CES is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years - the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), it attracts the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers.
This week, CES 2016 is bigger, better and... did you see shrimp? Because I did.
Not all of the technology being shown off at CES is designed to give consumers convenient and faster access to the latest forms of information and entertainment. Some of it is created with the idea of making certain tasks just a little bit easier.
That's the thought behind Somabar, a fully robotic bartender that can create and mix a beverage without so much as the unscrewing of a cap. The app-controlled drink mixer uses six different pods to blend together over 300 different cocktails, or the user can program their own creation into the app. Following feedback from its Kickstarter campaign, Somabar also comes with a full water-flushing system for automatic cleaning.
Inspired by CEO Dylan Purcell-Lowe's travels to Japan, where he witnessed prepackaged rum and Cokes being served from a machine, Somabar is set to be released in July and will retail at $449. The robotic bartender can be purchased at http://www.somabarkickstarter.com.
Fitness and healthy eating are on the mind of many people around the globe, with technology a major player in helping those to reach personal goals. Spun utensils are just the latest tool aiming to assist consumers in tracking what they are putting into their bodies.
Spun utensils are designed to take calorie-counting apps to the next level. After taking a picture and identifying the food on your plate, the smart utensil tracks calories and nutrients with each bite rather than just calculating the whole meal. This means you can cut your portion short should you reach your calorie limit before the plate is cleared. The app also allows for things such as monitoring seconds between bites and you can even select profiles that will offer tailored recommendations towards reaching your personal goals.
For an expected retail of $74.99, a Spun starter pack will come with the intelligence handle along with two different spoon size plug-ins as well as a fork attachment. A stylish carrying case is also included with the product. Founder Umar Bakhsh said the utensils will launch in beta form in March of this year with a hopeful release in June.
As consumers continue to absorb content and entertainment in a variety of different ways, Skreens is aiming to bring all those options together on one screen.
Funded through a successful Kickstarter program, Skreens allows its users to connect multiple devices through HDMI inputs and put them all on one screen simultaneously with total control over the layout. This allows users a variety of options, such as playing a console video game while watching the news and streaming a sporting event all at the same time. Advanced versions of the hardware allow for streaming and have a built in audio mixer, while Skreens also makes use of a flexible hardware platform that enables the device to be updated on the fly.
With the ability to offer a variety of streaming options to one location, Skreens is looking to become the central hub to the new, smart interactive homes. The device has both a Plus2 and Plus4 model, with each also being offered in a Pro version. No final price has been set for the devices and founder and CEO Marc Todd aims to have them available for retail by the second half of 2016.
AMPY MOVE has found a unique way to help find the energy to keep your smart phone powered throughout the day: your body.
AMPY MOVE is a motion charger that captures kinetic energy from your motion and transforms it into battery power. Co-founder Alex Smith said at CES that one hour of exercise could supply up to five hours of extra smart phone standby battery life. The form-fitting device features an 1800mAH Li-Ion battery and can also be charged from a wall outlet. A second USB port allows the user to charge their smart device from the portable charger.
The product is already available for purchase at getampy.com and retails for $99.
Everybody could use a little help maintaining their car and that is a role that Drust's Akolyt is looking to fill.
The Akolyt is a device that plugs directly into a car's dashboard and provides real-time information and support to one's smart phone via a free app. The device assists in several areas of maintaining a vehicle, from feedback on how you drive the car to upcoming maintenance alerts. That includes such things as wear on tires, breaks and oil. The Akolyt can also help to get a driver assistance should a breakdown or accident occur and CEO Michael Fernandez said at CES that the device provides performance tips that could lead to up to 20-to-30 percent in gas savings.
Of course, in an increasingly social world, users can also measure their performance against other drivers and accrue points to level up and earn badges.
The Akolyt has started to become available in Europe and Fernandez said the company has an eye towards a release in the United States at a later time.
3D Sound Labs is looking to combine state-of-the-art 3D audio sound with the comfort and style of the other name-brand headphones on the market.
The company showed off its 3D Sound One headphones at CES as it tries to reproduce real-life audio into a personal and portable home theater. The headphones combine surround-sound quality with 9 axis motion sensors that lock the audio into position -- centered sound stays centered regardless of movement. 3D Sound Labs is hoping this provides the ultimate real-life audio experience to media ranging from movies to gaming to virtual reality. The headphones are bluetooth smart and charge through a USB port.
3D Sound One headphones are available for purchase at their website and retail for $299.
Amid the bright lights of Las Vegas, SunPort offers a way for consumers to be much more energy conscience with how they use their devices.
SunPort is a tiny box that plugs into your outlet and measures the amount of energy that goes through it. That information is then tracked and matched with solar energy purchased from solar farms by usage. This allows for the application of solar energy without the need for installing panels or having sufficient land. SunPort director of information systems Nick Williams compared the method to depositing money into a bank and then withdrawing it from an ATM.
The device is portable, of course, meaning it can be used in any outlet so you can use your solar energy on the go. It can be preordered now and is expected to cost $80 per year for both the plug-in and the energy.
The evolving smart household has reached the stove-top with the introduction of SmartyPans. The app-enhanced cookware offers both nutritional information as well as assists users in the cooking of their food.
SmartyPans uses built-in temperature and weight sensors to help compute nutrition as you cook. Use the app to tell the pan the ingredient you are adding to efficiently track information about your meal in real time. Users can either add ingredients on the fly or pull recipes from the app, which also can assist you in properly preparing the food. The pan is dishwasher safe and detaches to also serve as a serving dish.
Co-founder and CEO Prachi Baxi said at CES that the product should be available for mass retail by the end of the year and is expected to be priced at $289. More information can be found on the company's website.
If you live in a place like Florida, it is not unusual to get caught in a rain storm you had no idea was coming. In this case, your only options are always carry an umbrella for those random storms or risk getting wet in the middle of the day.
Oombrella is here to make those situations a thing of the past. Using embedded circuitry, this umbrella can detect atmospheric changes and recommend that you bring the umbrella with you to prevent these issues. To enhance this feature, the device communicates with Wezzoo's existing weather service, adding additional data points to the prediction.
If you've ever left your umbrella behind, Oombrella will alert you when it loses connection to your smartphone. Then you can return to the restaurant or wherever you were, to get your umbrella back.
A Kickstarter will begin soon with expected general availability in the fall of 2016.
When you're installing solar water heaters and it's time for lunch, you start getting ideas about how you can cook. GoSun Stove was created originally using the solar pipes installed on roofs and can cook a meal without anything other than the sun. The popularity for campers has created a problem, though: how do you feed a family?
This year the company has introduced a larger model which can cook 4 meals and even includes the ability to cook off of stored electricity, either wall or solar-based, for cooking at night. The new GoSun Grill is available for pre-order now for $599 with summer 2016 availability.
While traveling, one of the most interesting things you can do is hire a tour guide. Guides know a lot about their areas and can introduce you to areas of a city or venues you might not have known about on your own. You can even get to see non-tourist parts of the area.
Unfortunately, finding one of those tour guides can be difficult because they can only be in one place at a time. With Latitude, tour guides can create virtual tours, allowing them to be in more than one place at a time. Tourists can even create their own tours by combining individual venues from different guides into a single trip.
Latitude is currently curating tours and will be launching soon for iOS and Android.
Do you have a pair of earbuds that you really like the sound of, but wish they had active noise cancelation as well? Oasis is the product that allows you to use your earbuds into over-the-ear headphones with active noise cancelation.
The headphones themselves allow you to run your existing earbuds through the body, plug into the body and turn into Bluetooth headphones. The lighting in the ear cups can indicate whether or not noise cancelation is turned on and whether or not the headphones are on.
The case provides charging capability for both the headphones and external devices, such as a phone, and is sturdy enough to ship the product in directly. It even includes an E Ink display that can be customized with logo, name, etc.
The Oasis will be launching on Kickstarter soon.
Each year, we love to see the new advancements with wireless Qi technology, and this year did not disappoint. Our resident college student, Daniele, was on the hunt for new cell phone accessories and enjoyed speaking with Andrew from iOtte.
Of particular interest was their iON phone case which brings wireless charging capabilities to the iPhone 6 and 6s. Its sturdy design includes easy access to the headphone jack and data port while allowing wireless charging on any Qi enabled surface. Another new product is their innovative charging desk pad that simultaneously charges a power bank that can be taken along with you on the go, to charge any of your devices.
One of our favorite products this year is a new car mount that offers one touch lock and release technology for easy and convenient wireless charging in the car. This combines their already popular window mount with the ease of wireless charging.
Prices begin at $49.95 for the iON phone case and $69.95 for the Easy One Touch Qi Standard Car Mount Charger. Look for the new deck pad to be available in Spring 2016.
Cool new tech is always fun, but when it marries two of your favorite things... it's love at first sighte. That's exactly what this new robot did for our very own Daniele Mendez. In the last 4-5 years, she has spent countless hours on both the tennis courts as well as working alongside her robotics team, so she absolutely could not resist this product.
Tennibot is a smart robotic tennis ball collector that scoots around the tennis court, picking up all of your practice tennis balls. Not only does it take the grunt work out of picking up the balls by hand so you have more time to practice, but it also looks cool in the process. With the price point starting at $399 for the personal version and up to $1,699 for the larger club version, they are looking forward to being able to ship by the end of 2016.
Are you tired of constantly untangling your headphones after getting them out of their case, possibly breaking them in the process? The Helix Cuff is made for you.
The Helix Cuff is the first wearable bracelet that can easily transform into Bluetooth earbuds on the go without the usual tangled mess. Put it back in its original form for convenient storage and a fashionable bracelet. No need to lose your headphones in your bag or purse any longer. As a Bluetooth device, it can connect to two separate devices at one time.
The product will ship in March so go order yours now. The Black and White Helix Cuff is selling for $199. If you are more into a flashier red version, the 24 Gold Plated Edition is selling for $299.
Life Proof is starting off strong this year with their FRE POWER battery case made for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. This case provides a waterproof and drop-proof design with a new extended built-in battery pack. The case is waterproof under 6.6 feet submerged and can last up to an hour. It is also drop proof for up to 6.6 feet.
The new extended battery feature offers a quick and simple design. To charge your phone, simply flip it over and press a button for double the battery capacity. This is the first time ever for Life Proof to be selling a battery extending case for plus sized phones.
Life Proof is also selling their new active-wear called LifeActiv. LifeActiv is made for all phones as long as you apply the quick mount adapter on the back of your case. This adapter works with Life Proof's arm band, bike mount and suction cup car mount and allows easy access to your phone or device at all times. Just snap on your device to attach and to remove it, turn your device 90 degrees.
LifeActiv products are available now. The retail value for the accessories range between $40 and $50. You could also find the new regular sized phone case for $129.99. The Plus sized version is expected to come out at the end of the quarter for $149.99.
If you are anything like me, you've got lots of battery-powered devices that you use every day: phones, headphones, tablets, keyboards and more. This scenario creates two big problems, though: too many cords plugged into outlets everywhere and devices al over your desk. That is where ChargeHub comes in, helping to solve both of these problems.
The product is theoretically simple: a single place to charge all of your devices. The promise, however, comes from the implementation. A very small device with a lot of power and even more ports allows you to plug the single device into the wall and charge multiple devices. The original puck, available now in multiple colors, charges 7 devices at once, but that is not for everyone.
This year, the company is announcing two smaller versions which charge 3 and 5 devices instead of the 7. These new devices allow for a variety of price points, with $20 for the 3 port, $40 for the 5 port and $60 for the existing 7 port. The new devices should be available in March 2016 directly from the company as well as physical and online retail.
We've all encountered the plug-and-play classic videogame consoles in the mall or electronics stores. They usually show up around the holidays and bring classic games from Atari, Nintendo and more to a new generation, not to mention those who grew up with these games, by plugging directly into your television and having all of the games internal.
This year, dreamGEAR, who has made these types of devices for years, is bringing the concept to the mobile world. Instead of requiring a television to play, these new consoles resemble previous handheld devices or even miniature arcade cabinets, and are capable of playing hundreds of games on the go.
Some of these consoles are available now with more to come in the near future.
Outside of brands like Lumia, one of the things that is most bland about modern technology is the black, white and silver conformity of devices of all types. Matias Brecher founded Toast as a way to allow people to add some natural look to their electronics.
Starting with mobile phones, the company created real wood wraps in 4 different finishes. Since launch they added some laptops and tablets to heir lineup. This year, though, they are getting into the living room with wood wraps for your Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for only $29.99. You can even customize your wrapping with your logo, gamertag and more.
The proliferation of virtual reality and augmented reality devices is great, but there is not nearly enough content available to make it worth considering for most. The reason standard Internet video on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo has become so popular is because there is a lot of content, and it can be created by anyone.
360fly has created a camera that allows people to record fully-immersive video as easily as you currently record standard video. Slightly larger than a GoPro, this camera can record full 360 degrees horizontally and 240 degrees vertically. This means that your skateboarding, snowboarding or other videos can be seen with a VR headset as if you were there.
Adding even more to the platform, the company has announced a partnership that will bring the camera, in a slightly different body, to helmets to prevent the added bump that can get caught. The normal camera is available now exclusively at Best Buy for $399.
In today's headphone market, it is getting harder and harder to differentiate yourself. There are really 2 ways to do it: price and features. Altec Lansing, in their 2016 lineup, have decided to go both ways.
First, they have introduced a line of colorful Bluetooth headphones that come in at an astoundingly low price: $39.99. The company didn't skimp on the quality to accomplish this price, either. These headphones will be great for people looking for inexpensive headphones.
On the other hand, they have introduced some headphones and earbuds with some really cool features. For example, waterproof individual earbuds that contain GPS so if you lose one or both, you can easily track it down to its last known location.
Additionally, there is the DVR DJ headphone. These headphones contain an HD camera which allows you to record point-of-view video right from your headphones. This is great for DJs, skateboarders and more. These are coming soon for $199.
Everyone loves to bring their music on the go and Altec Lansing's latest take on its Boomjacket model is combining a great look with a ton of options.
The standard Boomjacket has a fabric finish in a variety of colors and features multi-point paring so users can put together their own surround sound setup. Consumers can mount the device if they choose, an option that comes right out of the box, and it offers 50 hours of battery life while also having the ability to charge another device. However, the Boomjacket is versatile as well and can be used in almost any type of setting seeing as it is largely element proof and also floats, making it truly water proof.
The Boomjacket retails at $199, but Altec Lansing also will offer a mini version that prices at $99 and has 16 hours of battery life. Those needing a little more than the standard can grab the Sonic Boomjacket for $300. That model has 60 hours of battery life with a 100 foot wireless range. All three options are expected to be available in the second quarter of the year.
In 2016 it may seem strange to be reading about turntables, but the interest in vinyl has been growing in popularity the past few years. With that trend, it's good to be a company like Crosley who has specialized in turntables since they were founded.
The company has been known for their self-contained turntable systems, occasionally featured in movies, but as the industry reemerges, there is demand from customers for a traditional component-style turntable. This year, they are showing off several, including one prototype for a future model.
The C10 belt-driven table is available for $399, the C100 belt-driven table is available for $199, the C200 direct drive table is available for $279, and the C20 prototype is hoping for a 2017 release.
If there is one thing that Scott looks forward to, it's visiting the Wireless Power Consortium. Last year, he and co-host Daniele were so impressed with what they saw, they awarded them a TPN Pick for the 1 kilowatt transfer standard.
This year the company showed us some of the new technologies and features that are made possible because of the existing Qi standard. Included in these technologies are the customizations of a room, a desk, a car and more.
While these technologies are possible right now, they have a problem: they require a lot of power from your phone. By integrating those features with the Qi standard, the power problem is no longer existent, and instead these features become simple.
If there is one thing that Scott looks forward to, it's visiting the Wireless Power Consortium. Last year, he and co-host Daniele were so impressed with what they saw, they awarded them a TPN Pick for the 1 kilowatt transfer standard.
This year, we saw a version of the standard that sits between the models available today and the prototype we saw last year. With the new 15 watt charging pad, some new things are possible. For standard electronics, you can charge them faster than the current models. More importantly, though, it enables larger devices to charge, like tablets and possibly even netbooks and laptops in the future.
In addition, we saw one of the features Scott has so longed to see: longer throw distances. Using these new coils, you can place the charging pad further below the surface of a desk, table or counter without having to drill and sand perfect holes. The drawback is that the chargers are less efficient, but that could change with additional time.
The Internet of Things has created a fascinating collection of new connected devices. For most, though, smart lightbulbs are the first connected device they encounter. This is because the cost of ownership is far lower, and the installation far easier, than a thermostat or security system.
The problem with these bulbs is, to interact with most of their interesting features, you either need to have your phone or tablet out, or you need a voice control system. AwoX has a product that allows you to control your light without either of these devices - instead with a gesture controller.
This controller will be available this year from the company and their retail partners.
If you have ever lived through a hurricane in Florida, you know that there are 2 things that happen. People lock themselves in their homes with the prepared items, or flee the area entirely. But before that, they party. There is a lot of stuff that won't survive the possible power outage, so meats, cheeses and other perishables are consumed in quantity. These parties can also happen after the power goes out, while the weather is calm.
Eton, the company that made technology an integral part of emergency preparedness, has enhanced their products to make those times more enjoyable. For example, several of their radios now come equipped with Bluetooth, allowing you to play your own music instead of what little might be on the radio. They have also added large solar cells to power the radio, as well as the phone, in the absence of power. Of course, no Eton device is quite complete without the hand crank, so you can still keep powered even when the sun is gone.
Eton's extensive range of camping and emergency radios are available now.
Have you ever had a friend or significant other who complained that you didn't spend enough time with them? How about a friend you feel you spend too much time with? Most of us have been in these situations, and so were the creators of Concepter.
This little devices allows you to keep track of exactly how much time you spend around others who also have one of these devices. Now you and your significant other have actual evidence that you spend a lot of time together, or you have proof that you really do spend too much time with your friend.
You can get one of these devices soon for $29.
If you've ever been to CES, you know the pain of limited or no reception in one of the halls. That certainly makes it difficult to communicate with the rest of your team to keep your agendas synced. This is also a common issue at music festivals, camping and more.
goTenna is a product that allows you to communicate in a peer-to-peer method without the need for cellular connectivity. Simply carry a goTenna with you and let it communicate with other users of the device. You can do much of what you can do with a cellular connection, only limited to the broadcast radius of the goTenna and the other users.
goTenna is available now for $199 for a pair.
Connected devices are an interesting idea for kids. Many parents will give their kids a tablet or smartphone with educational games and videos, but there is a problem with that: these devices are designed for fully developed adults.
CogniToys is a new connected toy designed especially for growing kids. Powered by IBM Watson, this toy can listen for questions and commands and respond with answers, stories, jokes and more. Using Watson's machine learning, the toy is able to learn and grow along with the child. Most importantly, it is designed specifically to help the child learn, with vocabulary, math and more.
CogniToys are available for preorder for $119 right now.
Gibson Guitars is excited to release their new High Performance Series based out of Nashville, Tennessee with the most innovative electric guitar they have ever made. This series has generated a lot of excitement and interest at CES. New features from this series include a unique contoured neck heel called the Soloist Neck. The Soloist Neck allows players to hit the highest notes on the neck board comfortably. This series also includes a height adjustable titanium nut that gives the player access to adjust how high they want their strings.
Gibson has also updated their G Force self-tuning system with the ability for alternate tuning. The updated system is faster and more accurate than ever before. You could tune a guitar with just the press of a button and a strum of the strings. It is also the first time that Gibson has released a self-tuning acoustic guitar in the Progressive Series due to the feedback from acoustic players who also want to use the easy access G Force system. These acoustic guitars are hand crafted in Bozeman, Montana and are made of solid wood.
These guitars are available for purchase now at any local Gibson authorized dealer like Guitar Center, Sam Ash, or Amazon. The High Performance Series starts at $1099.99 or if you aren't interested in the self-tuning system, you could purchase an electric guitar from the Traditional series starting at $739.99. The Progressive Series acoustic guitars starts at $1499.99.
Philips is set on keeping their customers satisfied with new products this year. They are targeting different consumer needs from a durable active-wear to high quality fashion headphones.
Philips is making an active lifestyle easier and more convenient for customers by creating their new sports headphones, Wireless Freedom. This product is purely Bluetooth and gives the user a sense of running freely without feeling like they are wearing headphones at all. While being light weight, they are still extremely heavy duty and robust. Wireless Freedom has a long lasting battery life that lasts up to 4 and a half hours of playtime. Philips cares about the health and fitness of their customers and wants them to perform their best while working hard.
Philips is also targeting people who want to look glamourous while listening to their music and they can with the new Everlite Headphones. It says it right on the box, "Streamlined to shine, clear and crisp." They are quality sounding headphones, made with a convenient built in microphone. The Everlite comes in an attractive rose gold color while looking great and sitting comfortable. They are even compact and easy to put away.
If you are more into listening to music with no distractions, the Active Shield Pro is for you. Philips took noise cancellation by storm with a new and unique headset that eliminates 99% of background noise. The Active Shield Pro offers a no pollution, clean sound without having to crank up the volume to distract yourself from the outside world. You can enjoy them wireless or not with the ability to use the Bluetooth capability. Without a wire, the battery life can last up to 15 hours with Bluetooth and noise cancellation but also comes with a wire to plug into if the battery is too low so the music continues to play.
These products are already available for purchase at Philips.com with the Wireless Freedom on sale for $69.99, the Everlite for $49.99, and the Active Shield Pro for $169.99.
Let's face it, it's not always easy to take our little one's temperature, especially when they are sick. Trying to keep the thermometer in place for the specified amount of time with all of the squirming and fussiness can certainly be a trick.
Those worries are a thing of the past with Thermo. This smart thermometer not only makes taking their temperature as simple as hovering it over the child's forehead, it also sends the information directly to an app on your smartphone for easy tracking with a detailed chart that can also be sent straight to your doctor.
Of course Thermo is not only for kids. It's great for taking/tracking temperatures for adults as well and it's also perfect for that hopeful soon-to-be mother to track ovulation. And that's not all: Thermo can take the temperature of any object, such as food and water, as well as the ambient temperature in a room.
The phone app also keeps track of local hospitals and pharmacies, and in a pinch, can get you step by step directions via Google Maps. You'll also love the conversion rates, charts and alarm within the app.
Thermo is perfect for any household and will be available in the second quarter of 2016 on their website with an expected price of $59.
Daniele Mendez of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology
Whether you're just learning to play the guitar or you want to be able to record songs on the go, this is a product you won't be able to resist.
Jamstik is a portable, smart enabled digital guitar designed to teach you how to play, using an apps that provide interactive lessons. The built-in sensors track your finger movements with real time feedback to your tablet or computer. It's wireless technology makes learning the guitar portable and intuitive and features a real fret board and strings.
Not only is Jamstik the perfect guitar teacher, but it's great for seasoned players as well. Take it along with you anywhere to practice or record songs. It's lightweight, compact design makes it easily fit into any carry along bag so you always have it with you when inspiration strikes. Using a MIDI output, you can connect via USB, Bluetooth (+ model) and WiFi, the signal is put in the format of CORE-MIDI and is compatible with a variety of MIDI apps on iOS and PC devices.
The Jamstik is available now for $299. A variety of accessories are also available.
Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology
Even the most advanced handyman has plenty of other things to do than run wire after wire to complete an epic surround sound setup. Philips is presenting a solution to that problem with its upcoming Fidelio E6 wireless speakers.
Designed with the idea of a neat and tidy option for ultimate sound, the Fidelio E6 features the usual set of front speakers, but those also combine to create the center sound. On top of each is a detachable, wireless speaker that can be placed anywhere the user desires to complete the setup. They run on a wi-fi direct and charge while sitting on top of the front speakers, gaining full charge in two hours while supplying 10 hours of life.
And the unit isn't just for watching movies either. Philips added Google Cast and Spotify Connect and the rear units can also become independent to transform into portable speakers to enjoy music on. The Fidelio E6 is expected to be available by the summer and will retail for $799.
A wide variety of high quality and unique looking microphones were shown off by Neat at CES, with options for both the causal and professional users.
Neat product manager Clayton Harrison had a number of mics on display, including the Bumblebee and Beecaster. The high-end USB mics feature great quality without the need for additional equipment or interfaces. The former is more for the voice and speech user, while the Beecaster has added stereo capability for musicians. Both come with a headphone output and headphone amplifier that allows for the ability to do direct monitoring without having to deal with latency issues.
The Worker Bee and King Bee, meanwhile, are designed for professionals who already have a rig or interface, while the Widget takes the unique look to the next level. The flashy mics are made to be an additional visual piece to a setup, an ideal look for video streams such as Youtubers or Twitchers.
All the microphones are currently available, while Neat's Beehive, a digital audio convertor and headphone amplifier should be out by the end of the current quarter. More information can be found on the company website.
StereoLabs took advantage of the high-profile CES event to show off its ZED camera, a high-definition 3D camera for depth sensing.
Using synchronized left and right video streams, the camera outputs high resolution video on USB 3.0. The image is processed in real time using the ZED SDK and a an external host computer, with StereoLabs partnering with Nvidia for graphics processing units. This particular camera is meant for developers according to product manager Marc Beudet and is ideal in both indoor and outdoor settings. Beudet cited two of the main markets for the ZED being autonomous navigation and augmented reality.
The ZED camera can be purchased at stereolabs.com and retails for $449.
One booth that caught the eye of many observers here at the 2016 CES was Ztylus Innovation's multifunctional smartphone case.
The case offers full body protection with a removable disc in the back. Once removed, a number of function utility attachments can be added to enhance the use of your phone. Among those on display at CES included a vent clip kit that can serve as additional leverage for holding onto the phone, a kickstand to prop up the phone or to clip to the device for easy viewing. A revolver kit was also at the booth and contains a number of different and quickly-accessible camera lenses.
Adding the attachments is as simple as popping it into the disc port and rotating to secure. Some of the parts are already on the market, with more coming by the end of the year.
Keeping up with sleep wasn't an easy thing to do here at CES, until we found the Sleep Number booth and its new IT bed.
Coupled with Sleep Number's Sleep IQ technology and application, the IT bed has sensors built right into the mattress that track things like heart rate, breathing rate and movement. All that information is compiled and the user is given a sleep score while also being offered recommendations and insight on how your daily activities, tracked through your app profile, affect your sleep. The mattress also comes with active comfort technology, giving each sleep partner their own ideal sleep number.
Expected to launch in the Summer of 2016, the IT bed will retail for around $1000. Senior product manager Kelley Parker said at CES that the mattress can be ordered online, delivered and set up in about 15 minutes. More information can be found at sleepnumber.com.
One of the biggest questions asked during a majority of events at CES was "when can I get this product?" But at the Toyota booth, the automobile giant hyped up one of its products for the future.
On display was the FCV Plus, Toyota's concept vehicle designed around fuel cell technology. According to product specialist Maggie Clark, the idea for the car is that it will generate enough electricity to wirelessly charge an electric vehicle that is alongside of it, or it could be used to power up to 10 homes on a single block. The FCV is essentially a mobile and stable source of electric power and Clark added that the fuel cell stack can be removed and continued to be put to use even after the life of the vehicle has expired.
Of course, Clark said that this type of product isn't expected to be ready until 2030, but she did add that Toyota does currently have available (in California and Japan) the first fuel celled vehicle on the market in the Mirai. It retails for $57,500.
Denso International America set up shop at the 2016 CES with an eye towards tomorrow. The global automotive supplier was on hand to discuss a smarter city for the future built around connectivity among, for example, automobiles, infrastructure and people.
Denso's booth included displays for a smart city in which the company's core automotive technology would be applied to other industries. There also is a focus on a smarter automated vehicle and Denso had a virtual reality display set up that allowed those in attendance to experience a connected world with 360 degree awareness.
More information on Denso's vision can be found at its North American website.
When I was a college student, I often found commuting by train versus car much more enjoyable, offering opportunities for studying or a quick nap as opposed to traffic and trips to the gas station. While a nap probably isn't recommended, the idea of self-driving cars is certainly an interesting one and Nvidia shook the landscape of that area at CES.
Announced at the event was Nvidia's Drive PX2 platform, a supercomputer for self-driving automobiles. Senior manager of automotive integration Dave Anderson said at CES the platform has the power of 150 MacBook Pros. That allows for the integration of a number of different sensor types fused into information that can be calculated by the platform. That is overlaid with other information and map data to guide the vehicle.
Even more exciting is that this type of technology isn't too far off. Anderson noted that Nvidia has partnered with Volvo, which will equip 100 vehicles with Drive PX 2 for a trial in 2017.
If you have driven an automobile, chances are you have used some of QNX's technology without even realizing it. However at CES the BlackBerry subsidiary had some much more visible features on display.
Not only does QNX provide software found in nearly all automobiles, but the its presence within an actual vehicle is growing. That fact was front and center in Las Vegas with a sleek-looking demo vehicle that showed off numerous components. That included a fully-loaded reference platform with such features as couch to destination navigation. Through this application, a user can start the navigation on their phone and get directions to their vehicle, where the nav will then jump directly into the car. And looking to make touch screens even safer and easier to use, the reference platform had the ability to play and pause music anywhere on the screen and integrated gestures to control the audio as well.
The cluster system certainly looked straight out of the future despite already being available for preview. Utilizing an augmented reality HUD, a driver can see their destination glowing green or floating street markers right on a windshield display. That also included custom navigation display and more information can be found at QNX's website.
Panasonic had a number of high-quality products on display at CES in Las Vegas, ranging from mobile handhelds to a 12-inch semi-rugged tablet.
One product we got a good look at was the rugged Toughbook 20. The highly-durable device has a built-in keyboard along with a detachable tablet and also features an optional second battery, allowing for up to 20 hours of battery life. The FZ-Q1 Toughpad, meanwhile, is a 12-inch semi-rugged tablet with a little less durability, but that simplicity allows for a better price point.
Also on display was a unique-looking 4K Toughpad. This device is best served for those wishing to show off high-end display graphics thanks to a 20-inch LCD screen. Despite its large size, the Toughpad is very light and portable.
These devices are available now through retailers and more information on the products can be found on Panasonic's Business portal.
There is always the fear that one day machines will become so powerful and self-aware that they will take over mankind, which in turn will then need Arnold Schwarzenegger to emerge as a savior. That being said, there is nothing intimidating about the Segway Robot powered by Intel RealSense.
The personal robot assistant uses a RealSense camera for depth sensing and 3D mapping, allowing for self-navigation, object tracking and recognition. The user can both ride the device and turn it into the robot, which also utilizes some voice recognition commands as well as programmable robotic arms. It can also connect to smart hardware so you can monitor the feed.
Platform architect Han Heng Juen said at CES that the expected launch of the platform to makes and developers is set for the second half of this year.
We all know and love Lego blocks and building sets. But few of us realize that the Lego Education Division has been around for 35 years, interacting with educators, communities, and families across the world. They pride themselves upon opening up a new world for kids through discovery, open-ended problem solving, and creativity.
At CES 2016, Lego Education introduced WeDo 2.0, an elementary STEM and Science Solution that brings science to life through Lego Robotics. With WeDo 2.0, kids can build a number of different Lego models that explore a variety of science concepts from earth science to life science to physical science. They believe that age-appropriate technology is key to learning and development and that it's never too early to start. WeDo 2.0 has been developed for elementary-age students.
With WeDo, kids will learn the basics of coding and programming by working with motors and sensors as well as exploring science in general. The software interface is easy for both students and teachers with graphical and colorful icon based, drag and drop software that is used to interact with the Lego models to bring them to life. And this technology paves the way for the kids to move into more advanced robotics, such as Lego Mindstorms for middle school students and beyond.
And Lego Education makes it easy for teachers, mentors and parents to get involved and assist the kids throughout the process, even they you don't have a lot of tech experience or background. The interactive sets and lessons are great in the classroom, as they help with ingenuity and teamwork, and also perfect for extracurricular activities such as FIRST Lego League Jr.
Find out more at the Lego Education website, with sets starting at about $160 for the core set, which has capabilities for several different projects as well as software access.
Almost everyone, at one time or another, has searched for a new cell phone case and said, "I wish there was one that did this." Well now, there is! Nexpaq is the first smartphone case that allows users to customize and enhance their smartphone case with modular inserts that perform a variety of functions that make your phone convertible with super powers. From simple modules like an extra battery or a better speaker, to modules that are equipped with specific sensing abilities like temperature readings or even a blood-glucose meter. There's also a programmable hotkey to customize so you can easily access your favorite existing phone function.
Each module is like a building block, allowing them to be interchangeable. Get the ones you want and go crazy. You can have a different handset every day, customized to that day's activities. The modules are interchangeable between platforms and are even social, allowing you to bring up an interactive map to let you know of others in the area who also have modules that can be shared.
And let's not forget the Developer Kit. Nexpaq wants to help take their module concept to the limits of our imaginations by allowing everybody to develop their own ideas into modules. The sky is the limit and they fully expect there to be thousands of modules available in the next few years. What's better than that is they will actually help by assisting with the standardization and distribution of the feasible and cost effective ideas. Nexpaq has also created Hackathons to connect developers with engineers to get the creative juices flowing and help to bring these ideas to fruition.
Phone cases are available now and start at $99 with various prices for the modules ranging from $4.90 to $44.90. The Developer Kits are also available for $299.
Today's athlete isn't just a naturally gifted human specimen getting by on talent alone. Lets face it, Babe Ruth would look pretty out of place in today's locker rooms. Instead, the modern athlete is both gifted and engineered, learning how to squeeze every ounce of effort out of their body.
That is where technology like Vert steps in. The on-the-rise wearable offers real-time analytics that can be not only displayed to give fans an in-depth look at an athletes performance, but that data can also be managed to prevent injuries. Specializing in jump technology, founder and president Martin Matak said at CES that the device is adding intensity measurements and that data is already being used to enhance viewing experience by putting the information up on jumbotrons while also being incorporated into broadcasts. Vert already has some key partners in the NBA's Miami Heat and USA Volleyball.
The device retails at $125 and has a free companion app. It is wireless and bluetooth enhanced, and those interested for more information on the broadcast side of things can visit MyVert online.
Pioneer gave a glimpse of its automotive vision for the future at CES with an interactive demo of its In-Vehicle Contextual Awareness Cockpit.
Product specialist David Novack was on-hand to show off the idea's many features, which included a heads-up display for navigation, a main display with related information, a touch-pad on the steering wheel and a dashboard that hosted three different rear cameras. The rearview mirror, meanwhile, is equipped with a sensor, allowing it to adjust to the driver accordingly.
The demo took the driver through a handful of scenarios, including one where the car shoots a scent into the air to wake a driver who is detected to have a low heart rate. It also showed off lane detection as well as warnings for both a driver who had been cut off by another vehicle as well as one for a pedestrian crossing the street.
Participating in any sort of extreme sport or race is often a grueling task with the ultimate reward sometimes being the ability to simply finish the event. But other than maybe a few snapshots of the finish line, they can often be very hard to document. Unless, of course, you have the Panasonic A1 Adventure cam.
The A1, displayed at CES, is a super light, wearable HD camera, coming in at just 1.6 ounces and 3.3 inches. That leaves little burden on the wearer as they hit the slopes, the mud or the waves. With that in mind, the camera is water, shock, dust and freeze proof and has a built-in wi-fi connection for uploading the data. The device can record for up to an hour or at 2 hours and 45 minutes with an extended battery accessory.
The camera does include mounts and a night vision IR lens. It retails for $199 and is available now.
3D Printers are an exciting addition to the world of making, fabricating and engineering. From the small printers that introduce children to the world of design and ingenuity, to the large commercial printers that create aerospace solutions that were previously impossible, these machines have brought a sense of amazement to all who have encountered them.
As 3D printers are becoming more and more commonplace in the consumer market, Ultimaker is taking their models to the next level with some sweet upgrades. While still utilizing the open source strategy, Ultimaker has taken user feedback to improve upon their printers. The new Ultimaker 2 + and Ultimaker 2 Extended + hit the market today with the following new features:
"Ultimaker's mission is to provide the ultimate tools to empower professionals, educators and makers to discover, learn and create more efficiently by offering and supporting a full infrastructure of 3D printers, software and materials strengthened by integration with key industry partners such as Solidworks, Spark, the 3MF Consortium and leading global manufacturers of materials."
We are excited to see even more new innovations as they are released in 2016.read more...
It should be no surprise that BlackBerry is in trouble. The company has had longstanding financial trouble, starting when the smartphone industry changed out from under them. They were incapable of adapting to the changes in the market, as consumers began purchasing smartphones faster than enterprise customers, who wanted different hardware and features than BlackBerry were offering.
In the past 8 years they have tried a lot to recover, including their failed PlayBook tablet, their BlackBerry 10 operating system and a slue of new hardware. All of this has been powered by their QNX operating system platform, a company they purchased in 2010. While the platform has not been successful in either location, it has had a lot of success in vehicle entertainment systems, which was its original intent.
BlackBerry, as part of their recovery plans, will try to bring QNX to the Internet of Things. It would appear that the plan is to try to get ahead of a tech trend, instead of waiting for it to prove itself out before jumping in. They will have some swift competition, however, from the likes of Microsoft and Google, both of whom have large, trained development communities who will not need much, if any, additional training to be able to develop software, both internal and external, for IoT devices.
Not everyone makes their choices based on technology, though; it is possible that companies might pick a platform because of the name associated. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, they will also likely go to Microsoft or Google, since BlackBerry's name lost its value long ago. If they are going to be successful in this realm, they are going to have to show off A LOT of hardware partners at CES this year, with just as many reasons to choose them vs others.read more...