Business / Technology

The ideas that are changing everyday life

By Yan Yiqi in Wuzhen, Zhejiang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-19 11:22

From instant cleaner air to virtual shop assistants, tech-based inventions are set to make a big difference

Imagine a mirror that can take your body measurements within five minutes and create virtual images of you trying on new clothes without the trouble of taking them on and off.

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, this "virtual fitting room" is actually a reality - the newest development from China's retail leader, Suning Commerce Group Co.

What's more, once you have decided to buy a garment, all you have to do is to scan the QR code beside the mirror, and then sit back and wait for the express delivery right to your door.

This was just one of the many Web-related breakthroughs being touted at the "Light of the Internet" Expo held this week in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, with visitors able to experience for themselves cutting-edge devices that are expected to change every aspect of our lives.

The four-day event, which closed on Friday, featured inventions from 260 companies and was a perfect snapshot of what stage China is at in global Internet development terms.

Unlike some other expos that exhibit gadgets aimed at years in the future, this event focused on the here-and-now, and highlighted many ideas that are likely to become daily items, very soon.

The displays were as large as Baidu Inc's driverless car, to tiny items such as the very-latest micro cameras.

Lin Zhenqing, a visitor from Hangzhou High-tech Zone in Zhejiang, said she found herself visualizing what her future life might become.

"The items I have liked vary from wake-up alarm lamps to parking apps. I can't wait to experience them all," she said.

As the authorities in Beijing issued the second pollution red alert on Friday, little more than a week after the first ever such warning, one of the most topical items on show was a smart air purifier. The device, developed by Beijing M Fresh High Tech Co, can respond to smartphone app instructions from owners, no matter where they are, if they have access to the Internet.

Yu Shuquan, the company's CEO, claimed it is an industry-first.

"With big data provided by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's cloud computing subsidiary Aliyun, the purifier is able to monitor outdoor air quality and send alarms when it gets bad," he said.

When the outdoor PM 2.5 reading exceeds 250, for instance, or the indoor PM 2.5 reading exceeds 100, the purifier turns itself on.

"It will also run automatically according to users' habits after a cycle of 90 days."

Priced a relatively modest 1,999 yuan ($300), it's cheaper, too, than many foreign branded air purifiers, which still remain the most popular buys with Chinese customers.

"The efficiency of our purifier is the same as, if not better than, the foreign brands," Yu insisted.

Wang Yunfan, CEO of Hangzhou Fervcloud Technology Co, also gave a confident pitch on the features of its latest technology.

Focused on heads-up displays for vehicles - screens that presents data without requiring users to deviate from their usual viewing angles, the company's device provides navigation, cell phone notification and current speed information, among others.

"Too many drivers are still being tempted to look down at their smartphones when they are waiting at traffic lights or even when they are driving," said Wang.

"We want to change people's driving habits by offering them the chance to do everything they need, by just looking ahead instead."

The HUD system can display images up to 4 meters ahead of the driver, which are still as clear in bright sunlight as they are in normal conditions.

"The average display distance of existing products is 60 cm, but 4 m is a much safer distance for drivers," he claimed, adding his goal is to initiate the "age of the smart car".

"An autopilot car, or driverless car, is of course just a big smart car - but for most people, these kinds of smaller devices are a lot more accessible, and affordable," he said.

Standing nearby, Jin Yulun, a visitor from Tianjin, said he was astonished that such modern technology is already this advanced, and readily available.

"It seems that Internet technology is changing our lives, in a better way of course," he said.

"And I am so proud that so many Chinese companies are making a difference in the field."

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