Korean startups sweep innovation awards at CES 2017

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CES 2017 has drawn to a close, showcasing innovations that will set the tone in the consumer electronics industry for the rest of the year.  Living up to expectation as the place to check what’s the next big thing in technology, industry big players like Samsung, Nvidia, Xiaomi, LG, Sony, and Amazon unveiled latest consumer electronics, everything from IoT and VR gadgets to big TVs and autonomous vehicles.

Over the past few years, the show has seen a shift from mostly big technology companies showcasing new product lineups to smaller startups utilizing the show as a launchpad for their new products. This year, there were several Korean startups that really impressed the audience at the show.

Neofect: Rapael Smart Glove

Neofect was named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree for their flagship product, Rapael Smart Glove. Rapael Smart Glove is a physical rehabilitation product with gamification elements and user-friendly interface to keep patients motivated and eager to accelerate their recovery. Its immersive training games automatically adjust the difficulty levels based on patient’s physical motion and goals to optimize challenge and motivation. The system tracks the progress data and generates rehabilitation reports.

Rapael Smart Glove was proven to be more effective than conventional rehabilitation therapy in the journal NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. Patients can rent Rapael Smart Glove for $99 per month, or the device can be purchased by institutions for $15,000. Neofect was founded in 2010 and has offices in Seoul, San Francisco and Munich.


MANGOSLAB was named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in computer accessories category and the Top 5 Cool Gadgets at CES 2017 by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute). Nemonic is an inkless printer wirelessly paired with its note-taking application. Users can organize typed or finger-drawn notes within the note-taking application and print out adhesive notes for the upcoming meetings in less than five seconds. Nemonic utilizes thermal printing technology and its note papers cost about as much as the conventional sticky notes. The printer itself is priced around $100. MANGOSLAB is a 2016 spinoff from Samsung’s C-lab, a corporate startup incubator. .

InnomdleLab: Sgnl

Innomdle Lab showcased its flagship product Sgnl at CES 2017. Sgnl is a smart watch band that transmits audio through your hand to take calls by placing your finger on ear. It has a body conduction unit (BCU) that generates vibration which can travel through your hand and into your ear. It also amplifies the wavelengths of the voice to transmit signals effectively. Sgnl can be installed on any smart or mechanical watches with regular lugs. Innomdle Lab is also a spinoff from Samsung’s C-lab in 2015. Since then, they have raised $1,820,179 USD (2938% of the pledged goal) on Indiegogo and  $1,469,202 (2938% of the pledged goal) on Kickstarter.

Salted Venture: IoFit

Salted Venture’s smart golf shoes, Iofit, was named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the wearable technology category. Through a pressure sensor embedded in its sole, Iofit provides a real-time feedback on the player’s center of gravity and swing balance data like address, impact point, and backswing position. All data is accessible through a self-developed mobile application. Players are able to share this data with their coach or compare side by side with data from professional golfers. Iofit Pro shoes is currently priced at $359. Salted Venture is also a spinoff from Samsung’s C-lab in 2015. Since then, they have raised $102,581 USD (300% of the pledged goal) on Kickstarter.


The new IoT infant wearable device startup, Allb, showcased its infant monitoring system at CES 2017. Utilizing emerging IoT technologies, it was originally made to prevent SIDS by monitoring abdominal breathing, sleep patterns, skin temperature, and sleeping position. Upon recognizing an issue through the monitoring, it will alert the family members. All data is accessible through a mobile app with customized childcare insight and can be easily shared with multiple family members or doctors. Allb is currently priced at $159. Allb has also raised over $30,000 USD on Kickstarter in 2015.


Tokyo born Korean, studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University with personal interests in technology entrepreneurship and photography. International travel enthusiast. Currently a software engineer at AWS Internet of Things.

You can reach me at baekkyoum.kim@techforkorea.com or linkedin.com/in/baekkyoumkim



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