Kotra report identifies 99 futuristic products

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Kotra report identifies 99 futuristic products


Clockwise from top left: A 3-D printed electric car by Local Motors; Mamaroo, a robotic baby bouncer that calms infants; a Super Cooler that chills beverages in less than two minutes; a car that can run on both land and water used by the customs house in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to detect and analyze illegal substances such as toxic chemical and drugs; and a jet pack that can fly up to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) into the air. [KOTRA]

A flying suit, an umbrella that dries instantly and a machine that can chill a can of beer in just two minutes.

Although these inventions may seem like figments of the imagination, they are among a list of 99 actual products being developed across the world that the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) believes can provide potential growth opportunities for local companies.

“We released the report so that Korean companies in desperate need of ideas can use it as a reference,” Kotra CEO Kim Jae-hong said. “The product information was collected from our 126 trade centers overseas.”

While some inventions were from conglomerates like China’s Haier, most were developed by so-called hidden champions, small and midsize companies with a strong presence in their respective business fields. The report details the development process as well as market response to the products.

One of the items featured in the report is a wireless snoring solution device called Nora that was developed by Smart Nora, a company based in San Francisco.

Nora detects the user’s snoring and controls the height of the pillow through a padded insert placed underneath. The insert inflates or deflates according to the person’s sleeping pattern. Details on the user’s sleep cycle and progress on snoring improvements can be checked on a smartphone.

Another product on the list is a fast-drying umbrella developed by the Japanese company World Party.

According to the report, the idea for the umbrella came out of consideration for manners. Using fabric with density three to five times higher than usual umbrella fabrics, rainwater on the umbrella can be expunged with one shake, preventing water from splashing onto people nearby and also reducing the need for disposable plastic bags to cover umbrellas.

Other products introduced in the report seem be ripped right out of a sci-fi movie.

One such product is a 3-D printed electric car created by Local Motors, a company based in Phoenix. The company was founded in 2007 and created the world’s first 3-D printed electric car. Most of the parts were generated through a 3-D printer, and assembly was completed in just 44 hours.

With the technology, the company can create any type of design the clients wants. The company’s car, the Rally Fighter, appeared in the 2014 blockbuster film “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Martin Aircraft, a company based in New Zealand, has a jet pack that it bills as a “flying suit.” The jet pack is useful in emergency situations such as accidental fires in high-rise buildings. Similar to drones, the device flies with propulsion from propellers. Even a 120-kilogram (260-pound) person can fly as high as 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) and stay in the air for about 45 minutes. The fire authority of Dubai bought 20 jet packs and two simulators for training.

Some small ideas to solve everyday problems have also been commercialized into products.

Brazil’s Tridel manufactures the Super Cooler, which chills beer in only two minutes. The Super Cooler is small in size and can easily be carried around. The device spins the canned beer for roughly one to two minutes for rapid cooling.

In China, a product called 55 Degree Cup is a tumbler that can lower the temperature of hot tea. It has sold more than one million units since the product went on sale in 2014.

From Thailand, the Kotra report featured a mini tooth implant that only costs 1,000 baht ($28).

Air pollution has called for new inventions as well, according to the report. AirBox, developed by China’s Haier, sends notifications on real-time air conditions to mobile devices and alerts users when harmful gas is in the air. It can even control home appliances such as air conditioners and air purifiers by tracking conditions.

Kotra’s report is available online at www.globalwindow.org.

BY LEE SOO-KI [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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