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The annual Consumer Electronics Show
(CES) in Las Vegas just finished up on January 10th so we
thought we’d call out some of the products and trends that we hope are fun and
interesting to nonprofit techies. It was by most accounts a good show with lots
of weird stuff on display.
To be sure, with 3,200
exhibitors spread across two
million square feet and 150,000 visitors looking at all the new tablets, laptops, smartphones, apps, ultra HD TVs,
connected cars; and more exotic things like drones, robots, sensors, Internet
of Things gadgets, 3D printers, and wearables, this year’s event yielded some interesting NPTech news.
among many others announced that this was the year that wearables took CES by
storm. With an abundance of lower cost sensors available to manufacturers, the
event featured computing devices to be worn on the wrist, your head, your
waist, your feet, in your clothes, and as jewelry. Many of the new gizmos were
smart watches, but I won’t bore you with a listing of new models of those. Many
of the new wearables are biometric tools that dominate the emerging field of fitness wearables.
The Interaxon Headband is a brain-wave detector that sends real time information on your brain activity to your phone, supposedly so you can improve concentration and composure..
Sensoria makes a smart fitness bra
that allows wearers to track their heart rate. The bra works in combination
with Polar or Garmin heart monitors. They make a similar smart t-shirt for men.
Though Microsoft didn’t exhibit at this year’s CES, they’ve also developed a
smart bra that is designed to help control the wearer's appetite and prevent
emotional over-eating by monitoring heart and skin activity and making the info
available on your Windows phone.
smart socks generate
heat maps of how a runner’s foot strikes the ground
and sends the info to a phone app. It identifies any problems with a runner’s
JUNE “jewel” is a UV sensor that can be worn as a brooch or bracelet and
transmits info to your phone when you’re getting too much sun. There is
low power Bluetooth smart jewelry on the horizon that connects to
Number x12 bed is an $8,000 smart bed that tracks your sleep activity and allows you change the
firmness and elevation of the bed with voice commands. The thing monitors your
body's movement throughout the night and can apparently modify its firmness to correct
for a bad night. It also stops snoring by adjusting the bed to open your
airways without waking you up.
In the same vein, Withings introduced Aura,
a smart sleep system that you put under your
mattress. The device detects movements, sleep stages, heart rate and breathing rate
and then sends the data to a smartphone app. Fortunately you can turn it off if
you don’t want your activities in your bed monitored. NPR
did an amusing story on this biometric device. It got a CES 2014
The Lumo Lift is a small gadget that vibrates to remind you to
stand up straighter. It detects your body's positioning and when you start to
slouch it vibrates. Lumo expects to officially
launch the Lift in late spring and it expects the device will cost $59-$79.
internet-connected electric toothbrush by
Kolibree tracks how long and how well your teeth are brushed. Now when your
dentist asks how often you brush, you can prove it.
Juniper Research predicts that the
smart wearable-device market will reach $19 billion by 2018. Nearly all of these new biometric gadgets transmit your very personal health
information to an app where you can view their findings on a smartphone. The
question remains how private this very personal information is.
security, the DoorBot is a
Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell that lets you see and talk to the visitors standing
outside your house from an iOS or Android smartphone. When someone rings the
bell, it initiates what is basically a video call on your phone so you can
answer your door anywhere in world. The thing costs $200. The startup Goji also
introduced a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable door lock with a camera.
is a gadget that brings the Internet of
Things into our everyday life. It has little sensors called ‘Motion
Cookies’ that you can put in a money drawer, a medicine chest, your fridge, and
a jewelry box – anywhere you suspect bad acting. The Wall Street
Journal cites the manufacturer that the goal for Mother is to help
users track their eating, fitness, hygiene, and security. Mother will cost $222
for a base unit and four Cookies, and is expected to start shipping next month.
Speaking of the Internet of Things, LG introduced Internet capable
refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines that respond to voice and text
messages. They use a smartphone app called HomeChat. Forget Facebook. It’s time
to start meaningful dialogs with your appliances.
3D Systems is offering the ChefJet 3D
Printer. I guess this thing is a high-tech cookie cutter. It ‘prints’ food in
3D geometrical shapes.
LG, Sony, and
Samsung introduced new curved and bendable flat-panel TVs that are supposed to
make moving images more lifelike, enveloping to a viewer's field of vision. The
reviews on those I’ve read so far are not great. The TV technology most likely
to make your current TV obsolete are new ultra high definition ‘4K’ TVs. Several
low-cost mass-market 4K TVs debuted at CES 2014, including huge ones. Rest
assured that 5K TVs are not far behind. Toshiba already exhibited one at the
There were also
consumer grade drones at CES this year. One of the most interesting ones is the
Pocket Drone. It is described in Kickstarter
as the world's
first personal multicopter. It can carry a GoPro
video camera (an astonishing device in its own right) in to the sky for up
to 20 minutes and folds up smaller than a seven-inch tablet. You can run the
thing from a tablet computer. The Pocket Drone is expected to cost under $500
and be available for whatever aerial surveillance needs you might have in June.
It was a finalist at the TechCrunch
Hardware Battlefield 2014.
I think my
favorite weird security gadget, though, is the smartphone stun gun. It’s
actually an iPhone case by Yellow
Jacket. The thing both recharges your phone and can tazer an attacker with
650,000 volts. It comes in several colors and the stun gun pack is detachable
for quieter moments when you’re not under attack. It will be available starting
in February for $149.
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Images 1 and 2 :NVIDIA; Image 3: Zennie Abraham; Image 4: Samsung