The Human-Human Interface


Personal Infrastructure

Asian manufacturers, from Japan (not counting Sony and other “majors”), Korea (not including Samsung and other “majors”), Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and elsewhere have large presences at the Consumer Electronics Show. These illustrate life-cycle trends in technology innovations from years past, but also technology trends that never make it to North America. I am constantly struck by the range of health-related gadgets among these companies, revealing something about Asian cultures that I’m too provincial to get. And sometimes I make fun of the language issues, but please excuse that juvenile attitude.

1. Newlane Limited MP3 Players

Deep in the Hong Kong/Taiwanese modular show booth farms are countless knock-offs of familiar brands – MP3 players copying the Apple white surface and shape. One from Newlane Limited has a plus-sign shaped up-down-left-right control in the place of the scroll dial. The plus-sign comes in children’s primary colors – looks like a cross between Apple and Fisher Price. Brands travel.

2. SurroundAir Ionic Air Purifier

I wonder if Asia has more air purification gadgets because of their higher proportion of urban, skyscraper hi-density living and working space. Try the SurroundAir Ionic Air Purifier. It’s portable and you can “enjoy clean air even when stuck in traffic”. Or from the same outfit, a hand-held Live Sure Water Tester, which gives you a readout of “Total Dissolved Solids levels (TDSs can include salts metals leads, arsenic, sewage, fertilizer, pesticides and other impurities). – I suppose it also includes salt or other harmless stuff?

3. Vigorhood Pacific

I have a personal shredder, but, mostly I just like the company name.

4. Kingbillion

Again, I just like the name.

5. Health Fan Heater

Health Fan Heater – cleans air, generates negative ions (the good kind!), with built in air fan and heater and generates (or prevents?) “Far-Infrared Ray”. I have to investigate this one a little more I guess. This Web site seems ephemeral – but I think they were a Hong Kong outfit.

6. Airdow

Airdow generates negative ions to reduce computer’s static radiation and kieep health”

Produce the high-density negative more than 2 million per second, make people feel in the forest;” Comes in green, gray, pink and “milky white.”

7. iBox iTelephone Café

More a business opportunity than a technology, iBox iTelephone Café is a “real telco-level switch – start with a switch the size of a cable converter box, “with a minimal investment, you can issue your own calling cards at wholesale telecom rates. “As your business grows from a small one man telephone café into a real telecom company with hundreds or thousands of people working for you, our telco-level switches are ready to accommodate your growth.” I can only guess that this is aimed at developing nations, but don’t ask me contact:

8. Magnetic Point Massager

Handheld device for magnetically stimulating acupressure points. Comes with acupressure map. You first.


It’s an indoor deodorizer, bacteria killer, skin moistener and humidifier. It destroys “Funk produced by organic substance”. Aromas include lavender, mint, Eucalyptus and Pythoncidere.

10. Vapir

Digital Vaporization Technology. “Since the dawn of time, humans have burned plants, inhaling unhealthy compounds from the process that aren’t found in the original plant. The Vapir line of vaporizers …”releases an herb’s essential material, without many of the toxic elements created by smoking.” Paging the medical marijuana movement. Hey, wait a minute! These guys aren’t Asian – they’re from Venice, California. Well, Pacific Rim then.

11. Digital Integrated Systems

An entry from Malaysia – with a line of MP4 players. They also do Digital Audio Broadcasting receivers, which I think is a good, not too crowded entry niche for a low cost manufacturer. The Blue Thunder line includes the Viper Cam with its “attractive snake shape camera”.

All the health devices seem so obsessed with sensory perceptions. I remember one of my favorites from the dotcom era, a company called DigiScent. They claimed to be able to digitize scents, send them over the wire, and recreate them on a device at your end. From a Neurosphere point of view, this would actually be viewed as a step forward toward digital interconnection on a more integral basis, all senses instead of the abstractions of words and bits. Hmm.