Tag Archives: CES 2016

KATIA is a robotic arm that can scan, 3D print, laser cut and even decorate a cake

KATIA brings the functionality of an industrial robotic arm to mainstream consumers. 

Will robots replace humans? This is a question we have speculated for decades, and the World Economic Forum released a report this week predicting the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in 2020. While the thought of robots taking over can be daunting, one San Francisco-based startup offers a positive near future where robots can work with us.


Meet KATIA — short for “Kick Ass Trainable Intelligent Arm” — the brainchild, or shall we say brain arm, of Carbon Robotics. Behind this great name is an even greater product. KATIA is a robotic arm that is modular, open source and can be manually trained for those not fluent in code, making it incredibly versatile and easy to use. Co-founders Rosanna Myers and Dan Corkum sought to create a robotics platform designed for the consumer market. Ordinary people can make use of KATIA, no programming skills or roboticist required.

KATIA is hackable, modular and customizable for each use and environment. It was built on an open platform so users can access its API via tools like Arduino and Python. Add-on attachments can be swapped on and off the robotic device, allowing KATIA to be more than a just an arm that can grab and move objects. It can be transformed into a 3D scanner, 3D printer, laser cutter, and even a cake decorator.


KATIA can be taught new movements if you simply guide the arm as it will replicate the desired motion, or you can draw a path for it to follow in the accompanying app. So if you wanted to decorate a cake, for example, KATIA can squeeze the icing in the design of your choosing.

The Carbon Robotics team recently presented at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield finals back at CES 2016, where Myers said in the presentation, “The problem is that [robotic arms] are expensive. They’re difficult to use, and quite frankly not that safe. And that’s where we come in.”

KATIA can carry up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and moves with sub-millimeter precision. This powerful robotic arm also ensures safety. Enclosed in its carbon fiber frame are sensors that can detect humans and things that come within close range.

Marketed as having the capabilities of an industrial robot at the price of a laptop, KATIA will be selling for $1,999 starting this March. To stay up-to-date, be sure to check out the Carbon Robotics website here.

This carry-on bag follows you wherever you go

NUA Robotics’ new suitcase features a camera sensor that can detect where you are, and travel alongside you while on flat surfaces.

Good news frequent travelers, you may soon be able to navigate the airport with a piece of robotic luggage. This, of course, will allow you to free your hands to make calls, respond to emails, grab a quick bite to eat or whatever else you do during a layover. Not to mention, this can certainly come in handy for those in wheelchairs or on crutches.


Designed by NUA Robotics, the autonomous suitcase (whose prototype was on display back at CES 2016) is equipped with powered wheels, a camera sensor to avoid bumping into others and Bluetooth technology, which enables it to move alongside its user once activated by its accompanying mobile app.

A built-in rechargeable battery lasts anywhere between 60 to 90 minutes, which is plenty for rushing around the airport or heading to your car in the parking garage. But what happens when it dies? Despair not! Simply pop out the handle and pull it yourself, as if it were any ordinary ‘dumb’ bag. Or, if you have time to refuel, just plug it into an outlet. The suitcase can even be used to juice up any of your mobile devices via USB, and boasts an anti-theft alarm to prevent any envious onlookers from stealing it.

At the moment, the robotic luggage can achieve speeds of up to 3 mph, but that may be enhanced in the coming months. While it is not commercially available yet, you can see it in action below!


Atmel adds force sensing to capacitive touch

Atmel’s new force sensing technology gives users more control through the pressure of their touch.

During CES 2016, Atmel showcased its next-generation force sensing technology in the latest maXTouch U series for smartphones. This new technology boasts 3D interactions for more intuitive control. Meaning, it enables a user to preview, zoom, play game, text and much more, simply by applying pressure to the screen with the touch of a finger.

Atmel’s force sensing technology can detect how much pressure a user applies to the screen and respond accordingly. For instance, a user can apply variable force to the glass on the touchscreen to activate various commands with their finger: slight pressure can be applied to the screen to select a gaming app and more pressure can be applied to start the game.

FITGuard is an impact-indicating mouthguard

This mouthguard can detect the severity of a hit and alert coaches when a player might have a concussion.

Whether you’re on the football or baseball side of the argument, sports in general is America’s favorite pastime. The sad truth, however, is that there are 3.8 million sports-related concussions per year. From quarterbacks to catchers, athletes across the spectrum face the risk of traumatic head injuries in every game. Some athletes continue playing injured without them or their coaches realizing how critical the impact is, which is why Force Impact Technologies is creating smart sporting equipment to detect injuries and preventing further damage to the brain.


The Los Angeles-based company’s first product, FITGuard, is a smart mouthguard that detects the severity of an impact to the head. It visually indicates how intense the impact was, using embedded LEDs. Force Impact strives to improve the quality of athletes’ lives by integrating technology and sports.

When in use, FITGuard continuously samples rates of acceleration, and when the peak rate breaches a threshold, the LEDs will change colors. A green light indicates a low-impact blow, blue means there is a moderate risk of injury and red signifies severe impact, alerting coaches and referees to immediately remove the player from the field. FITGuard is Bluetooth-compatible and can communicate with any BLE-enabled smartphone. The accompanying mobile application provides parents, coaches, and leagues with insight into an athlete’s injury and previous impact history. FITGuard’s app considers the user’s weight, gender, and age to measure the impact of a blow, giving quantifiable data to make informed decisions.

Force Impact Technologies is taking the next step in curtailing chronic concussions that threaten the lives of athletes with FITGuard. Preorders of the device are available for $129 and first units are expected to ship by April 2016. To learn more about the product, visit the Force Impact Technologies website here.

Droppler measures water consumption by listening to how much noise your faucet makes

Nascent Objects is a modular electronics platform that lets you piece together new devices like LEGO. 

The historic drought impacting much of the west coast has led government officials to impose several water restrictions in recent months. Cognizant of this, Nascent Objects has teamed with Shock Top and design firm Ammunition to develop a new, modular water conservation device dubbed Droppler.


Debuted at CES and now live on Indiegogo, the monitor employs advanced audio recognition technology to track water consumption in real-time. Housed inside its sleek, 3D-printed white shell (also referred to as a ‘Nascent Shape’) are a mini CPU, an LED strip and a microphone capable of detecting the sound of flowing water. And unlike most existing solutions on the market today, Droppler doesn’t need to be attached to the plumbing.


Instead, simply place it next to a sink, toilet, shower or whatever else, and a light display on the front will slowly decrease as the water runs, offering quick and easy visual feedback. Beyond that, Droppler uploads that data to its accompanying iOS or Android app, which allows users to set goals, view report cards and even receive insights to curb their H2O habits.


But that’s not all. Being modular in nature, users can effortlessly transform and customize their own gadget by breaking down Droppler’s electronics and plugging them into a different chassis. Just remove the processor from its existing Shape, recombine it with a separate camera or speaker module, and pack both bits into another shell to create either connected home security system (called CouCou) or a wireless music streamer (named Red).

By the end of 2016, Nascent Objects hopes to have six devices in total, all using the same few swappable components. And that’s only the start. Looking ahead, the team’s product roadmap encapsulates the vision of an unlimited, cost-efficient marketplace for the most imaginative consumer electronics, which includes everything from a palm-sized drone to a bike computer to an IFTTT hub.


Does this have you saying “H2O my gosh?” Then head over to its Indiegogo campaign, where the Nascent Objects crew is currently seeking $70,000. Delivery for the Droppler is expected to get underway in June 2016.

Atmel launches ultra-low-power platform for IoT and wearable devices

This platform integrates the ultra-low-power SAM L21 with a BTLC1000 SoC and a software ecosystem into a small, flexible form factor.

Just in time for CES 2016, Atmel unveiled a complete, ultra-low-power connected platform for cost-optimized IoT and wearable applications. This new platform features the world’s lowest power ARM Cortex-M0+, the Atmel | SMART SAM L21, and award-winning BTLC1000 Bluetooth Smart SoC, making it the perfect solution for battery-operated devices requiring activity and environment monitoring.


Key components for the low-power connected platform — the Atmel | SMART SAM L21 MCU and the BTLC1000 — achieve industry-leading standards. The SAM L21 boasts a staggering ULPBench score of 185, the highest recorded score for any Cortex-M0+ while running the EEMBC ULPBench, the industry marker for low power, with a power consumption down to 35µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode. Atmel’s Bluetooth Smart solution is 25% smaller than the closest competing solution packaged in a 2.2mm x 2.1mm Wafer Level Chipscale Package, enabling designers to build ultra-small industrial designs for next-generation connected IoT and wearable applications.

Atmel’s low-power platform is a design-ready unit showcasing the company’s broad portfolio of ultra-low-power smart, secure and connected products, and partner technologies. Embodied in a 30mm x 40mm form factor, the platform integrates the Atmel | SMART ultra-low power MCU, Bluetooth Smart low-energy connectivity, capacitive touch interface, security solution, complete software platform, real-time operating system (RTOS), a BHI160 6-axis SmartHub motion sensor and a BME280 environmental sensor from Bosch Sensortec. The platform can be powered by a simple coin cell utilizing extremely low power consumption, and manufacturers can also leverage Atmel’s extensive list of sensor partners.

To simplify the design process, the platform is compatible with Atmel’s flagship Studio 7 IDE, along with Atmel START, the world’s first intuitive web-based tool for software configuration and code generation.

“As a leading provider of ultra-low power IoT solutions, we know that out-of-the-box, easy to implement reference platforms are a necessity to help accelerate the adoption of wearable applications, and enable a rapid time-to-market for new product ideas,” says Andreas Eieland, Atmel Director of Product Marketing for the Microcontroller Business Unit. “Atmel’s new reference platform allows our customers to develop differentiated solutions for cost-optimized, yet competitive, markets including healthcare, fitness, wellness and much more. We continue to help drive the IoT and wearable market with simple, ultra-low power platforms with complete hardware and software solutions.”

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