IFA NEXT, the show’s forum for forward- thinkers, has returned for a second year with a bigger footprint and more stands.

Organisers say the space devoted to the global innovation hub has almost doubled, along with a similar increase in the number of exhibitors, most of them startups with new products and fresh visions to offer.

True fingertip control of mobile phones is now possible, thanks to SGNL’s revolutionary new approach. The company’s new watches link wirelessly to a phone, and vibrate sound through the wrist and bones of the hand, allowing the user to “hear” calls simply by pressing a forefinger to the ear. It means making and taking calls is more discreet than ever before, requiring no extra devices like headsets or earphones. There’s no rummaging through bags or pockets when the phone rings – a finger on the ear is all that’s needed to keep in touch.

French firm R-Pur is setting out to tackle the growing problem of pollution with a high performance face-mask linked to a mobile app that uses air quality information to calculate when the filters need to be replaced. The app pinpoints where the user is anywhere in the world, and combines local pollution data with his or her activity levels to determine how fast the filter system is being depleted. R-Pur’s CEO and co-founder, Flavien Hello reports an enthusiastic response from customers, including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. “We think it is the most efficient, most comfortable and best- designed pollution mask there is,” he said. “We have already had great feedback.”

Robots and robotics are in high profile at IFA NEXT. Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is featuring a human-like robot showcasing its intelligent vision system, which is designed to co-ordinate AI, 3D vision recognition and mechanical eye-hand co-ordination technologies. On the stand, the robot was playing all-comers at chess, but ITRI says its system has many wider, more serious applications in industry.

The Protec Card is a high-tech solution for people unlucky enough to lose their credit cards, or have them snatched. Cards fit snugly into a slim Protec Card sleeve which uses geolocation technology to issue an alert to a customer’s phone when the card goes out of range, or is removed from the sleeve itself. The Paris- based rm has even designed the app so that it automatically puts you in touch with your bank’s cancellation department, when your card is taken or lost.

Nanoleaf is at IFA NEXT with its range of modular smart lighting products. Light squares or triangles can be clicked together in combinations to cover walls, or make bespoke shapes, which can then be controlled via the Nanoleaf app. Hundreds of panels can be supported at a time, and can be linked to Nanoleaf’s Rhythm music syncing controls for an amazing lightshow.

Hall 26