Surfing the tech wave: From stylus-based 3D printers to barrel-proof wearables, top 5 hardware start-ups in Hong Kong
From a 3D printer that looks and operates like a pen to a gadget billed as “glasses for your ears”, Hong Kong is home to an increasing number of start-ups creating new and often digitally connected devices for consumers around the world.
A growth in start-up accelerators and incubation schemes in the city are helping to support the companies looking to tap into the Internet of Things market, covering connected devices such as wearables, a market expected to be worth US$1.7 trillion by 2020.
Aumeo’s founders liken the audio device to a pair of glasses for your ears as it works to adjust sound to a user’s hearing profile. The Aumeo app allows users to map out the sound profile of both ears and then adjusts the music to suit the listener. The palm-sized device plugs into a user’s phone and then connects to their headphones to deliver optimized sound. It will start sending out the 3,000 devices bought during its crowdfunding campaign in the next four weeks.
Developed by a Spanish surfer, Glassy Zone takes the idea of a fitness tracker band out on the water. Designed to help surfers track the number of waves they catch as well as monitoring their speed and calories burned, the band also includes a UV sensor to avoid dangerous levels of sun exposure. Watersports fans will be able to get their hands on the band next year.
Ambi Climate works with a user’s existing air conditioner to make it smarter and reduce energy consumption by up to 30 per cent. The device learns a person’s temperature preferences and is designed to reduce the need to manually adjust the air conditioner when the room becomes too cold or too hot. Ambi Climate is only compatible with infrared remote-controlled air conditioners. It has already started shipping.
Soundbrenner’s wearable metronome is designed to help musicians follow the beat under the tagline the “future of rhythm”. Developed by two German graduates, the Soundbrenner Pulse is worn on the wrist, upper arm or on the ankle with the rhythm set either through its app or by tapping on the device, which is the size of a watch face. The start-up will ship 2,500 units to its crowdfunding backers in the next four weeks.
Designed by its inventors as a way to speed up 3D printing for prototyping, the 3Doodler is a 3D printer housed in a pen. The 3Doodler was the first product that parent company WobbleWorks decided to roll out itself, instead of licensing the idea, and the pen was launched through a Kickstarter campaign in February 2013. It has now been updated to a slimmer, lighter second model. Over 400,000 3Doodlers have been sold to date.