IFA NEXT: THE SHOWROOM OF THE FUTURE

IFA NEXT, now in its second year at IFA, is drawing large crowds and providing a vibrant insight into the future shape and scope of world consumer electronics.

NEWCOMERS, ESTABLISHED INNOVATION LEADERS AND R&D INSTITUTES ALL RUB SHOULDERS ON THE SHOWFLOOR.

The global innovation hub is both a meeting place and a market place, bringing together researchers and industry professionals while giving startups and retailers the chance to show off their wares.

The forum has virtually doubled in size since its first iteration, with about 200 exhibitors – around 150 of them startups – covering 6000 square metres of floorspace. For exhibitors, this means even more B2B possibilities as newcomers, established innovation leaders and R&D institutes all rub shoulders on the show floor.

Among the eye-catching and novel applications and products is the Merge Cube, an augmented reality system that enables kids to “virtually” hold objects such as museum exhibits, or even entire solar systems, in their hands while manipulating them in 3D. The Merge Cube works with phones, tablets and goggles, and features hundreds of curated apps for a wide variety of educational and entertainment experiences.

Innovations designed to make life easier in the home are another feature this year. The Foldimate is a compact unit that swiftly folds clothes and household linen, doing in seconds what might take many minutes in the home. Items are fed into the top of the Foldimate and emerge neatly folded. Foldimate is planning early shipments in the US at the end of next year, with a roll out to other regions worldwide to follow.

FridgeCam from Smarter.am turns any fridge into a smart fridge, taking the guesswork out of keeping your refrigerator stocked. Its wireless camera takes a photograph of the contents every time you close the fridge door, transmitting it directly to your smartphone, wherever you are. The device can also monitor “best before” dates with a special tracker that warns users when foodstuffs are about to go out of date.

Children and babies are the focus of many of the new ideas on show. Finnish firm Lullame offers a solution to the age-old problem of getting infants to sleep naturally. The special breathable mattress, designed to t standard European crib sizes, uses a system of hidden rollers to rock a child to sleep. Parents can operate it remotely. All moving parts are kept safely away from the baby and the firm says the Lullame works by helping to recreate the calming movement of the mother’s womb.

Berlin-based firm Mitte is showcasing what it says is the world’s first smart home system for purifying and enhancing domestic drinking water. Drawing its inspiration from the natural water cycle, the machine initially purifies water – the company says it is sixty times cleaner than regular pitcher water filters. After the cleansing process, bespoke mineral combinations from a cartridge system can be added to the water based on a user’s lifestyle and taste. The whole system is linked to a control centre on Mitte’s mobile app.

Solar power experts Sonnen Republik specialise in portable and foldable solar panels for people who want to recharge mobile devices on the move or in remote locations far from a traditional power source. Among other products on their stand, they are featuring the SolarBee, a high-tech combination of a miniature solar power charger for USB devices, super-bright LED lamp and keyring. Its Li-polymer battery can extend smartphone talk time by up to two hours when charged. Sonnen Republik says the SolarBee has been designed to meet urgent energy needs. It takes roughly 10 hours in full sun to become fully topped-up. Alternatively it can be charged from a standard USB port.

Hall 26