Q&A with Peter Kaempf: The Startup within 160-Year-Old STABILO & the Making of Digipen

I recently reconnected with Peter Kaempf, a member of the innovative creator community on the HWTrek platform, who I had met at SXSW in Austin last year and who my co-workers ran into at the Intel Partner Summit at Embedded World in Nuremberg. Peter is Head of Special Product Development at STABILO International GmbH. Fortunately for us, he was keen to talk with us about the development of Digipen and so provided a wonderful interview. Enjoy….

Peter Kaempf and HWTrek CEO Lucas Wang (Intel Partner Summit, Embedded World 2017)

Please introduce yourself and your project?

The Digipen is a sensor-enhanced writing instrument with internal data processing capabilities and an external data link for communication with compatible devices. It will register accelerations and its position in space and correct this position data for drift. At the same time, it can be used as a regular ballpoint pen, on regular paper. Motion data can be stored in 64 Mbit of internal memory or transmitted via a BLE connection to a connected device. Myself, I directed the STABILO pen development since 2000 and have a background in aerospace engineering. We have been looking for ways to connect handwriting and computers for years, and a few years ago I decided to jump into this venture full time. Thankfully, the company trusted me to do this, so I assembled a small team of engineers and started the development of the Digipen. Including myself, we are now 5 people working on hard- and software. On the sales side, we currently use an external consultant and are in the process of building up our own expertise.

When we first met, you were demoing Digipen at SXSW 2016 in the German Haus – very much in the spirit of a startup, something a bit unusual for a large, more than 160-year-old company. Was this “startup approach” a calculated part of the product development process and marketing strategy for Digipen?

Yes, absolutely for the development. While the company culture is a valuable part of STABILO, it is less well suited to a geeky, risk-taking undertaking. I figured we need a different culture to become successful quickly, at the price of an increased risk of screw-ups. Yes, we had screw-ups, but they were limited, so I am very happy with the outcome. On the marketing side, I hope to profit from the high brand awareness STABILO enjoys in Europe, and the SXSW demo was rather unusual for our general approach.

What’s the inspiration for your project? What problem does it solve or address?

We study the importance of handwriting and see that kids today have less handwriting proficiency than the generations before. You can’t blame them – with all the digital distractions, there is simply not much time left for developing the fine motor skills required for good handwriting. In school, this becomes problematic: The curriculum expects them to have a high degree of automation in their handwriting from fourth grade on, so they can take notes and follow the topics in parallel. However, when this automation was never learned properly, the process of handwriting will absorb too much of the kids’ cognitive capacity – they fall behind and cannot follow the teacher anymore. With the Digipen, we hope to develop a measurement tool so teachers and parents can see how far a kid is on the way to fully automated handwriting. We also develop exercise books to train them, so we work to get a full solution in place that will address the handwriting crisis in schools. In Germany, we see severe handwriting problems in more than half the boys already, so this is a very serious problem that has slowly grown bigger and bigger over the last years.

What are the applications & use cases for Digipen? Do you have any interesting user stories to share around these applications?

The primary application is the measurement of the degree of automation in handwriting. But there is more:

Plot examples of saved sensor data from the Digipen

Since the pen can measure acceleration and angular velocities around all three axes and updates its attitude information every 5 ms, it can be used for motion tracking in 3D. The internal force sensor can be activated by an optional button, so a proportional, user-selectable scalar parameter can be added. This allows the pen to be used as an ergonomic computer mouse with force-sensitive input or as a 3D motion controller in a virtual or augmented reality system.

For users with developed handwriting skills, the sensor signals of the product can be fed into a pattern matching algorithm that will run on the connected device. The sensor fusion in the product will normalize the sensor readings, subtract drift and reduce the data volume such that the data link to the connected device does not need more energy than necessary. On the connected device, individual characters are modeled by Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) and concatenated to word models. A statistical language model is used to enhance recognition performance and restrict the search space. The resulting text output can be displayed and stored on the connected device. This is the version I demoed on SXSW.

One of the more interesting use cases, aside from education, for Digipen, is medical. An example is using AI to compensate for the hand movements of users with Parkinson’s. Can you speak more to this and other medical use cases?  I’ve read a fascinating report from MIT about using digital pens and AI to help detect early signs of dementia – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.

Yes, the Digipen can be used to diagnose Parkinson’s or even schizophrenia. Our first customer uses it for Parkinson diagnostics, and it can be used to fine-tune the cocktail of medication each Parkinson sufferer needs to reduce the tremor as much as possible. For tremor compensation, we would need some active movement by the pen, which we have not implemented. For us the medical applications look a bit scary, with all the regulation and certification hurdles, so we want to focus on the school market right now. However, we are happy to produce the pen for a partner who wants to sell it as a medical device.

What solutions did you use for hardware design?

First, I took apart all my computers, laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones to see how others do it. Then I made a very crude first design that used a circuit board wedged between two halves of a split wooden rod, just to see how the signals looked. The next step used a cylindrical 3D-printed body and then when the internals could be defined better, I got help from a German industrial designer to finalize the outer shape and the inner layout.

What solutions did you use for prototyping?

The first circuit boards were prepared with the help of local companies for small-scale circuit board production. I wish I had learned of HWTrek’s website earlier – when we met in Austin, most of the prototyping work had already been done. But for the initial small production volume, I still needed someone who could economically produce the injection-molded parts of the pen. STABILO does a lot of injection molding, but on a much bigger scale with multi-cavity tools, which would have been much too expensive. So I was happy that I found two partners in Asia for some of the injection molded parts that we now use for the first production use of the Digipen.

What resources have you used for sourcing and supply chain management?

Being located close to Nuremberg made the embedded world fair here the first destination. This was a great start into the field, and the next step was a cooperation with several local companies, motivated by public funding. With the combined experience we could cover the first years well. But I remember that it took one year until I found a force sensor small and sensitive enough for my demands.

For the production of circuit boards, we have started a cooperation with a Japanese producer of electronic components, so this part of the supply chain has been outsourced. The non-electronic parts are sourced locally.

What were the most difficult things to source for your project and how did you source them? 

The force sensor is unique and was not easy to find, and also the battery was initially hard to source. However, two years later the selected model is offered by a wide variety of companies – I was simply a bit ahead of the curve.

What tools, if any, do you use for real-time collaboration on your project (with team members and partners)?

Email is far and out the most important. I also use video conferencing and the telephone, but with my busy schedule, the asynchronous nature of email is ideal.

What have been the significant challenges or obstacles you’ve faced on the project? How were they resolved?

The biggest challenge was and still is my ignorance. I am still learning something every day. Now, this may sound like a platitude, but there have been many face-palm moments where in hindsight all was so obvious.

A big challenge is also the time it takes to develop good software and the time to produce good injection molding tools. Fortunately, the contacts I got through HWTrek could produce good parts in a fraction of the time the molds would have taken here in Germany. Thankfully, my experience with injection molding helped to make the contact with the Asian partners very smooth and pleasant.

What are the takeaways and lessons learned from working on this project that you’d like to share with other IoT hardware developers?

Stay with standardized solutions and simplify things as much as possible.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to the beginning of your product development?

Oh man, this would be a long list! I would not stop talking to my earlier self for days. It is impossible to compress all the interlocking experience in a memorable phrase. However, one short advice would be sure: Look at HWTrek and get some help!

If you are planning a new version of your project or future devices, what will you do differently?

The publicly funded research program was not terribly efficient but at that stage the right thing to do. A future project will probably do without it. A new version is already in the planning, and it will use fewer components. However, this is only possible with new parts becoming available now. For the future samples, I intend to turn to Asian sources immediately – with my HWTrek contacts I see this as the best way forward.

We all know the phrase “hardware is hard.” Is there something that was much easier than you had initially thought when you started out on your hardware journey?

Yes, hardware is hard, but it can be measured and observed. Software is sometimes much harder, especially when an unanticipated effect shows up only rarely and by chance. What went really easy was the contact and communication with far-away partners whom I knew only per mail.

What trend do you see that is changing your sector/industry or what shift would you like to see happen?

The trend is clearly modularization and increasing complexity. Everything from communication protocols to legal regulations has already reached mind-boggling proportions, and there is no sign of stopping. We should not let lawyers and accountants make the rules, but makers and builders. In other words: Let pragmatic people with a vision decide, not bureaucrats.

What’s next for your project?

We need to lower the BOM and widen the applications. In order to help third parties to develop for the Digipen, we are going to add libraries for letter recognition.

And now for something completely different, fun questions….

What are your ‘go-to’ sources for tech information and news? (Do you have any recommendations for a must-read/watch/listen to article, book, blog, film, or podcast, etc.?)

Whoa – that is harder to answer than it sounds. When it comes to tech info, I absorb news like a sponge and have a hard time later to tell where it came from. Obviously, sites like StackExchange and Slashdot should be mentioned here, but also personal contacts. I am fortunate to know an electrical engineer who is simply a genius – he helped me with the first samples of the Digipen, and I still talk to him regularly when I have new questions. Google only helps when you know what to ask for, but with a friendly expert who knows your situation, you will find a solution in minutes where without him it could have absorbed weeks of research.

What’s currently on your playlist, what are you listening to these days?

Classical music. Everything from Bach to Brahms. My playlist also includes Tchaikovsky or Vivaldi, and the most modern composer on it is Philip Glass.

Philip Glass (photo credit: PhilipGlass.com)

What fuels you (coffee, tea, or….)? When you’re low on creative juice, what is your #1 method to get back on track?

I consider myself an introvert, but I get motivated most by talking with others. It helps to verbally express a problem I have, and explaining it to someone else will also help me to understand it better. The reply will lead my brain on a new track, and when the conversation takes its course, it will result in new viewpoints and new ideas very quickly.

What do you recommend (place to go/see, what to eat) for a visitor to Palo Alto?

I was once in Palo Alto to fly from the local airport there. Was a fun time, and I still have a deposit at the flying club. But I have an odd taste of what to see – most memorable for me were places like residential areas of Tokyo, a nightly walk through Shanghai or a slum in Kenya. The biggest impressions I got from unanticipated and novel situations. So go where tourists will not!

Sorry, Peter, I’ve been recently prepared too many interview questions for a bunch of members of our community – both creators and experts – and as a result, they are intermingled in my thoughts. I, of course, meant to ask you about Erlangen and Nuremberg.

Considering Erlangen and Nuremberg – you know how it is: You never visit the spectacular things where you live because you always can do so tomorrow. Only when a friend from somewhere else visits you, you show him/her your town and get a chance to see it with other eyes. So I consider myself to be a poor guide of what to see around here.

By H. Helmlechner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
What gadget would you love to have from your favorite science fiction film or book?

A time machine, of course. Next would be the Star Trek computer that really understands voice commands.

Q&A: Steven Zhang, Lead Engineer for CALM.—a Wearable ECG Device Serving Unmet Mobile Health Needs

I touched base with a member of HWTrek’s community of creators,  Steven Zhang, who is the lead engineer for CALM., to learn more about the project and its development. CALM. is currently available for pre-order via Indiegogo, where the team has successfully raised about $39,000 (390% of its goal) and has been certified by Arrow Electronics.

Please introduce yourself and your project?

I am Steven Zhang, Lead Engineer for this project. We have made an affordable wearable ECG device, which we are targeting sports users at first, with intention of expanding to healthcare applications down the road. CALM. is for competitive endurance athletes.

What’s the inspiration for your project? What problem does it solve or address?

We saw an unmet need in the healthcare industry, for affordable wearable mobile health solutions that serve everyday monitoring and screening roles. Similar products are either 10 times more expensive or too big and clumsy to be useful.

We decided to target sports before healthcare because most of our team are triathlon enthusiasts, and we decided to provide training safety and sleep analysis for the sports market, while we iterate and go through regulations for healthcare (medical) use.

What solutions did you use for hardware design?

We used Autodesk Fusion 360 as well as Altium.

What solutions did you use for prototyping?

Hardware: 3D printing and small PCBA services

Electronics: Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 Development Kit, Analog Devices AD8233 Evaluation Board, a cheap Chinese ECG signal generator called SKX-2000, and a Hantek oscilloscope.

Mechanical: Anet A8 3D printer

Software: Balsamiq, Sketch.app, ionic framework, Amazon AWS

We skipped a lot of traditional prototyping steps, went straight to a small batch of PCBA samples, and did not make any breadboarded prototypes. We also went straight from 3D printing to injection molding and skipped CNC.

What resources have you used for sourcing and supply chain management?

We used Octopart and Alibaba.

What were the most difficult things to source for your project and how did you source them?

A cheap, reliable, and fast provider for plastic injection molding. We discovered Protolabs, and they had what we need, albeit with some restrictions. Their online quote and DFM system made it possible to go from CAD to plastic faster and cheaper than going back and forth via email and site visits to a traditional injection molding provider.

What tools, if any, do you use for real-time collaboration on your project (with team members and partners)?

For real-time collaboration, we used Autodesk A360 and Skype.

What have been the significant challenges or obstacles you’ve faced on the project? How were they resolved?

Getting the team to agree on unique creative designs. Using 3D printing significantly improved the process by being able to create multiple prototypes, and iterating quickly.

What challenges have you faced in the development of CALM. that are specific to the design and development of a wellness/health device?

Differentiating with existing players like Fitbit, Garmin, and communicating the differentiation to a crowd who are interested but not professors of fitness. We are always asked, even internally, “How is this beneficial to the normal person, who wants to stay fit?“ We are in fact, not targeting a “normal person”. Our target is competitive athletes. Trying to satisfy a broad audience often leads to scope explosion and being mediocre (less focused) at the main purpose.

What are the takeaways and lessons learned from working on this project that you’d like to share with other wellness/health device developers?

There are plenty of untapped niches for wellness/health. Don’t try to cater to everybody with mediocrity, create something that does one thing very well, and you can always add sub features later.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to the beginning of your product development?

Buy a 3D printer early on.

If you are planning a new version of your project or future devices, what will you differently?

We will be making accessories that expand the usage models for CALM. – such as waterproof accessories for swimming. We will also be working towards a medical model.

We all know the phrase “hardware is hard.” Is there something that was much easier than you had initially thought when you started out on your hardware journey?

No, hardware IS hard.

What trend do you see that is changing your sector/industry or what shift would you like to see happen?

More streamlined regulatory scheme for wireless communication devices, and medical devices.

What’s next for your project?

Ramping up mass production for this model, and kicking off development of our next model.

We are also continuously working to improve our analytics algorithms.

And now for something completely different, fun questions…

What are your ‘go-to’ sources for tech information and news? 

Engadget

What’s currently on your playlist, what are you listening to these days?

I am not a music fan.

What fuels you (coffee, tea, or….)? When you’re low on creative juice, what is your #1 method to get back on track?

A good sleep and energy drinks!

What do you recommend (place to go/see, what to eat) for a visitor to Tokyo?

Japan is very seasonal, research seasonal activities before coming. Cherry blossom in the spring, fireworks in the summer, food festivals in autumn, and hot springs in the winter.

What gadget would you love to have from your favorite science fiction film or book?

Geordi La Forge’s bionic eyes (Star Trek The Next Generation)

This is a screenshot of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s character Geordi LaForge from the episode Suddenly Human. It is used for identification of, and critical commentary upon the fictional character “Geordi LaForge”

If you are working on an IoT healthcare device or want to transform your existing device into a smart, connected one, check out our opportunity to jumpstart your project through our 5-day Asia Innovation Tour – Connected Health Solutions – that will take you and more than 20 other global connected health innovators on visits to manufacturing facilities, certification labs, top-tier medical companies, distributors, healthcare market research firms, and discussing product development strategies with more than 500 industry leaders at the HWTrek Meetups in Shenzhen and Shanghai. This event is free admission. We will arrange and cover the costs of a single company representative, local transportation to visiting companies, institutions, and factories. However, please be aware you need to cover your flights and accommodations, and possibly need to apply for a visa. Learn more and apply here.

Meet Us at Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany 14-16 March

We’d love to meet you at Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany 14-16 March to learn more about the IoT projects you are working on, the technology or solutions you offer, and the challenges you face.

Jessie Chung and Changtsong Lin will be there and are looking forward to chatting with you. We’re in Booth #611, Hall 3. Please stop by or request to schedule a meeting here. Also, if you’d like to exhibit your solution in our booth, please contact us ASAP.

Please see the event and booth details below.

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HWTrek Booth #611, Hall 3

Embedded World 2017

Exhibition Centre
90471 Nürnberg, Germany

Date & opening times
14 – 16 March 2017
09:00 – 18:00 (14 and 15 March)
09:00 – 17:00 (16 March)

Creating a Home Companion Robot — A Look at SoftBank’s Pepper

Masayoshi Son, founder, chairman, and CEO of SoftBank, unveiled a robot called Pepper at a press conference near Tokyo, Japan in June 2014. SoftBank began selling the home companion robot for about US$2,000 the following year in Japan and other markets followed in the subsequent years. The robots are being manufactured by Taiwan’s giant electronics manufacturer, Foxconn.

My first personal encounter, and subsequent ones, with Pepper was at my local Carrefour hypermarket just across the street from the headquarters of Acer and Wistron in the Xizhi District of New Taipei City, Taiwan. My eldest daughter aged five is captivated by the loquacious humanoid.

How did Pepper’s development come about? SoftBank sought out Aldebaran, a French robotics company, to bring their idea to life. Aldebaran worked in secret for two years on the outskirts of Paris to develop the robot companion.

Let’s take a quick look at the specifications of Pepper to get an idea of what some of the requirements of a robotics project are:

Source: SoftBank/Aldebaran Robotics via IEEE Spectrum

SoftBank created a wonderful specifications page for Pepper that presents its features, capabilities, and components in text form rather than the typical specifications table you’d find in a user manual or data sheet that accompanies most tech products.

Jumpstart your home companion robotics project

Let’s consider some of the resources required to get a robotics project — like SoftBank’s home companion robot, Pepper — off the ground.

For your smart, connect robot project planning, product, mechanical, and PCB design services, and prototype consulting, we suggest connecting with an expert from Tokyo-based Kiluck.

Pepper includes twenty motors that control the movement of its head, shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, and base. Your robot project may not need as many motors as Pepper includes. We suggest getting in contact with an expert from Namiki Precision for DC motor solutions — provider of instrument quality coreless DC and brushless motors — for your project.

 

Your project will likely require IoT components such as haptic feedback devices and sensor modules. We suggest ALPS Electric as a resource for needs such as these.

For touch, accelerometer, gyro, ultrasonic, infrared, and other sensors, and wireless RF modules (cellular, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth, etc.) that might be required in developing your home companion robot, check with a specialist in IoT components, sensors, and modules like Kyoto-based Murata.

An important consideration is developing the software for the control of your robot. Fortunately, there are excellent control software options available. Asratec is a Tokyo-based robotics company that developed the V-Sido OS robot control system.  It controls various shapes, sizes, and structures of robots and is useful software for controlling robots, especially when prototyping new robots. They also developed the V-Sido CONNECT microcomputer board that enables easy control of the robot’s motors.

 

ACCESS cooperated with Kawamura HEMS (Home Energy Management System) University based in Nagoya, Japan to develop a smart home control and energy management system using ACCESS NetFront Agent to interface between a smart home gateway and SoftBank’s Pepper robot. HEMS University is part of Kawamura Electric Inc., a manufacturer of distribution boards, control boards, residential distribution boards, enclosures, circuit breakers, high voltage substations, system racks, energy conservation and low-voltage equipment. Learn more about ACCESS and connect with an expert on the HWTrek platform who can help you leverage their solutions for a smart, connect home control and management system robot assistant.

Finally, we recommend looking for a company with considerable experience building complete robotics projects like Japan’s tmsuk. Tmsuk specializes in the development and manufacture of service robots.

If you’re embarking on a home companion robotics project or have already completed one, we’d love to hear about your journey.

Recommended experts from the HWTrek hardware development ecosystem community

 

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Asratec is a Tokyo-based robotics company that developed the V-Sido OS robot control system. You can get in touch with an expert from Asratec on HWTrek to learn more.

 

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Japan’s ALPS Electric is IoT component maker for Automotive, Home, Mobile, Healthcare, and Environment. Connect with an expert with ALPS on the HWTrek platform.

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We recommend Kyoto-based Murata, which specializes in the design, manufacture, and supply of IoT electronic components, sensors, and modules. Feel free to connect with an expert from Murata on HWTrek.

 

Tokyo-based ACCESS is a provider of advanced IoT software development and solutions for the smart home and connected automobile. Connect with one of their experts here.

 

Start your search for DC motor solutions with Namiki Precision for. Learn more by connecting with an expert from Namiki on HWTrek.

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Look to Kiluck for project planning, product, mechanical, and PCB design services, and prototype consulting. Connect with an expert from Tokyo-based Kiluck on HWTrek.

Japan’s tmsuk specializes in the development and manufacture of service robots. Learn more from tmsuk’s expert on the HWTrek platform.

A Chat with Lisa Kikuchi of SenSprout — How Smart Agriculture Sensors Will Transform Farming

kikuchi-300x300Through a mutual connection among the wonderful community of IoT hardware innovators on the HWTrek platform, I recently caught up with Lisa Kikuchi, Manager at Tokyo-based SenSprout Inc., to learn more about the company and the low-cost smart agriculture sensor that they’ve developed. SenSprout successfully raised $169,931 for its Indiegogo campaign on a goal of $10,000.

Can you tell us the founding story of SenSprout? What inspired you to start it and what’s your vision for it?

SenSprout started from a research project by our current Technical Advisor and Associate Professor in the Engineering Department of University of Tokyo, Dr. Yoshihiro Kawahara. He applied his research knowledge of network technology and printed electronics into the field of agriculture, where he saw a lot of potential for optimization using engineering technology. After publishing his initial findings in a paper, he realized that there is a lot of demand for his prototype soil moisture sensor and decided to take part in the foundation of SenSprout Inc. to accelerate the development and sales of his sensors. We see a lot of opportunities for our product to change the way people use precious water resources to grow various types of crops around the world.

I saw that recently your company has released SenSproutPro. Can you tell us about its features and applications?

We have already done field testing of our SenSprout Pro sensors in multiple locations around Japan and will start official sales in April 2017. Our sensors can measure soil moisture at 3 different depths (10, 20 and 30 cm) and also ground level temperature. All the data is sent to the server via a gateway. We have also developed software to view the data — smartphone (iOS/Android) and web application from which users can access the real-time data.

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What have been the significant challenges or obstacles you’ve faced on the project? How were they resolved?

The complexity of soil science has been a challenge for us since we originally started as an Engineering project. One sensor will give you different data if the soil type and condition change. We’ve tackled this issue by collaborating with the experts in the field. We work with professors from the Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of the Universities of Tokyo as well as scientists from other universities and research institutes.

What are the difficulties your company face to do IoT agriculture business in Japan?

Even though there has been a rise in the formation of “agritech” startups and new technologies globally and in Japan as well, there is not enough awareness among typical farmers about the benefits they could receive from utilizing such technology. Since we think of farmers and farming corporations as our main B2C customers, the difficulty of creating the market itself is an issue we still face.

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In your opinion, how can IoT technology help to improve the agriculture sector? What are the benefits?

There are several areas in which the sector could benefit from the use of IoT technology. First, the technology could replace much of the manual labor that still takes place on the ground, enabling the farmers to cut labor costs and to focus on more value-added work such as marketing and even processing of their farm products. Also, cultivation based on data and analytics could lead to better quality and higher yield. In Japan, specifically, the aging and decreasing population of farmers is a major issue. Technology could help solve this issue by storing their vast amount of experience and knowledge in the form of big data, which could be passed on to the next generation and those entering the field without prior experiences, including private companies.

What resources have you used for sourcing and supply chain management? What were the most difficult things to source for your project and how did you source them?

We have yet to use any platform for sourcing and supply chain management and have secured the supplies ourselves. We pick the suppliers ourselves and source all the necessary parts, sometimes even running our own 3D printers for the production of parts. For the supply chain, either we or the factory where we outsource the production takes care of sending out the products to customers. We still see a lot of space to lower the supply and production cost and want to explore more options for the sourcing of network modules. We currently do business with the people that we have worked with since our prototype stage.

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What are the takeaways and lessons learned from working on this project that you’d like to share with other hardware startups?

One major takeaway is that no matter how much improvement there may possibly be, coming up with a prototype idea, actually making that prototype, and showing/testing it with the people who have demand for it is the most important thing for hardware startups. No one will give you honest feedback or support until you actually have something that they can touch and experiment with.

What trend do you see that is changing the agriculture sector? What shift would you like to see happen?

We see that there are some interesting new players entering this sector not only in the production phase but also later stages such as distribution. New technologies and ideas that have come up will change the old dated distribution networks and not only benefit the farmers but also the end customers, which is basically every human being (because no one can survive without food, right?). I personally would like more and more young people to enter and succeed in the sector utilizing the latest technology, especially in the production phase and make farming one of the most desired and inspiring occupations for young people.

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What’s next for your project? Any plan to enter the overseas market?

We have started a project on remote irrigation control and have partnered up with other cutting-edge companies to work on this. Also, we’d like to explore the overseas market, starting with India and the US where we have already started some initial experiments. We see a lot of opportunity for our solution in countries where water resources are scarce because we could help farmers increase revenue and help save the environment by optimizing the use of water resources at the same time.

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How Portable Gaming Wearables Create a Truly Immersive Experience

VR headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive or Sony’s PlayStation VR are probably the first things to come to mind when thinking about gaming wearables. Despite the literally game-changing immersive experience they offer, VR headsets lack important features of truly wearable devices, such as portability, usability, and a fashionable design, which create additional obstacles to the product development process. In the following, we review how companies could overcome these obstacles and create portable, user-friendly and stylish gaming wearables that pave the way of how we will play video games in the near future.

Avegant Glyph: Bigscreen experience in headphone form

Avegant Grid

In contrast to VR headsets, the Avegant Glyph simulates a large screen by projecting an image through millions of micromirrors directly to the retina. The main application uses include movies and video games on any HDMI supporting mobile device and laptop. The Glyph can even be used as an FPV viewer for camera-equipped drones. During the prototyping phase, Avegant developed the optics and circuit boards, while Tekna made ergonomic and aesthetic adjustments. Challenges included finding the right headset size for various head shapes as well as reducing weight, size, and part count.

With a Kickstarter campaign raising $1.5 million, multiple awards and a current collaboration with United Airlines, the Avegant Glyph is a technological and commercial success. (One of the co-founders represented the company as a participant in HWTrek’s first Asia Innovation Tour in 2014.)

If you are looking for DLP solutions for VR headsets with millions of micromirror arrays, then start by connecting with an expert from Texas instruments on the HWTrek platform. If you are looking for a completed solution, we recommend getting in touch with SuperD on the HWTrek platform.

The Omniwear Arc gives gamers a sixth sense through haptic feedback

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Initially developed for football helmets to prevent players being hit, the Omniwear Arc consists of 8 haptic sensors, which send out signals to the gamers, revealing the enemy’s position. Gamers need to pair their mobile phone with the Arc and point the camera lens at the game’s minimap. In the prototyping phase, the number of sensors was reduced from 30 to 8, and the product design was changed from a skullcap to a necklace, as users asked for a smaller and more stylish solution.

The initial Kickstarter campaign of October 2016 was canceled, which might be related to a limited support of only 2 compatible games. If this challenge is solved, the Omniwear Arc has the potential to become a valuable companion to professional video gamers in the following years.

If you’re interested in creating a device such as Omniwear Arc and are in search of sensor solutions, you can reach out to Japan’s MegaChips—a fabless manufacturer creating tech for value-added mobile & IoT industry applications. They offer the frizz solution, a next-generation sensor-hub LSI for wearables and smartphones with high-end arithmetic processing and low-power consumption

For joint design manufacturing support, you can start your project development journey by connecting with an expert on the HWTrek platform such as Rone Phoenix Nest, which specializes in providing an overall design solution, including project evaluation, design & development, and supply chain management for IoT wearable devices. Also check out our interview of Roger Li, COO of Rone Phoenix Nest: “Turning Amazing Wearable Designs Into Amazing Products.”

Ubisoft O.Zen uses biometric data to improve respiration

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Published by Ubisoft France in the end of 2015, the O.Zen is designed to improve one’s breathing, resulting in stress reduction and a healthy heart rate. From 2009 to 2015, Ubisoft worked together with Neotrope to develop the wearable heart rate sensor as well as a breathing game, which analyses and makes use of the user’s biometric data. In 2013, Ubisoft teamed up with Souffl to test the marketability of the solution.

The results of the market studies suggested to publish O.Zen for mobile devices instead of computers and to follow an early adopter acquisition strategy, which is often pursued by start-ups. Since October 2015, the O.Zen is available in France. With the O.Zen, Ubisoft pioneered the usage of biometric data inside video games. Biometrics is still a new concept to video games. However, the amount of potential application uses is huge: Using the gamer’s heart rate to influence the shooting accuracy or holding one’s breath in an underwater level are examples, which we might see in the near future.

If your biometric device project development journey is just kicking off, consider reaching out to an expert on the HWTrek platform providing a full package of services from product ideation to mass production like JoyMed Technology, which can provide product/electrical/mechanical design, verification, and contract manufacturing services.

For ECG/EEG sensor solutions for your biometric device project, look to experts on HWTrek such as RichPowerWell Being Digital, and Neurosky.

If you’re looking for an expert to help develop a connected wellness app or heart rate sensor for a device biometric device project, you can connect with Neotrope on the HWTrek platform.

The GEAR controller enables amputees to play video games

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George Levay lost both hands and parts of his facial skin as a result of a meningitis infection 5 years ago. The idea to develop a video game controller for the feet came during a simple class assignment at the biomedical engineering department of the Johns Hopkins University. Levay and his fellow students Adam Li and Nhat Tran formed the GEAR (Game Enhancing Augmented Reality) team and developed the first prototype, which consists of adjustable padded footwear and 3 sensors to pick up foot movements, such as tilting and raising the heels. The PCB enables each shoe to control 8 buttons, which could eventually increase up to 20.

With the help of Johns Hopkins, the GEAR team could file a provisional patent and won the $7,500 grand prize in the 2016 Intel-Cornell Cup for innovative applications in the area of embedded technologies. Currently, the team is looking for a licensing agreement with a big company to make their invention accessible to a wide audience.

For a project like the GEAR controller, you can connect with an expert on the HWTrek platform from Murata for sensor and control switch solutions. Kyoto-based Murata focuses on the design, manufacture, and supply of IoT electronic components, including sensors & modules.

In addition, consider reaching out to Japan’s Taiyo Industrial for flexible printed circuit FPC boards that meet needs for fine-pitched circuitry.

An outlook to a truly immersive gaming experience

While VR headsets took almost the entire spotlight of gaming wearables in the recent years, these case studies show that there is much more to expect in the near future. I cannot wait for the day when I am flying at 30,000 feet to the next CES show, put on my mobile VR headset including limb movement sensors, hold my breath and control my heartbeat, while my shirt gives me haptic signals from all directions. Innovative gaming wearables are an indispensable ingredient to bring a truly immersive gaming experience to the next level.

Internal Resources

Turning Amazing Wearable Designs Into Amazing Products Interview with Roger Li of Rone Phoenix Nest

Accelerate IoT and wearable device development time with Hexiwear

The Buzz: Fashion and Wearables

External Resources

Wearables are Changing the Future of Games

10 Potentially Game Changing Wearable Technology Innovations

(This post was written by a guest writer)

A Chat with SILITECH’s Brandon Huang about Dual-material Molding

I recently connected with Brandon Huang at SILITECH Technology to learn more about the company’s technology, solutions, and how they work with IoT hardware device innovators to get their products designed and manufactured.

Please introduce yourself.

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My name is Brandon Huang, Director of Technology Application & Support at SILITECH Technology Corporation. I am responsible for forecasting needs, requirements, and future direction for SILITECH’s technology plan, collaborating with R&D, Sales, and Engineering departments along with external partners to present and implement innovative technology developed by SILITECH and our partners, and set policy, regulations, system standards and operating procedures of our core processes.

What services does SILITECH provide? Can you elaborate more about your solutions?

SILITECH provides integrated solutions such as mechanical design, tooling development, dual-material combination (rubber + plastic, glass + plastic, metal + rubber, etc.), decoration techniques, and optic-electronic integrations. Furthermore, SILITECH provides joint-design in the ESI stage to find and solve design and process issues in advance.

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What is dual-material molding?  What kind of products require dual-material molding?

Dual-material molding is the process of molding two or more different materials into one part. There are several processes to achieve this, such as two-shot plastic injection molding, insert injection molding, and insert compression molding. Each material has its own characteristics with different advantages and disadvantages. The goal of Dual-Material Molding is to compound the materials’ strengths and inhibit their individual weaknesses. Sometimes we also apply Dual-material molding to get the appearance of real materials with other materials framed inside.

What’s the difficulty in the dual material molding? Is there any lesson we can learn from?In any of the dual-material molding procedures, mistakes and problems such as flow lines, sink marks, weld lines, shorts, and burn marks, etc. always occur if every tiny step is not well designed and executed. Most mistakes are caused by personnel without the necessary experience or the right tools at their disposal. Conversely, creative solutions and ingenuity abound in personnel with the right experience and the correct combination of hardware and software. Finding the right team of people with relevant expertise is the most important part of the process.

In any of the dual-material molding procedures, mistakes and problems such as flow lines, sink marks, weld lines, shorts, and burn marks, etc. always occur if every tiny step is not well designed and executed. Most mistakes are caused by personnel without the necessary experience or the right tools at their disposal. Conversely, creative solutions and ingenuity abound in personnel with the right experience and the correct combination of hardware and software. Finding the right team of people with relevant expertise is the most important part of the process.

How are dual material molding process performed? What technologies are involved?

There are several processes to achieve, such as two-shot plastic injection molding, insert injection molding, and insert compression molding, UV pattern printing, and ultrasonic/heat melting.

Critical technologies involved include the material(s) properties, cross-bonding and physical connection, tooling design, and multi-processes setup.

What are the lessons learned from working on dual-material molding method that you’d like to share with hardware developers who’d like to build products that might use them?

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The major product that SILITECH likes to promote is chemical cross-bonding dual-material molding to combine various materials’ specialty. Each material has its own characteristics with different advantages and disadvantages. The goal of Dual-Material Molding is to compound the materials’ strengths and inhibit their individual weaknesses. Sometimes we also apply Dual-material molding to get the appearance of real materials with other materials framed inside.

For example, we are making a GIM (Glass Insert-Molding) lens for a scanner device – the lens is clear glass inside and with plastic housing outside. This part allows scanner light to perfectly pass through the lens and can be easily assembled with the back plastic housing.

Another example is the strap we made for a smartwatch, which is a combination of plastic and silicone. The strap needs our Dual-material Molding because there is no room and cosmetic issue with glue adhesion. We apply Dual-material Molding to directly and chemically connect the plastic and silicone.

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How does SILITECH work with hardware companies? When a customer comes to you for consultation, what is your process of understanding the product? What are the typical questions you ask? What do the creators need to prepare?

We work closely with customers from ESI stage by APQP system; so we clarify QED by discussing in 3D drawings, 2D specifications, and CMF requirements. After understanding their design intention, then we go through reliability specifications review to setup materials and processes. Same as above, customers need to provide 3D drawings and CMF.

What are the most interesting and innovative projects you have been working on recently? What new technologies, innovations were involved that can demonstrate Silitech’s expertise working with composite materials or the advantages of working with Silitech?

Recently we worked with an electronic lock system maker in Finland to make a RFID Tag (Key) for next generation electronic locks. This tag required a quite different tooling design and fabrication – we needed to seal the electronic components as water-proof. The customer provided their outline (CMF) and internal electronic design, then we suggested a full design.

What changes have you recently witnessed in the industry? How are manufacturers and the supply chain adapting to the whole wave of IoT?

The changes we have witnessed the most in the past few years include profit margins decreasing and labor costs increasing, no more orders of huge quantities but more small customized order inquiries. It’s tough for everyone but we believe we will eventually get over it if we try hard to make a change. We have invested more human resources in R&D for

The changes we have witnessed the most in the past few years include profit margins decreasing and labor costs increasing, no more orders of huge quantities but more small customized order inquiries. It’s tough for everyone but we believe we will eventually get over it if we try hard to make a change. We have invested more human resources in R&D for more innovative creations and improvements in our processes so that we can more easily fit into the IoT world. Also, we have recruited new sales specialists from different industries giving us more ideas from those other industries, in which we are not involved, but may bring us profit in the near future.

How do you see online collaboration platforms like HWTrek improving hardware product development, project management, and supply chain visibility?

Before getting in touch with HWTrek, we never knew it was that easy to discover all these opportunities to work with innovative creators from around the world. We can easily propose our practical solutions to those in need for a better-developed design or solve knotty problems. Also, creators can review their desired resources in a flash through the solution panel on the HWTrek platform and contact experts without any difficulty. We are more than amazed by the cool features HWTrek demonstrates and are thankful for the online/offline marketing channels that make our company much more visible than ever before. It not only saves precious time searching for suitable customers but also saves much of the expenditures we used to spend on traveling and traditional marketing advertisements.

Fun questions:

What are your ‘go-to’ sources for tech information and news? (Do you have any recommendations for a must-read/watch/listen to article, book, blog, film, or podcast, etc.?)

BBC Technology, Discovery, and National Geographic channels are my main sources of getting the latest tech information and news. Though those TV programs might not be the latest news and technology at the time I watch them, I still love to watch them every day when I get back home from work.

What fuels you (coffee, tea, or….)? When you’re low on creative juice, what is your #1 method to get back on track?

Coffee of course. I can’t live a day without coffee.

What do you recommend (place to go/see, what to eat) for a visitor to Taipei?

Tamsui, the district of New Taipei City where SILITECH is located, has the most beautiful coastal views in Taiwan and there are many historical sites there as well for tourists to visit. It’s the must-go place I recommend no matter if it is the first time you come to Taiwan.

What gadget would you love to have from your favorite science fiction film or book?

The invisible coat and perspective glass from the comic book Doraemon, for sure.

You can learn more about the SILITECH Composite Material Solution and connect with Alex Huang, an account manager at SILITECH on the HWTrek platform.

Nova Robotics Wins HWTrek Prize at the eny Hackathon Organized by Quantum and Panasonic

HWTrek recently sponsored the eny Hackathon held January 21st at Galvanize San Francisco – Soma. The event was organized by Quantum and co-organized by Panasonic. In addition to HWTrek, the other sponsors of the event were Neura and Draper University. IDEO and SAP were event partners.

“Through the promotion and event support from HWTrek, we had the privilege of engaging with many creators with inspiring innovative ideas at the eny Hackathon. I’m proud to be part of this creative community of innovators,” said Yushi Nakamura, Business Development Leader of Open Collaboration at Panasonic, where he uses resources and technologies of Panasonic to create open collaboration with startups and giant companies all over the world. Specifically, he is developing IoT hardware with the Japanese company TBWA \ HAKUHODO \ QUANTUM. He is also an expert member of the HWTrek hardware development ecosystem platform.

$15,000 in prizes were up for grabs for teams who got the most out of eny, a user-aware, battery-less smart button.  Neura partnered to provide the SDK for the event. HWTrek CEO, Lucas Wang was one of the judges for the event.

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As part of its sponsorship of the event, HWTrek provided a prize of its standard sourcing service worth $5,000. The HWTrek prize was presented to Ardalan Moazeni of Nova Robotics for “Project Free Food.”

Nova Robotics is a non-profit community service organization with a mission to directly impact humanity’s biggest challenges such as climate change and food/water security. Technology advancement in Vertical Gardening is the main focus of Nova Robotics. Vertical Gardens dramatically reduce the water, space, and energy required to grow food in cities. They successfully designed an air-powered water circulation system for vertical farming that is significantly cheaper, simpler, and energy efficient compared to conventional methods.

HWTrek Expands Global Distribution Channel Footprint for IoT Device Innovators

Industry-Leading Brands Enable Accelerated Go-to-Market Strategy for Entering the Largest, Fastest Growing Markets for Smart, Connected Devices

Taipei, Taiwan—February 15, 2017— HWTrek (Hardware Trek), the global open innovation and collaboration platform for hardware innovation, today announces expanded resources aimed at providing access to a wide network of global markets for smart hardware SMBs and startups with products ready for mass production. The distribution network now features both the most mature, high-value markets for consumer IoT devices as well as the exciting fast-growing ones including China, India, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“Together with our retail and go-to-market strategy partners and experts, we’re excited to bring a truly global market reach to IoT device makers that leverages the strength and power of the global distribution network and complementary resources of the HWTrek collaborative hardware development ecosystem,” said Lucas Wang, CEO of HWTrek.  “We want to help hardware innovators to launch globally after their first successful shipments, to fully seize the opportunity to distribute their products to a worldwide audience thereby reducing the time to access the world and ensure the leading value position and strength of their brand and products.”

Softbank +Style, Amazon Launchpad, JD.com PowerUp, and Brookstone Launch are among the E-commerce platforms that offer game-changing market entry solutions on the HWTrek platform to ease and accelerate market entry and brand awareness for developers of IoT devices.

“We expect more IoT innovator projects—with excellent ideas—through the HWTrek ecosystem,” said Jack Akita, responsible for the +Style Partner Alliance at Softbank. “Softbank is helping IoT startups to enter the Japanese market. Our goal is distributing their products to big scale businesses through the Softbank group. We are helping their distribution and marketing in the Japanese market through our +Style platform.”

Additionally, representatives of e-commerce, crowdfunding, and retail platforms are also members of the HWTrek ecosystem including Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Medion AG, The Grommet, Alibaba, Center Shoji, and the innovative retailer b8ta.

“Amazon Launchpad enjoys a strong working relationship with the team at HWTrek,” stated Jessie Chung, HWTrek Director of Business Development.  “We help them to promote the program among the many IoT companies that populate the HWTrek ecosystem.”

To complement these distribution channels, the HWTrek platform also features experts providing certification, localization, logistics, and design houses to help ensure that products are best suited and prepared for various global markets, and retail, market entry, marketing and public relations consulting services to inform go-to-market strategies.

“HWTrek helps the JD PowerUp program to better communicate with overseas startups,” said Ken Lin, Director of International Business Development at JD.com. “Silicon Valley, as a base of global IoT innovation, needs HWTrek as a bridge to connect to the fast-growing China market. We look forward to more new global enterprises to join the JD PowerUp program through the assistance of HWTrek, to quickly launch on JD.com and enter the China market.”

HWTrek’s cloud-based, collaborative Software as a Service (SaaS) platform is the first global, complete end-to-end hardware development ecosystem—a one-stop shop—for IoT hardware innovators collaboratively working to manage their product development, connect with manufacturing and supply chain industry experts, and bring their connected device projects to market.

HWTrek now connects more than 11,000 hardware creators that have created 2,800 projects on the platform to 2,150 trusted manufacturing and supply chain industry experts from Shenzhen, Taiwan, and Japan to rest of the world—from IC and sensor component vendors, tier 1 ODMs to small, skilled design houses—who have developed unique programs and solutions to assist the creators at all stages of product development. More than 3,000 inquiries have been successfully bridged with manufacturers and other experts.

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HWTrek Expands Global Distribution Channel Footprint for IoT Device Manufacturers https://blog.hwtrek.com/press-release/hwtrek-expands-global-distribution-channel-footprint-for-iot-device-manufacturers/

Break into Global IoT Markets with HWTrek https://blog.hwtrek.com/news/break-into-global-iot-markets-with-hwtrek/

About HWTrek (Hardware Trek)

HWTrek is a unique ecosystem where hardware Creators and industry Experts meet and create smart hardware for the future, based in Taiwan and Shenzhen. HWTrek simplifies the hardware creation process by providing online planning and team collaboration tools and direct access to quality manufacturers and industry experts. Learn more about HWTrek: http://www.hwtrek.com or follow @HWTrek.

Contact:

William Andrew Albano, HWTrek
Tel: +886-2-2769-1698 | +886-2-2742-3301
Email: william.albano@hwtrek.com
Skype: william.andrew.albano
WeChat: niubi_88

Break into Global IoT Markets with HWTrek

Today we are announcing expanded resources aimed at providing access to a wide network of global markets for smart hardware SMBs and startups with products ready for mass production. The distribution network now features both the most mature, high-value markets for consumer IoT devices as well as the exciting fast-growing ones including China, India, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Let me introduce some of the retail distribution network experts and solutions on our platform.

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In 2016, SoftBank launched its +Style platform that connects IoT hardware device makers with Japanese consumers who are keen on adopting the hot, new technology into their lifestyle. SoftBank introduced the +Style as a program on HWTrek to attract the global developers of cool IoT devices to the Japanese market at the beginning of 2017. You can learn more from our blog post introducing +Style.

“We expect more IoT innovator projects—with excellent ideas—through the HWTrek ecosystem. Softbank is helping IoT startups to enter the Japanese market. Our goal is distributing their products to big scale businesses through the SoftBank group. We are helping their distribution and marketing in the Japanese market through our +Style platform.”Jack Akita, responsible for the +Style Partner Alliance at SoftBank.

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Amazon Launchpad is a unique program that showcases cutting-edge products to millions of Amazon customers in the UK, Germany, France, India, China, and the USA.  Back in August 2016, we announced that HWTrek had joined the Amazon Launchpad Services Hub as a manufacturing service provider. Please check out the Amazon Launchpad solution page on HWTrek to learn more about the program, connect with Anurag Khilnani, Head of Business Development at Amazon Launchpad, and hopefully reach the millions of customers of smart, connected devices in the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.

“Amazon Launchpad enjoys a strong working relationship with the team at HWTrek, where we help them to promote the program among the many IoT companies that populate the HWTrek ecosystem.”Jessie Chung, HWTrek Director of Business Development.

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Brookstone Launch is an end-to-end development, manufacturing, and retail program that can help you realize the full potential of your product idea, no matter what stage of development you’re in. Brookstone operates more than 200 retail stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. You can learn more about the program by connecting with Dori Haverty, Program Manager at Brookstone, on HWTrek. Likewise, if you are interested in launching your product in retail stores in China, check out the retail solution offered by Brookstone China on HWTrek.

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JD PowerUp is a go-to-market program that helps overseas hardware startups and early-stage companies sell their products on JD.com’s platform in China. Connect with George Leeming, Business Development Manager at JD.com to learn more about the program. A year and a half ago, we started our first partnership with JD.com to help global hardware innovators launch their products into China’s large and growing market for consumer IoT devices.

“HWTrek helps the JD PowerUp program to better communicate with overseas startups. Silicon Valley, as a base of global IoT innovation, needs HWTrek as a bridge to connect to the fast-growing China market. We look forward to more new global enterprises to join the JD PowerUp program through the assistance of HWTrek, to quickly launch on JD.com and enter the China market.” — Ken Lin, Director of International Business Development at JD.com. 

“For JD.com, the value proposition of HWTrek is its rich source of projects from the markets of North America, Europe, and Japan, which will serve as a tremendous resource for our JD Smart business unit. Further, its efficient project management platform and trusted supply chain partner resources will help speed the flow of high-quality smart products to be brought to JD’s customers. JD Smart can further support hardware startups that develop products that align with our own market strategy. We highly value HWTrek’s commitment to solve many of the manufacturing problems that startups so often face.”Na Xin, formerly Vice President of JD Smart.

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In June of 2015, we organized a meetup and demo day with Indiegogo in Taipei. Read our post-event blog post here. Ben Bateman, Senior Director of Strategic Programs at Indiegogo, who has been a long-time member of the HWTrek expert community, spoke at the event. In addition to Ben, you can also connect with Bret Harris, Director of Business Development at Indiegogo, on the HWTrek platform. Check out the HWTrek partner page on Indiegogo that features just a few of the many projects from our great community of IoT device creators.

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Members of our community of innovative IoT device creators have launched numerous campaigns on Kickstarter, more than a hundred. If you’re interested in learning more, you can connect with Nick Yulman, Senior Curator, Design & Technology at Kickstarter, on HWTrek. I curate a page on Kickstarter featuring some of the many projects from HWTrek’s community, more than 70, that have successfully raised millions of dollars.

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Dennis Runge Senior Produce Manager at MEDION AG is always looking for new and exciting consumer electronics, IT, and IoT products. MEDION has a good presence in Germany and the entire eurozone, as well as in Scandinavia and the UK. Connect with Dennis here.

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Alibaba’s Taobao InnoStar Program helps global IoT device creators find retail channels in China and assists buyers and distributors to discover good products overseas. You can connect with Steven Liu, Maker Operating Director at Alibaba Group, on the HWTrek platform to learn more about the InnoStar Program and getting your IoT product into the China market.

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Osaka-based Center Shoji is a trading company that sells to chain stores and wholesalers and is looking for interesting smart hardware devices to bring to the Japanese market. Connect with Keiichiro Ishio at Center Shoji to learn more about getting your IoT-connected product into what is forecasted to be the third largest IoT market.

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The Grommet is an e-commerce and media platform designed to create product understanding, brand amplification, and sales for new to market consumer IoT products. They launch one product a day with a two-minute video and the story of the company with an audience of millions of users. Connect with Ryan DeChance, Senior Discovery Manager at The Grommet, to learn more about launching your product on their platform.

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b8ta is innovating the retail experience for IoT, connected devices. b8ta is looking for innovative products to display in their retail stores. Hop on over to the HWTrek platform to learn more and connect with Kyle Schutter, who is responsible for international partnerships at b8ta.

Finally, to complement these distribution channels, the HWTrek platform features experts providing certification, localization, logistics, and design houses to help ensure that products are best suited and prepared for various global markets, and retail, market entry, marketing and public relations consulting services to inform your go-to-market strategies for bringing your innovative product to global markets.

If you are working on an IoT product and are currently planning your go-to-market strategy, get accelerated access to the largest and fastest growing markets for smart, connected devices by creating a project on HWTrek. HWTrek is the first and largest end-to-end hardware development ecosystem—a one-stop shop—for IoT hardware innovators collaboratively working to manage product development, connect with manufacturing and supply chain industry experts, and bring connected device projects to market.

If you’d like to offer a service, solution, or other resources to IoT hardware creators, apply to join the HWTrek platform as an expert.