By Brian T. Horowitz, Editor and Contributing Writer
Each year CES brings the latest and greatest products in tech, and the 2016 show was no exception. In Las Vegas we saw everything from drones to gesture recognition apps to smart helmets that save motorcyclists after an accident.
Like last year, making a list of the coolest products at CES was no easy task, but here’s a sampling of what we saw:
Iottie’s Easy One Touch Wireless: This charging pad for your smartphone in the car allows you to wirelessly charge devices that support the Qi standard. It also features a One Touch Lock & Release feature to easily remove a mounted smartphone from the dashboard.
Fonebud: This Bluetooth smartphone accessory caught our attention because of its amazing battery life. It provides endless talk time with a 5,000mAh battery, which is far beyond the average smartphone’s battery capacity. Fonebud Essential Plus provides a power bank and a backup Bluetooth version of your phone. A 10-meter radius range detector provides a warning if your phone is out of its Bluetooth zone.
Ossia Cota. Speaking of battery life, Ossia’s new Cota wireless self-charging battery was impressive because the AA battery never dies. The Cota platform consists of a tabletop transmitter and charger that sends power to a IoT receiver on a mobile phone. While within range of the transmitter, a smartphone receives its power boost automatically.
Owlet: This device can save infants’ lives by monitoring their oxygen levels and heart rates. It uses pulse oximetry to detect if a baby stops breathing. A red signal on the device indicates that a baby’s heart rate or oxygen is out of normal range, notifying the parent immediately via smartphone. It works over Bluetooth, alerting a parent of changes even when they aren’t connected to WiFi.
Skyworth’s 8K UHD TV: Television manufacturers are looking ahead of 4K TVs to 8K, which has a clearer, more vivid picture. Skyworth, a company based in China, showed off its 8K UHD TV, which has 16 times the resolution of 1080p. We’ll start to see these televisions in our living rooms between 2018 and 2020, according to TechRadar.
Mota JetJat Nano: The Unmanned Systems area of CES was bigger than ever, and a company called Mota has introduced a drone the size of a large paper clip. The company is calling the JetJat Nano the “world’s smallest and lightest drone.” An aircraft in the palm of your hands, the JetJat Nano can travel up to 75 feet and features a 2.4GHz wireless signal and 4-channel controller.
eyeSight: Similar to the Leap Motion virtual and augmented reality controller, this product adds gestural controls to your TV, entertainment systems and smart devices. It turns your finger into a remote control, and one gesture could turn on several devices at once.
Sony PS-HX500 turntable. With vinyl on its way back, Sony has unveiled its PS-HX500 turntable, which brings high-resolution audio to the classic record format. The PS-HX500 connects to a PC through USB to allow a record to be captured with Direct-Stream Digital 5.6MHz native conversion.
Sony Glass sound speaker: Sony also showcased its Glass sound speaker that looks like a candle holder or perhaps a large champagne glass. It funnels sound through a tube-shaped organic glass and works when a user plugs a lightbulb into it.
Perceptive Devices’ Smyle: Perceptive Device’s Smyle technology is a prototype platform for the disabled and for gaming. The camera on a tablet uses facial recognition so that a person’s smile can control the cursor on the screen. We tested it out and were able to easily control the mouse with subtle smiles. When you move your head, it controls the cursor. Two smiles enable two double clicks. The technology is compatible with Samsung Gearvirtual reality smart glasses. Although gesture recognition has been used before, this is a wonderful tool for someone who’s paraplegic.
SmartyPans: We were impressed by the idea of a pan that can help us watch our calories and provide nutritional information. The sensors measure the weight and temperature of food to help people keep track of micronutrients. It launches on Indiegogo for $169 on Jan. 18.
Fusar Mohawk: This smart helmet attachment connects to any standard helmet and can save the life of a motorcyclist who’s in critical condition from a crash. It uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone app. The platform also includes an action camera, activity tracker, communication device, navigation unit, music player, black box and emergency alert system. If the person is unconscious, the helmet can buy first responders time to get to that remote dirt path to save the motorcyclist. The technology can similarly help a skier following a crash.
NeWave’s Smart Shelf: This RFID Smart Shelf System was among the Consumer Technology Association’s Innovation Award winners and saves retailers the work of putting scanning RFID tags on each product. Instead an antenna on each shelf communicates with an RFID reader to send information to retail workers on the status of inventory so they know when to replenish their stock.