CES: Day 2
Because of my sense of a "themeless" show this year without any breakthrough technologies, I thought I'd take in CES a bit different this year and look at products more from the innovative perspective, rather than what to expect in the coming years. Some of the innovation is very impressive and some...well, let's say it's not fully thought through. But it all gives an idea of what technology can do and perhaps where it may go.
With no order intended, here are some totally random observations of products that I came across wandering around during the first, full day.
In fact, not only did I have an eye out for innovation, these are some of the honorees for the CES Innovation Awards that the show gives out. And what I found notable is how many of them are in the health and wellness field, an area I generally haven't written about much in the past.
Tactile Pro is the first PC that is made specifically for the blind. It's a laptop which is able to translate information into Braille.
Lexilens is an absolutely fascinating product, assuming it works as described. It's eyewear that is engineered to be a reading aid for dyslexics. The description made it seem like it's able to manipulate the letters that are perceived and then correct them.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mateo is a smart bath mat, and it seems like it's not quite as cool as the inventors believe. It monitors weight, body composition and "posture evolution", sending the information to an app on a smart phone. I guess it's for people who don't like a scale in their bathroom and who want to know more about their posture evolution.
Similarly, there was the Smart Belt which has great intentions, but I don't quite grasp why it would be effective. The intent is to help elderly people who haven an issue with falling. It analyzes the situations that could lead to a fall, and then warns of conditions for future falls. But I'm not sure if most people will react in a way to prevent those future falls, especially when it's simply too late, like losing their balance.
But then, there was another product meant for the elderly that I thought was terrific -- the Pria from Black & Decker. It's an automated medication manager and home health care assistant. Basically, you put all your medication in the device in separate compartments and then program it so that it will dispense the proper dosages each day. And there's also a built-in camera and monitor so that you can have 2-way video communication with a family member or (I assume) your doctor.
One product I'm written about for a few years that I like but really isn't available in the U.S. readily is the induction stove top. (These are cool to the touch, but heat up metal.) It requires a complete rewiring of kitchens and a standard that isn't totally compatible to what utilities provide. (At least that's somewhat how it was described to me.) But Samsung had a portable induction stovetop, intended for small apartments. So, I have to assume that, being portable, it might at least have a better chance of being usable in the U.S.
There were other interesting or odd products, of course, that I came across which were not Innovation winners. Among them are --
The Janax flexible battery is not for consumer sale, but intended for manufacturers. And yes, the lithium battery is flexible. That allows batteries to be built into wearable products where a normal battery would be bulky or uncomfortable.
I've come across Toto toilets in the past, and they do love their toilets. Very innovative, probably more so than most people require, but it's certainly fascinating to see. The latest uses water very efficiently, provides a soft light for those who use the facilities at night where turning on a bright light would be glaring, a quiet flush and the "Washlet" touch pad -- allowing for a, ahem, back cleaning, front cleaning, privacy music and a wand clean.
And lots of Smart locks, which aren't as Smart as I want in a lock. They run on batteries, and I've seen them for several years now (a lot more this year), and I've never been bowled over by how they handle the issue of battery power. One, for example, was the TappLock. It's a very good-looking product that uses fingerprints to open, and you can store fingerprints of 100 people in one model, and up to 500 in another. There are warning lights on the lock and power stats on the app, but if for whatever reason you're not as attentive as you should be, it will need a power boost from a charger to be able to work. When I asked what happens if one doesn't have a portable charger handy, the reply I got back was, "Oh, everybody has a portable charger." Sorry, much as readers here know I absolutely love portable chargers, "Everybody" doesn't carry one. Hey, I don't always. And so I explained to the rep. "Well, okay, but most people do," she replied. I'm not even sure if that's true, but the point was -- what happens to those people who don't?" The answer is they're out of luck. I asked if one could set the app to send a reminder to you when the power drops to any self-set figure -- perhaps 20% battery left -- but she said no, the app won't do that. I'd like creating an app that did do that might be a really good idea, far better than thinking "everybody" has a portable charger.
And that's it for now. More tomorrow. We march on...
1/9/2020 07:24:15 am
Did you see Ivanka's speech? Any thoughts on it or sense of the reaction of the audience? I gather it was largely a campaign speech, extolling her father's many "accomplishments". That seems inappropriate for the occasion.
1/13/2020 08:25:13 am
I did not go. I did however speak to a friend who did (he didn't want to but because of his specific job he said he was pretty much obligated to go). He said her speech was basically (with a shrug) "fiiiiiine" though banal with general platitudes about all the things tech needs to do in the future, which are the normal things tech has been building on for the past 5-10 years. He said there was only time she made a comment about all her father's accomplishments which didn't go over especially well.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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