENEO located at The Alpha. From plant preferences to gut health, BENEO continuously analyses consumers’ latest concerns to provide solutions for better nutrition while improving on taste. Their wide range of products stems from natural food sources such as functional fibres, functional carbohydrates, functional proteins, and specialty rice ingredients, targeting specific health issues and general wellbeing.

That’s not all, BENEO also develops nutritious livestock feed with the same quality and safety standards as their food range, in turn benefitting us consumers too.

BENEO’s portfolio of successful nutritional products is derived from sugar beet (pictured), chicory root, rice, wheat, and other natural sources. Image courtesy of BENEO.


Last but certainly not least is our sense of smell. Despite often being overlooked or deemed the least important of our senses, our noses act as mighty machines that analyse invisible particles in the air we breathe, even working closely with our tastebuds to experience a whole spectrum of flavours. Not just that, being able to distinguish between different odours has strong emotional effects on our moods and memories, a prime reason for the growing fragrance market.

An expert in the field with 130 years of experience, Ogawa Flavors & Fragrances is Japan’s oldest scent manufacturer, having been in The Aries in Singapore since 2013. As the name suggests, Ogawa specialises in the production of authentic aromas like essential oils and extracts from plants, fruits, and other natural resources. Apart from that, the company also creates high quality functional ingredients that support food and beverage manufacturing by providing beverage carbonation enhancement and off-flavour masking.

These comprehensive flavours and fragrances have contributed to the food and cosmetics industries, spreading Japan’s attractive agricultural, forestry, and fishery sectors through scents far and wide.

Johnson Electric goes beyond daily operations to inject sustainability habits into the workplace culture with environmental protection activities. Image courtesy of Johnson Electric. 

Each of our five senses plays a unique and vital role, working concurrently to bring richness to our lives. What’s more, it’s so exciting to witness how new technologies can augment our senses and even substitute lost one

So, go forth and engage in your senses as we leave you with this parting thought from renowned deaf-blind author, Helen Keller, “Not the senses I have but what I do with them is my kingdom”.

1.       https://medium.com/@SmartVisionLabs/why-vision-is-the-most-important-sense-organ-60a2cec1c164

2.       https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/speech-by-dr-lam-pin-min-senior-minister-of-state-for-health-at-the-opening-of-the-singapore-national-eye-centre-s-myopia-centre-16-august-2019

3.       https://news.nus.edu.sg/nus-researchers-study-singapores-average-outdoor-sound-level/

4.       https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7975041/Eating-food-HANDS-makes-taste-better-lead-weight-gain.html

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