The Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas is big. It keeps getting bigger. My emotions regarding the show range from mild enjoyment to severe disdain as the days go by. In the past, I’ve attended for 3 or 4 days. My knees and patience both showed signs of severe disrepair by the end of the 4th day. This year I packed everything into 2 full days which seemed about right. It was a different show than last year (see what I thought was notable in 2016), and yet a lot of “sameness”. In no specific order, here’s what I found notable this year (notable doesn’t mean “great”):
One of the first things we saw entering the convention center was a kit for kids that fell into the STEM category. The interesting thing was that it boasted the combination of both AI (artificial intelligence) and AR (augmented reality). It’s a bit tough to see from the picture, but you can “see” the orientation of the magnets through the glasses, represented by red dashes that appear on your phone screen. It’s a more involved sort of kit than others I’ve seen and purchased for our kids.
I thought “Brushies” was cool, if only because your child can pick whichever toothbrush they want. The device slides over any toothbrush and tracks motion while they brush. There are some games and social aspects to it as well. I felt the form factor was a bit larger than I liked for younger kids like our 5-year old son.
Pillar Technologies is a company I saw a few months ago at an investor conference. We’ve considered investing in the concept. It’s a device that gets installed around a construction site to track and help prevent things like mold, fire damage, etc. If it works, it could reduce insurance costs significantly in the construction industry.
I finally tried out one of those massage chairs I’ve walked by hundreds of times at conventions. I hated it, because I don’t like massages. But, it was part of some good-natured fun Runway Girl and I were having about the joys of CES.
How about a chess board where you can play a match on a physical board against an opponent anywhere in the world? Watch the video:
Self-lacing sneakers? Just don’t get this one. Marty McFly would be happy.
Your own private brewmaster?
How about a laundry folding machine that doesn’t actually fold laundry? Seriously, the demo was the guy clipping the items to the top and then explaining that the machine would fold it for you like the neat stack below.
There was Nora, the non-invasive snoring solution. There’s a sound monitor that controls a device that inflates a balloon under your pillow. When you snore, it adjusts you to a position that stops your snoring.
Connected bikinis? They monitor UV to tell you when to apply more sunscreen or get out of the sun. In case you were wondering, they were not modeling the bikinis…..
How about Modobag? A connected, rideable carry-on bag. I guess that makes it travel-related. I would feel like a complete idiot riding this thing through an airport. But, you can invest in it if you think it’s the next great thing.
There were quite a few examples of indoor, hydroponic growing devices. These interest me from the standpoint of growing your own produce. I’m not prepared to do it myself but I love the idea from a sustainability standpoint, especially for folks living in urban areas.
As a father, I really wish they had something like this when our kids were younger.
I definitely want to do some research into the SevenHugs smart remote. It looked pretty cool.
I kid you not, you can buy a “hair coach”. Not released yet, but they say it won’t cost you more than $300. It analyzes your hair while you brush and gives you feedback on how to improve the quality of your hair.
I liked the Withings Smart Temporal thermometer. You don’t actually have to touch the forehead to read your child’s temperature. A huge plus when your kids are sleeping. Much better than ear thermometers. And, light years better than the annoying ones of yesteryear that got stuck under your tongue or, ahem, other places.
As a brief diversion, The NBA on TNT was doing their pre-game show from the floor of CES. Pretty cool for sports fans.
I’m really interested in this pillow. My wife snores “just a bit” and this is supposed to help alleviate that. Early reviews aren’t great, though. Do I take a chance that the software improves and purchase it with the CES discount? If you’re interested, message me for the discount code.
Aftershokz was selling a bone-conduction headphone for folks who may have trouble with hearing.
The innovation awards section had a “wayback machine”, showing off such groundbreaking technology as an Atari, a video cassette recorder, and a Tivo. How quaint!
There were a lot of smartphone covers, something else Runway Girl and I were joking about.
There were two that stuck out for me. Dog & Bone had a rubber case that provides additional waterproof protection for your phone. The attraction here is that the form factor is very similar to that of a standard phone case. It wasn’t very bulky at all. I won’t be dipping my phone in water to test it, but I do have one on order to try out. I’ll report back on it.
I also liked their luggage smart lock. I never check a bag unless there’s a gun to my head. But, my wife does. Being able to lock and track it strike me as worth the price.
For those that enjoy skiing, a case from Lander could be a big plus. It uses thermal technology to keep the battery in your smart phone warm for hours. If you’ve ever tried taking your smart phone with you while skiing, they’ll generally shut off in the cold temperatures. No, I don’t conduct work calls while I’m skiing. But, I do like taking pictures. And, I use it as a way to find my wife when we get separated on the slopes. I’ll be testing this one as well shortly. Additionally, I have some 50% off coupons for folks who are interested. I’ll be starting a separate post on those to give them away.
There were some badass concept cars from people like Toyota and Volkswagen.
There was a digitally printed sports car.
And, we got to see the Faraday Future, which drew a lot of attention at the show. I don’t know much about it, but the car definitely looked cool. It’s not for the faint of wallet, though. The starting price is a mere $150,000.
Another popular item at CES this year was autonomous cars. There was a whole parking lot dedicated to cars driving around without human drivers. I didn’t snag any pictures, but it’s a good indication of how much money is being put behind driverless technology.
Did I mention there were TVs? There are always TVs at CES. Lots of them. This year’s big innovation was a TV as thick as 3 quarters stacked up. Impressive, though I’m not entirely sure it’ll be in my home anytime soon. Yeah, I’m pretty sure.
There were Star Wars drones amongst the sea of drones.
And, Kodak even made an appearance with a camera smartphone that took exceptional pictures.
Finally, there was….virtual reality porn. We probably would have missed it since it wasn’t on the main floor. We saw three girls walk by us with t-shirts on that said “Naughty America VR. Come see us in S115”. I didn’t immediately know what it was. Thankfully, one of my colleagues clarified that Naughty America is a porn site. He might have clarified it a bit too quickly, if you know what I mean. He says he heard about it from a friend. 😉
Anyway, we hunted down the room which was truly buried. Shockingly, there were a decent number of men standing in line to try out VR porn. Oddly, no women…..
For those wondering about such things, I did take a peek. I still don’t love VR headsets as I need to wear them without my glasses. The quality of the video was somewhere between standard definition and high definition. If you’re expecting incredible image quality, you’ll need to wait a few years. Underwhelming, but our curiosity definitely wouldn’t let us leave without “analyzing the technology”.
The Final Two Pennies
I’m glad I attended, even if I don’t think I saw that “one great thing”. It’s interesting to see what changes from year to year. I’m happy to answer any questions about the items above.
If you’ve never been to the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s worth doing at least once. Maybe not every year, like me. But, there’s an unbelievable amount to see. Truly something for everyone.
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