CES 2014 saw a record breaking 3,000+ exhibitors that took up over 2 million square feet of exhibit space in Las Vegas last week. As expected, the technology this year was faster, more affordable, and simply better than its 2013 predecessors – pretty typical for the fast-paced tech world, really. There were, however, a few technologies that simply stood out from the rest.
Here are the three industries that caught our eye at CES.
- Robotics: An electronic trade show wouldn’t be complete without the latest technological advances in robotics. While household-cleaning robots such as the Roomba are making headway with the commercial market, a more serious side to home robotics came about at CES. One product on display, the Paro robotic baby harp seal, aims to reduce the stress of elderly patients and their caretakers. Its inspiration is to help the aging population in countries such as Japan, where there is a shortage of caregivers to the elderly. “The furry bot has five sensors – tactile, light, audio, temperature, and posture – which it uses to perceive people and its environment. It makes calming sounds when held and stroked, but it’s far more sophisticated than a stuffed animal. Paro appears somewhat lifelike and learns to behave in ways that please you. For instance, if you pet Paro every time you touch it, the robot will learn to repeat the actions that earned your affection.”
- Fitness Wearables: Health monitoring bracelets such as Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, and Jawbone’s UP are the popular choices of fitness conscious consumers who choose to track and measure their exercise output and caloric intake. CES 2014 saw some improvement within this segment. “Most trackers on the market have a motion sensor, whereas we have a heart rate sensor, we have a motion sensor, and we can track perspiration and skin temperature,” says Tejash Unadkat of BASIS Science. LG’s Lifeband Touch also added features such as messaging notifications for incoming calls and texts. It also links with headphones that monitor your heart rate through your ears.
- Smart Homes: This year’s show highlighted improvements in the smart appliance or “smart homes” sector. Privacy and control were the two major improvements this year. Smart locks showed some innovation in this field: one of the popular brands is lock-maker Kwikset, whose Kevo system incorporates regular metal keys, automobile-style key fobs and smartphone control. Encrypted eKeys added security measures for homeowners who are concerned about hackers getting into the system. Other appliances that can be controlled through smartphones include thermostats, home video security systems, and wireless speakers.
It’s always interesting to see the new innovations and technologies every year at CES. It provides us a glimpse of the future, both near and far. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, where we cover the rest of our favorites from this year’s CES.
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