What to expect from start-ups at IFA 2018

IFA Berlin is the biggest technology showcase in the world. It happens every year on the first week of September in Berlin. In addition to the usual keynotes, lectures and discussions by CEOs of the world’s biggest companies, start-ups from around the world will pitch their products to investors and media covering the exciting themes of digital health and fitness, wearables, IOT, smart home, future mobility, VR, AR, gadgets and appliances.

Amazon itself is making its debut at this year’s event with the VP of Smart Home talking about ‘how voice is expanding and improving everyday experiences’. It’s tipped that Amazon won’t be making any big product announcements, but it will certainly be interesting hearing insights from Daniel Rausch on how Amazon’s innovations and customer obsession are driving product development and services ‘that are personalised and always within reach of your voice’.

Segway and LG are a couple of the big brands to have exciting reveals planned for the event this year.

In June, Segway released a video of their new product called Segway Drift W1. These self-balancing e-skates will be available to be seen and tested in Europe for the first time at IFA on the 30th August.

LG is making waves this year with exciting new entertainment products, and appliances featuring AI integrations. In January they unveiled a 65-inch rollable OLED TV at CES; and showcased a connected appliance network that allows your LG Smart Fridge to recommend recipes based on what’s inside your fridge, and automatically send the heating instructions to your connected smart oven, while Alexa talks you through cooking instructions.

At IFA the tech giant will be ‘ushering in a new era of AI robotics’ with a smart suit that allows its user enhanced mobility and lower limb strength. LG’s first human-centric robot, designed for use in healthcare and industry, has been created in collaboration with start-up SG ROBOTICS to overcome the limits of the human body.

LG CLOi SUITBOT unveiled at IFA Berlin 2018

Here’s the scoop from some of the other exciting start-ups that are on the bill at IFA NEXT.

RUNVI is pitching an intelligent fitness coaching AI that works together with a shoe insole featuring 30 advanced pressure sensors and 2 accelerometers across both feet. The wearable analyses your running performance and provides real-time feedback and coaching based on your goals.

Kickstarter brand Origami Labs will be showcasing the ORII voice-powered smart ring. The company uses bone conduction technology to allow you to take calls, send texts and use your voice assistant without a screen, simply by pressing your ear. It’s cool, but would you wear it? 2000 kickstarter contributors donating 333k USD seem to think so.

ORII smart ring

Fresh Energy are one of the startups leading the way in electricity metering, with a smart meter and app that helps consumers identify power guzzling appliances and motivates them to save energy and money.

Signal Cruncher has created self-learning software that uses AI to learn from interactions with it to then independently make decisions and improve outcomes. Their technology is helping to create a home where you only consume what you need, and can be applied to factories to create 50% better forecasts, cut costs and reduce faults; amongst many other possible uses.

Unlike the mighty powers of Google and Microsoft, Signal Cruncher has made their XONBOT processor available to anyone, allowing companies to benefit from local AI without the need for powerful hardware.

Cosinuss are making in-ear smart monitors that track everything from heart rate in the elderly, to in-ear thermometers for sick kids and even fertility monitors for women. I can’t help wondering whether some of these use cases are solutions to problems that don’t exist, or whether they have practical applications – like getting a sick child to wear an ear piece, or getting parents to buy one in the first place for 99 USD.

Nonetheless, it’s exciting to know what’s possible, and to think about where this kind of technology will cross over with genuine human need.

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