Portable air con, robots and body fat apps hope to woo investors at Hong Kong’s annual start-up fair

Event takes place on Thursday and Friday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2018, 9:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2018, 6:23pm

An air conditioner the size of a Coca-Cola bottle, a body fat gauge for your mobile phone and a robot controlled only by gestures are among some of the products on show at an annual fair for start-up entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. 

The 10th Entrepreneur Day, which will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will attract more than 240 start-ups this year, according to the organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Running on a rechargeable battery, the hand-held air conditioner can provide about two hours of cooling. It uses patented water evaporation cooling technology and does not contain coolant such as the freon found in conventional air conditioners. It will be priced at around US$100, Kascien Chan, director of Hi Cooler, the manufacturer, said on Wednesday.

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A robot called ME-1 follows gestures from a human instructor who wears a motion controller glove. Users can pilot the human-like android by moving their hands or fingers, similar to the controllers seen in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 movie Ready Player One

It can be used in crisis management situations and factories with dangerous operations, said Dr Mark Mak, co-founder and chief technology officer of Roborn Dynamics. He estimated the price of the product to be US$20,000. 

Another portable device lets you check how much fat is in your body with a mobile application on your phone. The product functions as a four-in-one spectrometer which measures the heat, sound and impedance spectrum of a certain material. 

Founded in Estonia and given a boost in Hong Kong’s Cyberport, the firm, Komra Vision, plans to build the technology into fitness tools and food scanners that can also tell users the composition and quality of foods. The prototype was manufactured in Shenzhen and will be priced at around US$199, said Abed Bukhari, chief executive and co-founder of Komra Vision.

“Accelerators in Cyberport create a good environment for hardware start-ups,” Bukhari said. 

Other products at the annual fair include Lego-like components for furniture from EverBlock, milk bottles designed to simplify the process of milk preparation from Eafe, and water and nutrient monitors for farmers from Habibi Garden. 

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“Hong Kong can help us to enter the market in China and is easier to get funding,” said Irsan Rajamin, chief technology officer at Indonesia-based Habibi Garden.

New types of service companies will also attend the fair. RnR, a platform which rewards users for referencing jobs to their friends, hopes to cash in on the sharing economy of the recruitment business.