Hello from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where I attended the CES Unveiled event, set out solely for the press. There were about 100 vendors exhibiting their products for about 1,200 press representatives. Between press and vendors, the room was full and a number of TV reporters covered the event with lights and cameras all taking up a lot of space. The combination sometimes made it hard to move or even breathe. Out of the treasure trove of tech products put forward, here are five I found most intriguing.
Parrot Zik noise cancelling ear buds
Parrot’s Zik Sport headphones had the largest crowd in front of the booth so I had to see what the fuss was about. The Zik Sport is a noise-canceling Bluetooth earbud type headphone. It was designed by Parrot and Philippe Starck (the guy who designs those gorgeous watches). It has eight microphones — six for noise-cancelling and two for voice calls. It is designed with runners in mind. So in addition to the microphones, it also has a heart rate sensor and pedometer. All these are packed together in an amazingly small unit. But, I could not find any pricing information or launch date information. We may have to wait and see what the real Parrot will look like.
Next is what I’d call the “magic wand ring” – and is simply called Ring by maker Logbar. It’s priced at $269 and will be available this March.
Why do I call it that? Using a Bluetooth sensor and gesture-recognition technology, the ring, (which is a bit bulky for women), lets you do things like send text messages and control connected home devices with just a few waves of your finger. It interacts with web-enabled devices and apps via Bluetooth connection. It has a touch sensor, antenna and a built-in lithium ion battery. Once you put it on your finger, through one of three types of motions (touch, gesture, hold) you can control various Bluetooth-connected devices. As you walk into your house, for example, you might wave your finger to turn on a lamp and then, with another different gesture, adjust its brightness. With a circular gesture you can turn your TV off or on and allow you to switch channels. As magic wands go, this looks interesting, but whether it is worth spending $269, only you can tell.
The Mira bracelet is a fitness tracker for women and costs $169. The device which is part of a bracelet, offers a personal way to track
your activities while being stylish. It provides the usual information that you’d expect like distance, calories, and time, but it also personalizes your experience by understanding your fitness level; asking questions at setup such as how hard it is for you to do push ups and can you touch your toes. Based on that and your exercise pattern, it offers relevant suggestions to provide a personalized fitness program. The bracelet is elegant and the actual unit can be removed from the bracelet and can be clipped to your lapel.
Withings Home HD Camera
I saw an interesting presentation on the Withings Home HD camera home monitoring and air quality sensor. It is available now for $199.95. This device claims to all you to monitor your home from anywhere. It detects motion and noise and sends notifications to your smartphone. Of course, it can’t tell whether the motion and/or noise was caused by a burglar or your child’s first steps, you have to decide that. This device also monitors your indoor environment, which the vendor claims is more toxic than the outdoor environment. It measures volatile organic compounds in your home and alerts you of any changes. But wait there is more! It also has a remote customizable night light and a base magnet for flexible positioning.
da Vinci 3D printer
Last but not least, the da Vinci Jr. 3D printer looked interesting. It is $599 and relatively small at 17? x 15? x 17?. What’s cool about it? It’s reasonably priced, sized and relatively easy to produce 3D plastic figures. It provides many 3D models for downloading and printing from an online catalogue. The filament cartridges are refillable and it uses fused filament fabrication.
I find the CES Unveiled event always interesting. The vendors have to pay an additional fee to exhibit at this event. This means there are 100 vendors exhibiting at the CES Unveiled event versus the 3,500 vendors when the show opens to the public, thereby providing participating vendors with exposure that they may not get during the regular exhibition. There were a number of vendors who were showing prototypes that may or may not hit the market this year. Nevertheless, they are giving us a peek at the upcoming technologies as well as insight about what the future may hold.