5 gadgets from Asia you’ll want in your home right now

Kamarq website

City homes may be getting smaller, but that doesn’t mean people have any reason to be less house-proud.

From established brands like South Korea’s Samsung, which created the SmartThings Hub, to Chinese brand Ecovacs’ Winbot window cleaners, we are proud to say that some of the world’s leading home accessories today had their roots in Asia.

In our search for the best Asian-made inventions for the home, we found 5 products that you may not have heard of, but will definitely want by the end of this article.

  1. Ambi Climate 2 (Hong Kong)

Singaporeans and Malaysians know just how difficult it is to live in a hot and humid climate all year round. While we sweat buckets outdoors, there is little respite when we run indoors because the air-conditioner often makes it uncomfortably cold (and is also expensive to run).

Hong Kong startup Ambi Labs has promised to help reduce this problem with the Ambi Climate, which is basically an air-conditioner controller that can detect the factors affecting thermal comfort in your home, including humidity and sunlight.

Using AI, the Ambi Climate creates a unique user profile for its owner and auto-adjusts your air-conditioner based on the information it receives. This could result in an energy bill discount of up to 30%, the product’s Kickstarter page says.

Priced at HK$772 (S$137) per unit, the Ambi Climate was well-received and had over a thousand backers by the end of its second edition campaign.

2. Kamarq (Japan)

You know you’re in the future when your table informs you every time it rains. Yes, you read that right – your table can now inform you of weather changes.

Japanese startup Kamarq’s Sound Table also plays music wirelessly from your phone’s playlist and comes pre-installed with several ambient tracks for days when all you need is to relax.

Technology aside, the company’s range of musical tables are beautifully designed and made with different shades of white oak, mahogany, or sungkai wood. A power hub which sits discreetly by the side of the table will even allow you to charge your phone, devices and power your cooking appliances.

The smallest of the lot is a bedside table priced between 58,320 to 69,120 Japanese yen (S$728 to S$863), while the larger tables will cost you anywhere between 105,840 to 166,320 Japanese yen, depending on model and size.

3. Rokid Alien (China)

Rokid Alien

When we talk about digital assistants, Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and more recently the Apple HomePod, come to mind. But one Chinese company called Rokid is hot on their heels.

Design-wise, its Alien is a cut above the rest – smooth and oval with an inbuilt screen that flashes images and information. Rokid’s AI is called Melody and she behaves more like a robot than a simple digital assistant. This means that the more you talk to Melody, the more she “learns” about your preferences.

Like all digital assistants, the Alien and can help you control other smart home appliances, play music and search for information. Melody can also store more than one calendar, allowing you to check against multiple schedules including your own and your family members’.

Equipped with echo cancellation, you can give her other instructions while she is already playing music that you requested.

Rokid Pebble

But priced at 5,280 yuan (S$1,070), the cost of owning an Alien is very steep. If you’re on a budget, you can also check out Rokid’s award-winning Pebble, which also runs on Melody and costs 1,399 yuan – just slightly over a quarter of the Alien’s hefty price tag.

4. Elfy smart light (China)

Like something out of a sci-fi movie, Elfy is an adorable light-up companion that will appeal to anyone who needs a friend.

Small and round, Elfy has a set of innocent-looking eyes and emits 7 different coloured lights. You can squish, tap or hug it however much you like to change the lights. You can also schedule the Elfy to turn on at a certain time so you will be greeted by a soft and warm lightning the moment you wake up in the morning.

While it has the least functions among all the gadgets featured here, it definitely is the cutest. Plus, the eggshell it comes in also doubles up as a coin bank. This is not only the perfect gift for the child in your home, it would also be the perfect toy for the kid inside of you.

It is listed for US$54.99 (S$76) on the official website, but you can probably get it at lower prices from online stores such as Apollo and Amazon.

5. Panasonic Rinto (Japan)

Luxury living may not be very practical most of the time, but who’s to say we can’t dream?

The new Rinto standing fan released by Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is a fine example of how seemingly ordinary household appliances can be made exceptional.

Unlike conventional standing electric fans, the Rinto features a compact motor which is tucked neatly away from view.

According to Panasonic, its gold-coloured blades have been designed to reduce air resistance and thus provide a smooth flow of air similar to the natural breeze one would experience outdoors. The Rinto is also a smart fan which can sense room temperature and switch on and off or to different wind modes accordingly.

Designed to look elegant, the luxury fan is also stunning with a walnut wood pillar polished and painted by craftsmen from Miroku Corp, a 100-year-old firearms manufacturer known for making hunting guns.

As expected, good things don’t come cheap – the Rinto was released in the Japanese market in May for a whopping 129,600 yen (S$1,620) inclusive of tax.