CES 2017 Product Round-up
Back by popular demand, the 2nd annual CES Product Round-up is finally here.
CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, is a massive electronics and technology trade show where companies from all over the world exhibit their latest and greatest products. The wide range of products unveiled ran the gamut from game-changing innovation to passing oddity, and sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish the difference. Every year, part of the fun is trying to guess which products will become industry staples and which will never see a product launch.
This year’s CES took place on January 5th – 8th, and the parade of cutting-edge innovations was impressive. The following are some of the most interesting and buzzworthy products on display this year. Keep in mind that over 4000 exhibitors were at CES this year, so this list is just the tip of the iceberg.
Product Trend: Health Monitoring
SLEEPNUMBER 360 SMART BED
What: A smart bed that helps you fall asleep fast and minimizes snoring.
Claim to Fame: Uses Rapid Sleep Onset technology that warms up the foot of the bed before entry and cools down after you enter the bed. This functionality has been shown to help you fall asleep faster.
Fun Fact: You won’t be woken up by your partner’s snoring ever again! When this bed detects snoring, it will elevate the snorer’s head up to 7 degrees to stop it.
What’s Interesting: Smart products are everywhere, but this one stands out because it actually provides new and useful options to the user. It is not smart for the sake of being smart, but uses intelligence and automation to offer something new.
K’TRACK GLUCOSE BY PKVITALITY
What: A bloodless glucose monitoring device by PKvitality. This device allows diabetics to easily monitor their blood glucose levels with the touch of a button. The wearable is expected to be released in 2018. The device is expected to cost $149, while the biosensor “K’apsul” will need to be replaced every 30 days for $99.
Claim to Fame: It replaces traditional blood sampling tests with SkinTaste® Technology. This technology samples the interstitial fluid within the skin. The microneedles used to get the sample only penetrate the top levels of the skin, which is not deep enough to cause pain or draw blood.
Fun Fact: This technology can be adapted to monitor more than just glucose. PK Vitality is also developing the K’track Athlete, which will monitor lactic acid levels during a workout as an indicator for how the muscles are performing and to assist in optimizing workouts.
What’s Interesting: This cutting edge sensor technology is not just offering an “no-stick method”. They’ve added intelligence and convenience by packaging this as a wearable, encouraging individuals to check their levels on the go and at more regular intervals than traditional systems.
PRODUCT TREND: Controlling your Legion of IOT Devices
What: Amazon’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, Alexa, is compatible with many of the new IOT (Internet of Things) technology on display at CES.
Claim to Fame: Of the IPA choices, Alexa appears to be the front-runner, at least where CES 2017 was concerned. Many new products on display this year were quick to point out Alexa integration or compatibility during their sales pitch.
Fun Fact: Alexa is showing up in everything from LG refrigerators to Ford vehicles and Brinks Smart locks.
What’s Interesting: IOT has been on the rise for a while now, but it is good to note that many are choosing to include compatibility with one or more IPAs.
Smart Remote by Sevenhugs
What: A Smart Remote designed to easily control all of your connected devices through a simple interface.
Claim to Fame: You don’t need to sift through all of your apps to find the one that controls the lights. You simply point the smart remote at the item you want to control and make your adjustments.
Fun Fact: This remote can use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or infrared to control devices.
What’s Interesting: Streamlining the use of smart devices is important to users. Sevenhugs saw a need in the IOT sphere and sought to simplify device control for the end user.
Product Trend: Intelligent Aids
Aipoly Vision 2.0
What: Downloadable application that is designed to help the blind and visually impaired quickly identify objects.
Claim to Fame: The software uses camera on the phone or tablet to identify objects. When the object is in frame the application will verbalize “You are looking at a….” Aipoly can identify items from animals to colors and weather to currency.
Fun Fact: The latest version utilizes 5 AIs working together, as opposed to the previous versions that used just one.
What’s Interesting: This application has been adapted for a specific function, but it could be leveraged for other kinds of AI applications.
Kuri by Mayfield Robotics
What: A home robot that is designed to be helpful and adorable.
Claim to Fame: This little robot is designed to have personality. The expressive eyes and audio beeps are designed convey a friendly and likable personality. The bot can follow you around streaming a podcast, patrol your home while you’re away, and greet you when you return home. It can also use facial recognition to ID you. Kuri is can be preordered for $699, and is expected to ship December of 2017.
Fun Fact: Kuri can map his environment and move throughout a home without running into things. Just don’t ask him to do stairs.
What’s Interesting: This company has put a lot of emphasis on personality. Kuri has been described as an Alexa on wheels, but what makes someone choose this little guy over an Alexa? It’s our emotional side this product caters to. This tech is still pretty young, and Kuri is not promising too much functionality. It’s attempting to do a few things well rather than a lot of things poorly.
Product Trend: VR Meets Creativity
Tilt Brush by Google
What: Pairs software with the HTC Vive virtual reality system to allow the user to paint in a 3D space.
Claim to Fame: This Google product was released last year, but recently Google has made the “tool kit” open source. This means that its 3D creations can be exported to other applications, increasing their versatility. This includes the ability to animate your creations or incorporate them into interactive games.
Fun Fact: In order to improve the software, Google created the “Artist in Residence” program. A group of creators from diverse backgrounds were assembled to work with the Tilt Brush software. The feedback from this team will be used to further improve this as an art medium.
What’s Interesting: This is a tool that could be useful in early product development exercises, such as brainstorming sessions and prototype concepts.
Product Trend: The Unique and Fun
Robird by Clear Flight Solutions
What: A drone that is designed to mimic a bird of prey.
Claim to Fame: This drone, developed by Clear Flight Solutions, stands out from the flock of new drones due to its interesting movement during flight. It’s designed to not just look like a bird, but to move like one as well. During flight, this drone’s wings flap.
Fun Fact: The purpose of these faux hawks is to scare away smaller nuisance birds from airports and farms.
What’s Interesting: Niche markets sometimes facilitate the most unique advancements.
Prosthesis by Furrion Robotics
What: Furrion Robotics debuted a giant mechanical suit. The driver sits in the center of the giant machine and operates it through arm and leg movements.
Claim to Fame: Science fiction has been preparing us for years, and now pilot-operated giant mechanical suits are finally here! This four-legged behemoth is still under development, but is expected to be able to move, jump and race.
Fun Fact: The developers hope that this type of machine will find a home on racing circuits, and a brand new sport will be developed around giant racing exoskeletons.
What’s Interesting: It’s a Mech! Need I say more?
Industry Spanning Challenges:
CES is primarily an exhibition celebrating all that we have achieved in consumer technology. However, lurking in the background of every CES are challenges not yet solved. This year, two concerns stood out.
Security is one of the primary concerns around personal connected devices. As more items become smart, they also become vulnerable to hacking. This is not a new issue, but it bears repeating. With the speed at which new connected devices are being produced, there is constant concern over cybersecurity lagging behind. It will be interesting to see what innovations develop out of this need.
As our technology becomes more interconnected, the challenges of big data become more relevant.
How do you make data useful when it is being gathered and shared by so many different sources?
Being able to manage, search, and categorize the vast amount of data being generated will become even more important as technology advances. Many of the prototypes and early phase products which were teased at CES this year will need to utilize big data in a big way. The autonomous, aka self-driving, cars are one of the most obvious places where big data is required; they are not only going to have to control themselves, but also communicate with other cars and networks, in order to navigate safely.
I, for one, look forward to seeing how we solve these and other challenges in upcoming years.