It’s the conference every tech enthusiast had been waiting for. Up to 3,600 exhibitors participated in CES 2016, which ran in Las Vegas from January 6–9, displaying thousands of products that are set to revolutionize the way consumers live, work and play.
Four of the most prominent trends that emerged from the four-day consumer tech showcase include autonomous cars, advanced smart home systems, accessories and wearables. Below are a few of our picks from the show.
Carmakers have taken CES 2016 by storm, announcing several groundbreaking tech developments as well as new partnerships. Microsoft partnered with Volvo to bring new vehicle function controls to its fitness wearable, the Band 2. Using voice control, the smartband’s app hooks onto Volvo’s On Call mobile app to remotely control actions in the Volvo XC90, from locking the car, starting the engine and activating the heater to setting the navigation.
Ford also unveiled a new tool that they boast will make its driverless cars the most advanced in the world. The LiDAR, a small light and radar sensor, is developed by Silicon Valley-based company, Velodyne, Inc. The device enables driverless vehicles to map out its surrounding in 3D and real-time.
CES 2016 also showed more smart home products that are less niche and increasingly practical. The Hydrao eco-sensitive smart shower records water usage on a mobile app, and will light up when the user is using too much water. LG also unveiled a number of products, including the HOM-BOT robot vacuum cleaner, the LG Styler, a household clothing care machine that de-wrinkles and sanitises clothing, as well as a refrigerator with a foot sensor that automatically opens when users are close.
Accessories also make up a big part of CES this year, and there has never been so many products aimed at providing better sleep. Sleepion, developed by Cheero, a California-based company, is a product aimed at improving the environment of sleep through the combination of sound, light and smell. The macaroni-shaped device promotes sleep through natural sounds, simulated moonlight and essential oils and seeks to bring the user into stage 4 non-REM sleep, or deep sleep, for optimal rest. While the product is available in Japan, Cheero is currently seeking to fund the project through Kickstarter to bring the Sleepion to the United States.
SleepPhones is another product to aid sleeping. With a catchy slogan ‘pyjamas for your ears’, SleepPhones were developed by a family doctor to provide safe and comfortable audio-assisted relaxation without having to resort to bulky headphones or uncomfortable earbuds. Designed by AcousticSheep, LLC, the soft headband is fitted with thin speakers that fit snugly over the years, and works with most mp3 players and audio devices.
Apart from sleep accessories, virtual reality add-ons are also receiving their share of attention. One of the most exciting virtual reality innovations is the 3DRudder “VR Edition”, a foot-based VR motion controller that is used while seated. The user can move in VR or 3D environments while seated for hours on end, and the company boasts that the user-friendly device can be learned in 15 seconds. Compatible with all VR headsets connected to a PC, the 3DRudder “VR Edition” works with all FPS games and will start shipping in March.
Wearable technology continues to be popular at CES. Expanding its repertoire this year, Fitbit has launched its first smartwatch, the Fitbit Blaze to a lukewarm reception remains. Misfit also revealed new products, such as the Misfit Ray, which incorporates a new sleek design to its activity trackers.
Omron revealed a blood pressure monitoring device that looks like a smartwatch, The new device, named Project Zero, can take measurements without the need to see a doctor, and is FDA-approved, although the company is still awaiting regulatory clearance.