A new idea can be generated from the combination of existing ones. Protronic (Far East) won the grand award in Consumer Product Design at the Hong Kong Awards for Industries by adding a flashlight to a digital video recorder (DVR). The all-in-one portable device merges flashlight, camera and DVR, allowing photo and video shooting in dark conditions. The innovative product is designed for security applications. According to Benson Wong Kwan-hon, associate director of Protronic, 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks around the world have triggered worldwide awareness over security devices. The company has 12 years of experience in developing security products - CCTV, video surveillance system with an internet protocol (IP) address and digital recording devices. Flashlight Digital Video Recorder (Flashlight DVR) was the company's invention last year. 'This is definitely a new idea,' said Mr Wong. Our company is very experienced in designing security products ... the technologies are mature, the performance has been stable and we have reliable suppliers of the components, so all we needed to do was merge them into a single device.' Incorporating multi-functions into a limited space was not easy. 'We generated the product idea a year ago, and then we completed the market research and explored the possibilities with engineers,' said Eddie Lam Kwok-kwong, the chief designer of Protronic. 'We spent most of the time analysing the best structure of the product, to find the best co-ordination of different functions in a single device and to fine-tune the product.' Using the Mpeg4 imaging technology, the Flashlight DVR is ideal for security, police, surveying, recreational activities and engineering repairing applications such as evidence image recording. The product does not solely originate from market demand. Initially, the designers aimed to create a product to solve daily problems, said Mr Wong. 'In addition to [having a] good appearance and innovation, the product has to be practical and has to have the potential to make a contribution to society,' said Dennis Yau Tat-wang, director general of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries. 'The judging panel believe the Flashlight DVR artfully combines the video recording function with the flashlight,' said Mr Yau. 'The judges especially appreciated the additional features - the built-in photo colour VGA sensor and microphone, auto-sense night vision infra-red LEDs for photo shooting, the high powered bright white LED for the flashlight, and a siren.' The compact size and durable device can also embed memory data with USB interface or data transfer from the SD card. The Flashlight DVR was mass produced in the third quarter of last year with orders placed globally. Mr Wong said the new product had attracted market attention since its launch last year. Protronic has already obtained orders from government bodies in Japan, Britain and South Africa. 'In the exhibitions for security application in Taipei and Birmingham last year, we had many inquiries about the product,' said Mr Wong. But Protronic has yet to explore the local market in Hong Kong. The prime targets will be security companies. The next generation of Flashlight DVR will seek to minimise the size while adding an immediate on-screen display function. It is hoped that these additions will make it more user-friendly. 'Although the product is not designed for leisure, we are working to improve the quality of the pictures. We are also exploring more ways in which the product can be used. For example, as a hidden camera and advanced equipment for security guards.'