Asia’s largest computer hardware show Computex Taipei cast an extra intense spotlight on startups this year as investors looked for leaders in new technology such as the internet of things. The Taiwanese startup incubator Garage+ stepped forward into that glare with a particularly large showing of 20 young companies.

Garage+, a Taipei-based incubator founded in 2008 by the Epoch Foundation that supports industrial development, came to the show startups from eight countries.

Computex Taipei, though once focused largely on hardware technology, has shifted with the trends toward exhibitors that use artificial Intelligence, cloud computing and big data. Blockchain technology and 5G wireless services were additional themes this year at the June 5-9 event.

Taiwan-based blue chip companies such as TSMC, Quanta Computer, Foxconn helped establish Garage+, which also gets support from the Taiwan government’s National Development Council.

For startups in the incubator, Garage+ offers one-on-one meetings with potential partners or investors, visit to IT manufacturer, working space and a booth at Computex 2018. Foreign startups in the program are encouraged to bring business to Taiwan.

Here are some of the 20 firms showcased at Computex:

Clevapi: real-time visual recognition cloud

This 2-year-old Russian software company offers on-demand photo recognition for brands, faces, products and objects. The software can recognize these features based on photos or videos on websites or in the social media.

Clevapi CEO Timur Luguev told Business Next his software-as-a-service technology combines real-time visual recognition with artificial intelligence. Clients might need the service in retail or personalized customer support.

Luguev said he came to Taiwan in search of business partners, so he applied to Garage+ and has already held some meetings on the island.

Edgehog: anti-reflection light management

Edgehog , founded in 2017 in Montreal, is developing anti-reflection technology that allows screens to be readable under direct sunlight while cutting power consumption.

Edgehog co-founder Calvin Cheng said commercial applications include camera lenses, glasses, smartphone screens and solar panels. Cheng, too, reached Taiwan to find business partners in manufacturing.

CamToy: robotic pet sitter

The French startup CamToy has developed a robot called Laika. Laika acts as a companion for pet dogs so they don’t feel lonely while their owners are away.

CamToy co-founder and CEO Thomas Samtmann adopted a dog named Kimi from a shelter for strays.

”Probably the dog suffered from its abandonment as the dog would destroy things at home when I was away from her,” Samtmann said. “Therefore, I came up with this idea to have the robot to accompany my pet so the pet could feel secure and so the owner ourselves could understand the pet’s condition anytime.”

An owner of the Laika kit can put a tracker on the dog to get notices via WiFi on a mobile phone app of any unusual behavior such as repeated barking. Laika interacts with the dog by teaching tricks and tossing out treats. Cats qualify, too.

“With the tracker, Laïka is also able to know when your dog is active and where he is in your house,” the CEO said. “So even when you’re busy, Laïka can take care of your dog.”

CamToy’s”Laika” has won CES Innovation Award 2018. Now people can pre-order Laika on Indiegogo. The 2-year-old firm’s kits wll begin mass production next year. Laika, the tracker and a charging base sell for a total of US$300.

〔Original :meet@Tw〕