Our Favorites from CES 2018
Our Favorites from CES 2018
It’s impossible to see everything at the annual tech show, but we covered a lot of ground and found some gems
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas promises endless crowds, countless gadgets and a consuming buzz that’s heard around the world. This year the addition of a torrential rainstorm and a power outage at the Las Vegas Convention Center threw some unexpected flavor in to the otherwise predictable mix. In terms of overarching themes, we saw voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant added in to every imaginable object, wireless charging seemed pervasive, and the anticipation of autonomous vehicles heightened even further. We found a few gems amidst the chaos, some executing on these trends thoughtfully, but most simply carving their own path.
Leveraging a blockchain model for recording and distributing the licensing of images, Kodak announced KodakOne, an image rights management platform with the primary goal of ensuring photographers’ creative work is properly recognized, compensated and protected. In tandem, they announced their own crypto currency, KodakCoin, to enable instant payments with embedded licensing contracts. This unexpected, clever move is a timely evolution for the company whose roots are so deeply established in enabling the creation of images.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled a major update to their Command Infotainment system and a new interface approach simply called MBUX. The system adopts contemporary conventions of configurability, customization, personalization and global search to bring the most relevant functions to the home-screen of the car based on who's driving, the time of day, and the car’s location. MBUX also includes a natural language interface similar to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but one that’s been built by Mercedes with a focus on what’s needed and useful in a car setting. MBUX (which will be updatable over-the-air) will debut in the brand’s entry-level vehicle segment, the A Class. Of course, we expect it to roll out across the portfolio quite quickly.
Smoke detectors, by design, have to be a central and in an open space. They typically sit passively on a ceiling and we learn to tune out their presence pretty quickly. But given that they’re there, and often connected to a dedicated power line, why not add to their functionality? First Alert is doing this by making their smoke detectors Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant enabled so that you don’t have to have an additional counter-top device.
We know staying hydrated is important for general wellness, but we also know that bottled water has a relatively high impact on the planet’s wellness. As a result, may of us carry reusable water bottles and drink tap water. But these bottles can get manky quickly if not cleaned often enough and the water we put in them isn’t always 100% free of microbes. Quartz is here to change that without changing our consumption behavior by putting UV-C LEDs inside the bottle’s cap. Simply fill the bottle with water, put on the cap and press the button to decimate 99.9999% of bio contaminants from your water before drinking it.
The idea of an app-connected blender might seem silly at first, but the Nutribullet Balance proved us wrong. It works using a scale in the blender’s base that measures the volume of whatever you tell the app you’re putting in. In turn, the app gives you accurate nutritional data for the smoothie you’re making. This all works in reverse as well—you can find a recipe in the app and the blender will guide you through accurate measurements of each ingredient without any additional kitchen tools.
CES is stressful and frenetic so when we were told that donning the Doppel bracelet it would immediately create a sense of calmness or focus, we were skeptical. But it worked. Miraculously. The gentle heartbeat-like “lub-dub” vibrations on the inside of the wrist can be set to a slower, calming mode or a faster, focused one. Doppel’s team uses research from psychology and neuroscience to understand the power of rythms and the optimal points on the body to manage them. The device works best on the wrist or ankle where there’s a strong pulse-point but also distance from the heart.
Brooklyn-based Puffco makes the best looking and performing portable vaporizers for dabbing cannabis concentrates and now they’ve unveiled Peak, their first dab bong. A coil-less ceramic chamber vaporizes the concentrated oil which then passes through water to be cooled. The temperature control varies automatically to ensure consistent functionality through every bowlful. And the device itself looks and feels gorgeous.
This robot in sheep’s clothing simply simulates breathing movements to create a calming and comforting effect, in turn helping you sleep better. Based on science that shows feeling a breathing rhythm reduces stress and enables sleepiness, the robot can detect when you fall asleep and turn itself off until you become restless and need some calming.
Designed by the prolific Yves Behar, Hive’s latest in-home security camera is easy on the eyes and full of features. HD streaming and person-detection are state-of-the-art for this category, but Hive goes one step further by making the camera cube detachable. A built-in battery keeps the recording going while placing the camera anywhere you want for short-term viewing.
Myeye by Orcam is a smart, simple solution for those with limited vision. The camera mounts on any pair of glasses and recognizes hand gestures to trigger vision assistance. A speaker in the back of the device discreetly describes what’s in view. Point to any text and it’s read out loud, point to a barcode to look up what the product is or hold up your wrist as if you’re looking at a watch to hear what time it is.
DJI’s camera-stabilizing gimbal solutions span from high-end DSLR devices, to drones and phone-stabilizers. Their new Osmo Mobile 2 is for the latter and not only introduces better battery life, new software functions and a tripod mount, it also comes in at half the price as the original.
Vivint is a leader in home security systems and recognizes the importance of community for ongoing monitoring. A modern-day Neighborhood Watch, of sorts, Streety is their new app-based service that lets neighbors share each other’s camera footage, regardless of whether it was recorded on a Vivint device.
Images courtesy of their respective brands