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Inspiration

Six of the most unusual products at IFA Berlin

The halls at STATION-Berlin are packed with manufacturers from Shenzhen in China, all giving us a look into what goes on behind the glamorous products. We used it as an opportunity to compile the five most unusual products at IFA.

The STATION-Berlin halls are a far cry from the trade fair grounds of IFA. This is where Shenzhen companies who can’t afford or bear the glitz and glamour of the trade fair Messe Berlin set up camp for the week. In keeping with the unpretentious style, a minivan from one of the local Chinese restaurants pulls up just as we were arriving to dish out piping hot takeaway on aluminium foil plates for the stallholders.

Video producer Stephanie Tresch and I have high expectations as we enter the halls. We’re anticipating a realm full of oddities, high-tech combined with radio receivers and lots of things the world doesn’t really need.

The reality isn’t quite as exciting. Of course, there are some weird and wonderful finds you look at for a couple of seconds while people wearing suits and serious faces give you a presentation. But on the whole, imitations and vacuum cleaners dominate the scene. I can only conclude that China has a dust problem or thinks the west is overrun with the stuff. On the plus side, we did manage to find what the press and stallholders nickname «the China halls» when we were at the IFA and Global Markets hall in STATION-Berlin.

The Robotron massage collar

The robot from Shenzhen Spatz Global may have a rather unfortunate name. No other company from Shenzhen, China, seems to be trying to offload a product that sounds more like a baddie from a 1980s cartoon. But there was one robot in their range we couldn’t help but fall for: the massage collar.

The robot is built in such a way that it looks like it’ll murder you within the space of five minutes. But don’t be fooled by its appearances. The arm slings are there to attach the device to your upper back or your neck. Then six balls start to turn round and round inside the collar.

Robotron, we salute you. There isn’t any other product that rocks IFA quite like you. Given Stephanie and I have been living purely on coffee and steely determination, testing out the Robotron was a blessing for mind and body. We’re agreed: if there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s Robotron massages.

The Bluetooth travel pillow

China, please don’t ever stop being amazing. Stephanie and I are on the road again for work. First it was Barcelona, then London, Berlin, back to London, then back to Berlin. Finding travel hacks, in other words, optimising our travel methods is an aspect of our work no one sees. For instance, we have to know which shoes are the most suitable for going through security (how easy and fast they are to take on and take off) and which hoodie will be most comfortable on the flight.

This means we already know about the daylight robbery that happens at airports when people need to buy travel pillows. Fortunately, Shenzhen is coming to the rescue. The manufacturer with the melodious name Shenzhen Seekas Technology Co.,Ltd produces Bluetooth textiles. I was particularly taken with a travel pillow that combined a hood and integrated Bluetooth speakers. The hood was especially appealing, as it would give you something to cover your eyes with.

Fantastic idea

I’m already pretty sure the Bluetooth headphones are useless but they had me at the built-in path for headphones. Seekas is also a Disney-certified manufacturer. I have no idea what that means, but it certainly makes the whole thing more intriguing.

The Android smart mirror

We weren’t expecting to find Hungarians in the Chinese halls. We got talking to people at one of the stands who turned out to be Hungarian general representatives for a Chinese company in Shenzhen. They had some very strange screens on offer, including an Android tablet with a 32-inch screen. Yeah, we’ll take two.

Placed in the middle of the stand was a mirror, which was also Android-operated. It was only version 5.1 – the latest is 8 – but still. A man at the stand informed us the mirror could display news and adverts. Because that’s what we’ve all been missing: being able to see adverts while we clean our teeth. «Oh, by the way, there’s no camera in the tablet so you can use the mirror in the bathroom,» said the man in the suit. Good to know.

But Stephanie wants software that is a bit more up to date and a mirror that is smaller than a square metre. She asks me to build one. Surely it can’t be that hard.

The hair dryer hood

It’s a shame we’re not allowed to touch the Clatronic Profi Care PC-HTH 3003. We were picturing swanning around with this funny cap on our heads while the mechanism underneath gave us a quick blow-dry. Unfortunately, this was just a prototype, and a suited man is showing us the only model at the trade fair. We were allowed to play with all the hair dryer bits and bobs, but it was strictly hands off the hair dryer hood.

Sadly out of testing reach: the Clatronic Profi Care PC-HTH 3003

Oh well. We’re still pretty excited about the prospect of sitting in front of the TV in ten years’ time with the hair dryer hood on. Hopefully the device will have an attachment for drying beards as well by then.

The gym for your chin

The usual advice for getting rid of a double chin is more exercise. Then you’ll end up with less fat on you that can hang on your chin.

However, the British beauty product manufacturer Rio has other ideas and throws the medical advice above out the window. According to Rio, the solution is a machine that looks like it has come straight out of a 1950s sci-fi film. Two ball-shaped devices press on the skin and close a circuit. This makes your muscles twitch and become stronger. The result is firmer muscles and a firmer chin.

The Lift Plus 60 Second Face Lift is based on the same technology used by sports equipment manufacturers like Compex, who specialise in muscle stimulators.

Stephanie Tresch applied some gel to her chin and put the device to the test. «At the start it feels like something is prodding really fast into my chin,» she said. It was almost like her chin was vibrating.

That’s when Stephanie started to get a bit overconfident. She turned the device up to full for maximum chin lift. «I can even feel it in my teeth,» she did her best to articulate, with a pained look on her face. She couldn’t hold it out long and the taut chin disappeared within 60 seconds. «Ouch! I got an electric shock,» she exclaimed.

Finally: remote control comes to keyboards

Have you ever found it annoying that you can’t use your PC keyboard to control your TV? Now you can thanks to the manufacturer Thomson. Their Thomson ROC3506 solves a problem we never knew we even had before this product came along.

Will three pressure points be a winner? We’ll see.

The keyboard comes with at least three different types of keys.

  1. A normal membrane keyboard for typing
  2. Rubber keys that don’t have a defined pressure point for an authentic remote control feel
  3. Clicking keys – because two types isn’t enough.

The remote control keyboard even has a Netflix button. And a trackpad. And an LCD display that looks like it’s straight out of the 70s. There’s probably a good reason why these devices haven’t found each other.

Side note: For some reason, the Thomson ROC3506 is only compatible with LG TVs.

User

Dominik Bärlocher

Journalist. Author. Hacker. My subjects generally revolve around Android or Apple’s iOS. I also feel strongly about IT security. In this day and age, privacy is no longer a minor matter but a strategy for survival.

43 comments

User Anonymous

"Haarföhn-Kapuzen" sind wirklich nichts neues, gibt es schon mind. zwei Jahrzehnte lang auf dem Markt. Das kurze Video das euch vorgeschwebt ist sollte also nicht schwer zu verwirklichen sein...

06.09.2017
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User fumo

Doch doch das ist brandneu, was Herr Bärlocher nicht kennt gab es auch noch nie!!!!

06.09.2017
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User RRamm

Die Trockenhauben gibt es seit den 70ern wenn nicht sogar noch früher, meine Mutter hat noch irgendwo eine von Rowenta rumliegen.

16.09.2017
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User DerDönerimDönertier

Schade wied über den Android Spiegel nur so kurz berichtet. Fände dies eine interessante Idee.

07.09.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Ich bin mir fast sicher, dass das nicht das letzte mal ist, dass ich mich mit den Spiegeln befasse. Daher: Mach dir mal keine Sorgen.

08.09.2017
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User morgulbrut

Zu Smart Mirror gibts auch tonnenweise RasPi Projekte, ist letzlich ein Monitor mit nem Zweiweg Spiegel davor.

13.09.2017
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User bhberingen

Kalter Kaffee, den Massagekragen habe ich schon seit 2 Jahren...
Bitte schickt doch Experten an die Messe und keine spielenden Kinder.

12.09.2017
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User Erpel1965

...ja, leider ist der ganze Bericht so.
Besser wäre nichts schreiben , oder ein Vermerk "nicht recherchiert" oder "nicht ernst zu nehmender Bericht".
PS: das ist nur meine persönliche Meinung. Diese muss sich selbstverständlich nicht mit den Meinungen anderer Leser decken (siehe Diskusion weiter unten).

12.09.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Mir war, als ob wir die seltsamsten Produkte und nicht die neuesten abgedeckt haben. Aber dennoch: Einverstanden. Nächstes Mal werden wir wieder bierernst sein und uns keinen Spass erlauben. Wäre ja noch schöner...

12.09.2017
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User bhberingen

...oder wir machen das jetzt einfach so, Newsletter von digitec abbestellt und Ruhe ist. Meldet euch wieder wenn ihr euch als Journalisten ausgelobt und euren Spaß hattet. Dann nehme ich mir auch wieder Zeit für interessante Artikel die per Newsletter auf meinen Devices landen. Gute Zeit.

13.09.2017
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User igor333

Und was für Probleme habt ihr sonst so ? ^^

14.09.2017
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User Anonymous

@Bhberingen, Hier ging es ja hauptsächlich um kuriose Produkte die an der IFA ausgestellt sind zu finden. Ich finde die Journalisten sind am richtigen Ort, denn man erkennt, dass Sie Spass an Gadgets haben, wenn dem nicht so wäre bräuchten die wohl auch einen Massagekragen. .. oh wait.

05.10.2017
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User Anonymous

Die Föhnh. gibt es schon seit irgendwie 10 oder 20 Jahren, nichts neues. Vielleicht nicht Wireless oder mit Bluetooth. Die Spiegel mit Software gibt es auch schon seit 5 oder 10 Jahren, nichts neues, vielleicht nicht netzwerkfähig oder so flach wie heute.

15.09.2017
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User Erpel1965

Ja, ich denke die Recherchen sind nicht gerade toll:
Wie schon geschrieben wurde gibt es die "Haarföhn-Kapuzen" schon seit Jahrzehnten.
Die Aussage die Tastatur Thomson ROC3056 (richtig ROC3506) funktioniere nur mit LG Fernseher trifft auch nicht zu.

06.09.2017
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User Erpel1965

Gemäss Hersteller gibt es die Tastaturen für LG, Sony, Philips, Panasonic und Samsung Fernseher...

06.09.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Die Tastatur am Stand funktioniert nur mit LG. Macht das Gerät auch nicht besser oder nützlicher, wenn andere Modelle mit anderen Fernsehern kompatibel sind.

Den Tippfehler habe ich korrigiert. Morgens um 2 Uhr passiert mir mal ein Tippfehler. Soll vorkommen, gell.

06.09.2017
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User fumo

Vielleicht weil man universal Fernbedienungen erst auf die jeweiligen Herstellertypen programmieren muss und die am Stand nur ein TV von LG hatten? Schlechte Rechtfertigung für mangelnde Recherche, oder eher keine Lust zu recherchieren weil dir das Gerät persönlich nicht interessiert. Im Zeitalter von Smart TVs ist es eigtl. doch nützlich wenn man beides zusammen hat.
Und gegen Tippfehler hilft ein vier Augen Verfahren, den man bei einer "professionellen" Berichterstattung durchaus erwarten darf

06.09.2017
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User fumo

Niemand erwartet dass du um zwei Uhr noch arbeitest, es macht uns Kunden nichts aus wenn der Artikel erst zu Bürozeiten veröffentlicht wird. Aber als zahlende Kunden dürfen wir Fehlerfreiheit erwarten.

06.09.2017
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User Erpel1965

Fumo, Du sprichst mir aus dem Herzen.
Dies ist ja nicht irgend ein Blogg und der Verfasser vertritt hier eine Firma.
Da lassen solche Berichte schon zu wünschen übrig.
Ich fermisse die Professionalität und die Seriosität.
Nochmals zur Tastatur Herr Bärlocher:
In Ihrem Bericht steht eben die Tastatur gebe es nur für LG-Fernseher - und nicht am Stand hatten sie nur die Tastatur für LG-Fernseher...
Ich denke man sollte den Unterschied bemerken.

06.09.2017
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