In the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Chinese manufacturing companies have begun to manufacture new corona protection equipment to fight against the virus. BYD, leading electric vehicle manufacture in Shenzhen, quickly launched the world's largest mask plant. Hangzhou based voice intelligence startup Rokid manufactures thermal imaging glasses for the US market and many more. The latest example is Huami. The NASDAQ-listed wearable startup manufactures the Xiaomi's Mi band and also sells its Amazfit brand fitness tracking watch in over 70 countries worldwide. In an interview, the company said, it is developing a see-through plastic mask with built-in UV radiation. You can disinfect the filter in 10 minutes by connecting it to the power supply through the USB port. However, UV rays can be disinfected only inside the mask, and the outside must be cleaned by the user.
The mask called Aeri uses a removable filter, which has the same filtering capacity as the N95 mask. If the concept is realized, the filter can be used for a month and a half, and it will last much than surgical masks and N95 respirators. The modular design allows you to install customized accessories like a fan to make it easier to breathe, and that's where the mask Aeri which sounds like airy. Aeri's development began with the assumption that wearing a mask might hinder the rapid penetration of face recognition companies are working on upgrades to analyze other facial features such as the irises or tip of the noses.
Huami vice president Pengtao Yu said, “Whether people need to unlock their phones or not, they want to see each other's face at social occasions." Prior to joining Huami, he was a California-based Chinese designer who worked with clients such as Nest Labs, Roku, GoPro, and Huawei. Huami's US operations, which focus on research and department, started in 2014 and currently now have a dozen employees.
While many companies working on pandemic-ready manufacturing have been hit by key businesses, Huami has managed to escape the impact. In the company's first-quarter 2020 financial results, net income decreased from $10.6 million of the previous year to $2.7 million, but sales were $154 million. However, the company's stock price fell from a record high of $16 in January to about $10 in mid-May. Huami is working on a prototype Aeri mask. Its headquarters in Shenzhen has a wearable department. Pengtao Yu said, “The city has abundant supply chain resources, so it takes between 6 and 12 months to develop a hardware product from idea to market launch.
Aeri is still in its early stages and has not been priced. However, he admitted that rather than appealing to healthcare professionals, he is targeting the "popular consumer market" around the world, which protects against daily air pollution in addition to viruses. Given that Huami has been producing wearable at thin margins, it's no wonder that Aeri can be quite competitively priced. The Aeri project is one of the starting points for Huami to enter the comprehensive health department beyond the fitness monitor. The company has recently collaborated with Dr.Zhong Nanshan's lab on tracking respiratory disease using wearable. He is a representative of China is dealing with the new corona measures. Huami plans to work with German public health authority to collaborate a virus monitoring app that runs on smartwatches.