As our week in Vegas comes to a close, we’re recapping some of the most talked-about products and trends from the show floor.
Ah, CES. A week full of keynotes, productive meetings, surprising celebrity sightings, and of course, a number of incredible innovations from startups, Makers and mainstream corporations alike. Last week proved to be no different, as a record-setting crowd witnessed everything from driverless cars and humanoid robots, to 3D-printed foods and Jetsons-esque home appliances, to self-watering plants and drones.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 2015’s show was the largest in CES history with more than 170,000 attendees in Las Vegas, compared to approximately 160,000 just a year ago — 45,000 of whom were from outside the United States. In addition to visitors, there were about 3,600 exhibitors throughout the show floor demonstrating products in a number of categories, such as automotive electronics, healthcare solutions, connected devices, gaming and more.
While the event remains the place-to-be to experience the latest TV and audio products from companies like Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic, more importantly, it is where the rapdily-growing Internet of Things seemed to infiltrate nearly every facet of our lives — from the kitchen to the road. Evident by the sheer volume of booths found throughout Eureka Park, countless crowdfunded projects and smaller businesses captured the eyes of CES-goers — ranging from wearables and 3D printers to modular DIY kits and smart home devices.
As expected, 2015 was surely the year of connected living. Google’s Nest launched a new range of partnerships to support appliances throughout the home, Whirlpool unveiled its Smart Top Load Washer/Dryer and Kitchen of the Future 2.0 concept (features a backsplash and cooktop that connects a user to social networks, websites and recipes), LG debuted a dual-load washing machine (allows two different loads to be washed at once while the user monitors its status via smartphone), Samsung revealed a robotic vacuum cleaner, while Parrot introduced a self-watering plant pot (senses moisture levels, fertilizer, sunlight and temperature, then regulates the watering process). Two other areas in and around the home that got plenty of attention were lighting and security, ranging from bulbs that deter burglars to easy-to-use, low-cost DIY systems.
While Back to the Future flying cars may have yet come to fruition, driverless cars and connected vehicles are certainly entering the fast lane in 2015. Mercedes released what the company calls a “forerunner of a mobility revolution,” a contemporary plug-in hybrid car that utilizes sensors and 3D cameras to steer without human assistance. In addition to the German autonomous automobile, Audi exhibited a self-driving car, BMW demoed a smartwatch-controlled vehicle, VW highlighted one capable of parking itself, while Ford showed off its latest smartphone-like interface. Elsewhere, Atmel unveiled its AvantCar 2.0 center console concept. Tomorrow’s drivers are demanding a more modern HMI experience, especially in the center display, with no mechanical buttons or clunky knobs. The futuristic AvantCar 2.0 was packed with active touchscreens, curved form factors, personalized color schemes and navigation menus via touch buttons and sliders in a cutting-edge sleek design.
Safe to say, there wasn’t a shortage of robots at this year’s CES either. It seemed like quadcopter drones were everywhere, spanning from LVCC’s South Hall to Tech West. There was everything from those that could track and follow an individual to some that were taking selfies to new heights. Furthermore, standard non-flying robots weren’t left out of the CES party either, particularly those like Ozobot and LocoRobo, which were designed to inspire STEM-based disciplines and to teach kids how to code. Then, there were those with real world applications, such the robotic personal chef Cooki. Similar to those seen at Maker Faire events across the world, exoskeletons were also a featured attraction throughout the week, most impressively, ones equipped to carry heavy loads and enable paralyzed individuals to walk again. Last but not least, Toshiba stole the show with their ChihiraAico humanoid robot that could introduce herself in English, gesture like an actual person and more.
From sensor-laden clothing to connected collars for pets, wearable technology was definitely one of, if not the most, apparent trends at the show. Emiota exhibited a smart belt that could adjust its size based on a wearer’s food consumption, Misfit unveiled a new fitness tracker in collaboration with Swarovski to enhance its aesthetic appeal, Garmin debuted a lineup of Vivoactive, Fenix 3 and Epix watches, and Withings introduced a minimalist-faced Activité Pop, while other major brands (i.e. Guess) set out to usher in a new wave of fashionable devices to adorn our bodies. Meanwhile, Sensoria showcased smart socks that could track and analyze runs, Cambridge Consultants released a smart shirt that monitors vital statistics, and Rainbow Winters’ new dress possessed the ability to change colors based on peoples’ moods. Other players in the field such as TempTraq and VivaLnk revealed a new set of wearable technology for the baby market, with thermometer-like connected patches, while Zensorium’s Being watch was designed to monitor and analyze wearers’ stress levels.
While 3D printing may not have been at the center of all the buzz this CES like it had in 2014, it did demonstrate the optimistic future for the next-gen technology. Indeed, a number of exciting and innovative creations could be found throughout the halls, ranging from 3D-printed musical instruments to dresses. It was also made clear that filament was moving beyond just plastic, with new materials like metal, wood, stone and even chocolate set to become the norm. Among the other notable news at the show was XYZprinting’s latest food printer and MakerBot’s Composite PLA filaments.
2015 will be remembered as the year VR matured into a serious consumer category. HP introduced a 23-inch VR-enabled display, Samsung exhibited its own goggles, Virtuix demoed the first-of-its-kind gaming treadmill, Razer announced Open Source VR, while as predicted, heavyweight Oculus had a rather impressive presence at the show.