CES 2014

The Consumer Electronics Show 2014
CES is a mind blowing collection of everything from ordinary everyday things to incredibly awesome objects, but also from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Although many others will report on what the industries are putting forward to entice consumers, my approach is more from the consumer's perspective and looking for things that are valuable and improve the user experience. Also obviously looking for technologies, products, services or ecosystems that let the consumer drive change a bit (or radically!) by just intuitively seeing the value and changing the way they do things a bit. I am especially interested in bringing to the surface anything that has the potential to produce technology enabled, consumer driven change.
At CES this year I was specifically researching the emerging areas of Personal Mobility - APPcessories, Wearable Technology, Smart (AR) Glasses, mHealth/Fitness, Augmented Reality, Personal Cloud, 3D printing and the consumer mobility end of Infotainment and Transmedia propositions. So my mission was simply to find innovative stuff and update myself on the art of the possible in these sectors and possibly discover some new emerging market sectors of interest. I also attended two Press only evening events, Showstoppers and Pepcom (Digital Experiences) on the 6th and 7th. There are always a lot of Innovative companies showing at these!

ReSound has upped it's "Smart Hearing" capability with a further link back to your audiologist. GN Hearing’s ReSound LiNX 3D brings telehealth to audiology as the world’s first hearing aid with comprehensive remote fine-tuning capabilities. Had a great briefing on this at CES from ReSound’s Vice President Global Medical Affairs Dave Fabry.  But they are not stopping there.  ReSound LiNX 3D’s advanced Made for iPhone capability also enables users to easily and discreetly personalize settings through an app and stream audio such as phone calls, music, and turn-by-turn directions from their smartphone or Apple Watch to their hearing aids.But most interesting were the discussions about where ReSound is going in this area in terms of taking advantage of the platform to go many steps further to increase the awareness of the users to what is going on around them. And even to start using the ear as a very effective place to monitor various aspects of wellness.  The key is that a hearing aid wearer has them in 100% of the waking hours so all these potential features could make that person actually much more aware and alert than a person with a phone in their pocket or sometimes wearing music…
I have noted Bebop's sensing fabric for a few years now and knew that it would find it's way into some valuable applications spaces soon. Princpally being applied to wearables such as shoe insoles, sleeve control, etc. But it was this year's featured product that Caught My Eye - an interactive input glove for VR. The fabric specification was impressive, but it's the Touch and Haptics AI that make this a potential component for many applications.  So I was very pleased to see the BeBop Sensors Forte Wireless Data Glove system, a fully featured affordable data glove to incorporate haptics and super accurate, rapid sensing for gaming and AR/VR environments for a more realistic VR experience. The hand tracking system tracks fingers and fingertips with haptics, the Forte Glove is an ultra-comfortable one-size-fits-all glove, conducive to lengthy Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sessions due to its light weight and open airy design. Light and simple looking, it also can be worn inside a glove, for example. Sensing speed and accurately sensing finger movements are key features along with tactile feedback to the fingertips.   The glove provides Super Accurate Rapid Sensing with data rates at 150 frames per second. With lag time eliminated,…
KITSOUND VOICE - Smart, Voice command activated, great sound - all for £129.99 Last Gadget Standing finalistBlending the style of the past with the technology of the future, the Voice One’s component-like sophistication oozes rich sound with stunning clarity – making a statement anywhere you care to appreciate good music.Developed in collaboration with Amazon, combining the intelligence of Alexa with KitSound’s audio expertise, the Voice One features a stain-resistant Nano coated grill to protect against those little stains and splashes.With built-in multi-room technology, you can connect up to 8 Voice One speakers together wirelessly. Stream your favourite playlists or connect an external music source to one of the speakers and re-distribute the sound to other speakers via Wi-Fi, allowing you to enjoy your music in every room – regardless if it’s online or a vinyl.Immerse yourself in the deep, warm, hi-fi audio that’s been carefully hand-tuned to give you the smart speaker you’ve been waiting for.
Looxid Labs explores the user's mind and their unspoken emotions! Using human physiological signal sensors, their VR Headset monitors your eyes and brainwaves to determine your emotion, attention and interest while watching VR content. Two eye tracking cameras and six brain-wave sensors are built into the specialised VR headset. Theoretically allows the tracking of what the user themselves can't describe. Potentially valuable use cases! Similar to well established MyndPlay VR in the UK who have been doing this for a few years, but the MyndPlay brain sensors can be worn and user response analysed in conjunction with most existing VR headsets and the actual VR content can be triggered to change depending on user's emotion and reactions. A very interesting area, so carry on Looxid and Myndplay!
Nice to see combinations of existing technology and innovative development and integration exploited to create a highly valuable aid for the partially sighted.  Whether reading use-by dates on products, magazines and books or anything in between. Also recognising everyday things and people. The product was a finalist in the Last Gadget Standing event at CES (I was one of the judges) and the MC handed the presenter his stage script, and OrCam MyEye read it flawlessly! Very impressive! But OrCam MyEye is not just about reading. It also assists with Identifying products, money notes, colours and recognising faces and other everyday encounters that sighted people take for granted OrCam MyEye 2.0 is an advanced artificial vision device for people who have vision and reading disabilities. The breakthrough device instantly and discreetly communicates vital visual information: printed and digital text – from any surface, faces, products, colors, and money.The headset is designed with the needs of these users in mind. Many innovative technologies have been deployed in the design, this revolutionary wearable device is small, comfortable, and easy to use.The newly-designed OrCam MyEye 2.0 exemplifies a revolution in wearable artificial vision technology for people who are blind, visually impaired or have…
I am sometimes a skeptic about VR/AR gaming. Seems to be rather too techy and even often quite low resolution for my liking. And the storytelling and educational aspects often seem a bit lacking. But I would say that, being one who is always looking for the bigger story and valuable use cases rather than just for killing time.  The Lenovo STAR WARS:Jedi Challenges technology and Smartphone games Application is of a different breed. Very clever how they use the smartphone at 45º in the headset in a way that lets you see the room you are in (visual see-through, not video) and then lets you play Star Wars Chess or challenge the various Star Wars charactors to Light Sabre duels. But first, to qualify to fight, you need to learn how to use a light sabre! Light Sabre Training also done well, and fun. The light sabre itself is stunning to look at and hold and in your virtual vision and hearing pops out just like in the movie. Lots of virtual charactors and action in your living room or kitchen. Virtual Star Wars charactors and in fact everything in your line of sight is life-sized and lifelike and…
ORBI 360 Sometimes products appear just because they can - in other words the technology is there, but so often the appliications and valuable use cases are not. A sad sight for me to see as someone doing due diligence on consumer targetted products being developed for a (IMHO) non-viable market. Two bits of good news here - the technology exists to support the application, and I believe there is a real market for this. This is another one of the two "First Person Shooter" 360º cameras I saw at CES. Both claim to be the first and only! Very interesting and encouraging to see this new category of 360º photography emerge at this time.  This whole sector will depend on content, storytelling and distribution posibilities, but devices and apps like will this really turn things on. A very wearable design, a pair of glasses with four cameras on board and Smartphone App. For taking "selfless" situational selfies (without you in them). Great idea and I am excited, but another Crowdfunded/preorder product, not yet fully baked so I will let them make the claims!         ORBI specializes in developing innovative hardware and software that unlocks extraordinary new ways…
FITT360, one of the two "First Person Shooter" 360º cameras I saw at CES. Both claim to be the first and only!  Very interesting and encouraging to see this new category of 360º photography emerge at this time. This whole sector will depend on content, storytelling and distribution posibilities, but devices and apps like this really turn things on.  A very wearable design, around the neck so handsfree water/heatproof, with three cameras on board and fixing/steadying/stitching in the Smartphone App. For taking "selfless" situational selfies (without you in them).  Great idea and I am excited, but a Crowdfunded/preorder product, not yet fully baked so I will let them make the claims! (I have added a few points in brackets)      Connected to the Cloud, the FITT360 automatically saves all of your footage with a single tap on the mobile application.With shareable VR-Ready contents, your loved ones at home can enjoy your point of view in real time.Smart Camera – Connected System – VR ReadyFull HD 360° Recording – Up to 90 Minutes3 Full HD Cameras surrounding the (neck worn) FITT360 captures surroundings of each user in the True First Person View (FPV) with up to 90 minutes of recording time.Companion…
The Lumus display continues to look better each year and wins the prize for the best (currently available) display in my opinion, but yet to find its way into a finished and commercially available products. This display may be destined for consumer Smartglasses, but seems to be relegated to one eye industrial applications so far. Manufacturing cost seems to have been the the major problem to date. They showed me lenses with 40º and 55º FoV. and both were bright and vivid displays with quite good, clear see through as well.Perhaps the Quanta Computer investment and their manufacturing expertise will yield a viable component for lower cost smartglasses? Also the potential of link up with Apple looks interesting.  I will be monitoring progress...
Context is King! Lifefuels is a smart bottle that mixes drinks on the go - with nutrients and to your taste and situation. Personalidsed drinks designed to keep you at your best. Just add water, select your "fuel pods" and go!  Smartphone App, Hydration & Nutrient Tracking Syncs with Wearables. Why shouldn't we have great-tasting, personalized, tasty, nutritianally functional beverages to compliment our busy lifestyles? According to Jonathon Perrelli, CEO, the Lifefuels waterbottle delivers personalised drinks designed to keep you at your best. Their simple mission: to help people thrive and keep them on track by letting them make beverages on the go that are tailored to fit their day. 
MergeVR make some pretty amazing VR Goggles, but it was the Merge Cube that Caught My Eye. It is a Hologram you hold in your hand. A six-sided "virtual screen" for AR content which you can make yourself, or get on the Merge Cube Miniverse website.   The Merge Cube merges the physical and digital worlds using augmented reality technology and the powerful camera and sensors in your mobile device. According to MergeVR, t’s the first object of its kind, and it’s creating new ways for people to interact with technology. Now you can hold a galaxy in the palm of your hand, examine fossils and ancient artifacts like a real archaeologist, watch as a volcano erupts before your eyes, and play games in ways never possible before! The sky is virtually the limit!
Saw one of these last year at CES, but it was a huge expensive machine and although folding clothes is a tedious household task, I couldn't picture this as a household item then.  This Foldimate unit looks a lot more viable now, but In our house we all share the task of folding clothes, so altghough this caught my eye, I'm not sure...  The size of this machine is about twice that of a clothes dryer and also twice the price. Is this a viable addition to the utility room? Also not sure... The application of robotics to menial tasks is good and one year to go from non-viable (IMHO) technology to possibly an applience some people would buy is encouraging.  I don't know what else to say about this, so I will list some of what they had to say about it:   "FoldiMate will fold any type of shirt, blouse, or pants from age 5 to adult size XXL. It will also fold standard size towels and pillowcases. Estimated Price: $980 First Shipments: Late 2019.""Imagine, getting your laundry folding done in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee!""Ergonomic designed and fast folding technology allows you to feed…
Pleased to see a very large and action packed Humaneyes booth at CES very much dedicated to AR/VR/3D360º capture and distribution. As with other application sectors, with their prosumer priced camera commercially available, it is now all about relevant content, applications and widespread access to content.  
Was very happy to see the latest Humaneyes VUZE 3D360º camera on show, of course as I covered it in a CES2016 WCME Entry when they also were finalists and then won the Last Gadget Standing award that year. But this year Humaneyes made some big announcements - firstly, an Underwater housing and software needed for their 3D360º camera. This is a mean feat given the difficulties getting full sphere and 3D stitching working underwater. They also announced the selection by the National Geographic Channel of the VUZE camera to capture 3D360º footage inside the International Space Station. European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli will use a Vuze VR camera to document life on the ISS for a VR companion to National Geographic's upcoming series "One Strange Rock." In addition, Humaneyes are also developing a hosting facility (“Humaneyes Zone”) for 3D360º content so VUZE user's content and projects can be stored and made available to others. The Humaneyes…
A good example of a "connected sensor" becoming a complete and very portable capability when used with a Smartphone App. Third Eye wireless thermal attachment is a smart solution for thermal capability on the go. Paired with Smartphone or Smartglasses, Third Eye delivers lightweight, hands-free thermal imaging - creating a multitude of use cases and putting them into the hands of anyone. The Signal Sensor can also be clipped to normal glasses to capture a first-person point of view on the Smartphone. At CES2018 I met with Ivan Arbouzov, President of RoundConcept, makers of the Signal Thermal Sensing device and “Third Eye” App (iOS and Android)  Third Eye turns smart glasses and mobile devices into advanced thermal vision systems for real time viewing and analysis or to capture a thermal video or still picture. Even capable of Live-video streaming.The precise remote temperature measurements and scanning are ideal for many applications such as in the medical, industrial, environmental sectors plus night vision applications for professional and amateur uses such as hunting and for search and rescue. Accuracy plus small size and simplicity of operation make this an enabler for many applications where thermal sensing would be valuable, but previously impractical or simply not available.
Vuzix stole the show with Best in Show AR Glasses at CES this year - the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses. Also declared so by all the major technology news publications and networks. A full spec, non-tethered pair of glasses which will be targetted for the industrial/enterprise space due to the rich portfolio of applications that will already run on the Blade Smart Glasses (and initial price). They are also real evidence that proper consumer grade (style, price and function) AR glasses are just around the corner. Consumer applications writers, start your engines! These are certainly a potential prosumer “item” now with improvements in price and styling surely coming soon I suspect. Vuzix also upgraded their well established M100 smart glasses now used by in many industrial applications, and showed a better, brighter M300 model complete with a suite of out-of-the-Box applications for industry. Ready to turn on and deploy - as easy as Click - Connect - Collaborate. These two products will now move us rapidly from the Smartglasses technology emphasis of the past to the real world applications and valuable use cases.
Went to BETT yesterday in London (Europe’s largest Technology in Education exhibition). Past years have been all about interactive whiteboards, then large touch screens (basically blackboard replacements and teaching aids) This year was much more about “Interactive Learning” and student involvement. BETT2018 was all about Robots and learning how to code and having fun doing it. And being introduced into classrooms at and early age. I am 100% behind this and at CES2018 (Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) saw some really good examples of this too (for example ROOT). I have captured only some of the “Learning Coding through fun with Robots” examples here, but not sure how a teacher or an educational curriculum decision maker, can chose from these. Lots of early stage stuff. This will no doubt mature a bit and become more focussed by next year. Four other significant findings that also caught my eye at BETT:1. If you follow the wearable technology, IoT, IoMe, IoCar, IoHome and AI areas as I do, you will have noticed the innovation in the Smartphone + Sensor’s area. Saw some interesting education tools in this area from Vernier and IDS Education (their distributor in the UK) at BETT2018. “Go…
This is what caught my eye about Krusell Phone Cases.   The percentage of consumers that like Tech that looks like Tech is becoming marginalised. Apple led the way to “function with fashion” (even sex appeal), so why would you put your IPhone into something that hides the beauty behind pure tech looking function? Want to shake the techie image of your current Smartphone? Put it in a leather Krusell Case! The Swedes are known for their unmistakably passion for great design and genuine craftsmanship, but never at the cost of function or smartness. The case I tried out was a lovey leather notepad looking Case that protects, props up and has a place for credit cards. Even has a secret pocket where I put emergency cash. Starting to wonder if I really need to carry a wallet anymore... Oh, by the way, I didn't realise it until I talked to Ulf Sandberg, the Krusell CEO, that you can talk on this phone with the cover closed! Fabulous! I was opening the front flap to talk on the phone and then it just awkwardly hangs there. Love this Krusell case!
Last Gadget Standing finalist    Modius from Neurovalens - a few short, relaxing sessions a day apparently does the trick! More and more, consumer wearables are making meaningful improvements to people’s well-being. Helping people achieve leaner, healthier bodies improves quality of life and could radically reduce healthcare costs and even save lives. So this one got my attention! This product - Modius, is a non-invasive headset which, through vestibular nerve stimulation claims to do just that. The device was designed to “activate the epicenter in the brain - the hypothalamus - that causes people to struggle with their weight”. Neurovalens, a neuroscience technology company headed up by Dr. Jason McKeown, launched the product last year after a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and secured orders on a global scale. Results from users in 80 countries are now pouring in: they claim 80% of users have experienced significant weight loss from using the device and 1 ton of collective weight has been shed!This one caught my eye and is one to watch in my opinion. I will be watching :-)
More can be less! We have evolved from once functional but basic kitchen appliances to more complex ones (many more features, same knobs, thick manuals!) so unfortunately, we tend to stick to the basics and leave the manuals in the drawer. Fact is though that it is usually possible in one sentance or less to describe what we want our kitchen or utility room appliances to do. My stated Mantra: "The role of complex technology is to create simplicity." There is now more evidence that technology is coming to the rescue in this area too to making it possible to easily take advantage of all the new appliance features at our disposal. So one thing that caught my eye and interest at CES2018 was Whirlpool's Smart Home appliances that now have Smartphone and voice command control to break through the usability barrier. A very informed discussion with Whirlpool's corporate brand Manager, Poncho Eddie filled me in on the transformation that Whirlpool has made in this regard. Amazon Alexa, Google Home (and Apple Siri coming soon). In the utility room for example Voice Control lets consumers simply ask to pause and to start the washer and dryer; tell the dryer to run certain cycles…
I am always seeking what I call “technology enabled, consumer driven change”. There is growing evidence that health conscious consumers will instigate much of the rapid change in healthcare, rather than organically in the healthcare industry itself. This is effectively where  personal emphasis on wellness and preventative healthcare will emerge rather than from the reactive nature of your relationship with your healthcare provider. So here is one more personal item that could change the dynamics of heart health not just in terms of monitoring vitals, but also in building a very valuable contextual database of clinical data specific to the wearer! Normal Looking, and according to Omron, “Clinically Validated & Accurate”  The HEARTGUIDE Wrist Watch works with a smartphone App and has a long list of vital sign monitoring sensors, but now Omron adds one measurement that has been missing from wrist wearables to date - a Blood Pressure Monitor. It syncs with the Omron app to track and share vital data about your heart health and keeps track of physical activity and sleep as well.Currently undergoing FDA testing, available later this year for about the same price as an Apple Watch.But the real bonus for me came from a discussion…
My Mantra: "The role of complex technology is to create simplicity." Mission accomplished! The Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer from Apption Labs creates great results, but now that I have set one up and used it, it delivers great results as well. The slick device plus Smartphone application couldn’t have been easier to use. This small skewer-like device produces perfectly cooked meat every time, to your specification on BBQ, oven or grill.Dual sensors monitor internal meat temperature plus ambient temperature inside oven as well.Simple to setup and simple to use. Connect the thermometer to your phone via Bluetooth. Also works with AppleTV, Kindle Fire and Alexa skill.Enjoy drinks with your guests, your phone will alert you when your meat is ready!Smart app on iPhone and Android suggests timing for all types of meat and walks you through every step of the cooking process.   I have one, use it and couldn’t be more pleased with it. And my non-technical gourmet cooking wife loves it too!
Saw a really useful measuring device and Smartphone App which lets you spend less time thinking and more time creating your home improvements projects and in decorating your house. Met with Plott Founder and CEO David Xing at CES who demonstrated how the tool allows you to design “virtually” so you can change your design easily without marking up your walls. The Plott brings your design to life by guiding you to points like a GPS so you can then make the change or addition in the real world without any need for measurements or use of math. This reduces the time spent on DIY projects (and risk of error). Plott takes the real world into the virtual world using AR where you can edit and perfect your idea before bringing it back into the real world. Use Plott to import objects and arrange it the way you want it. Then shows you the hanging points for perfectly level and eye-pleasing finished projects.And you can then share your projects with the Plott community and also import and use projects from others or download from a product brand.
In the process of judging the entries for the Last Gadget Standing event at CES 2018 we found some real gems. The Root Coding Robot was one of them.  Root is an easy-to-use coding robot that has a custom smartphone app and 50+ sensors on board to turn fun into skills for kids. Turning young people's creativity and imagination into real world actions for the Root Robot to follow, also turns actions into coding that can be saved for later use or added to. This innovation produces an opportunity to learn new logic, problem-solving and coding skills using creativity energy. Coders of any age or skill level can use Root as their creative tool in defying gravity and climbing walls (magnetic white board), or moving about on smooth surfaces to draw artwork, play music, respond to touch and color, or use many of its other unique qualities. Starting out simple, the accompanying app features three levels of coding interfaces designed to grow with the user as their skills and knowledge improve. This includes simple sequences, patterns and loops, working up to advanced programming languages like Python, JavaScript and Swift. The world needs more code saavy warriors! This is one Root to…
Wide Field of View is all important fo AR Smartglasses to be valuable to consumers. Nice to see this approach progressing both in technical and user testing areas.The world needs a human friendly digital interface without any trade offs.
Today’s digital life is mostly uncomfortable, unhealthy and reclusive, alienating people from what truly matters: the real world. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the next digital frontier, but strapping a clunky box to your head isn’t a pleasant way to access the future. AR and VR should be wearable and not just bearable. So it appears that a truly uncompromising wide F0V eyewear solution may be becoming possible: Innovega's emacula Potentially affordable, lightweight and discreet vision enhancement system that lets you enjoy a full field of view while you engage with all your favorite digital content. emacula retina technologies have potential to merge your virtual and real world seamlessly. This approach could finally enable normal looking smart glasses in the consumer sector.   Short video describing Innovega’s Innovative approach to achieving wide Field of View AR This is one to watch! www.innovega-inc.com    
Keeping an eye on things around the home so that you can be somewhere else. And being able to watch, listen and talk back is being more important now to our "virtually There" lifestyles. A very nice and versatile device to keep an eye on your home, inside and out, regardless of the conditions. Unfazed by tough weather, Canary Flex is designed to withstand rain, snow, heat, or cold. Canary Flex keeps a record or let’s you Watch Live what’s happening inside and outside of your home, whether it’s catching a burglar approaching your front door, seeing special moments of your children, or witnessing your pet getting into mischief. Alerts, real time video, and two way conversation with whoever is at your door, or anywhere around the house, inside or out. Easy to deploy and connect. Also an optional casing for use away from home with long battery life and connectivity via cellular. Great for keeping an eye on your boat, vacation home, etc. Reported by: Juan Picazo, EANA Marketing
Panono is a throwable panoramic ball camera which captures everything in every direction for amazing 108 megapixel, 360° X 360° full-spherical panoramic images. It has an unprecedented 36 cameras that trigger simultaneously in the air to deliver images that capture every detail in every direction with a super-high resolution of 108 megapixels. 11cm in diameter and weighs 480 grams and connects over WiFi with iOS and Andriod Apps.The Panono Camera is available for preorder. 
There was a well produced and very entertaining fashion show at CES this year focused on wearable technology. Many things caught my eye, but the emphasis was much more on fashion than than utility and consumer technology for my liking. Of course all the clothing that sparkled and garments with screens built in so that they could be whatever they wanted to be fit the occasion very well and was entertaining.  Next year I would like to see business and lifestyle enhancing technology blending in or invisibly being worn on the catwalk with descriptions of super powers and augmentations that happen without it being glaringly obvious. And where were all the Smart Glasses? Well, I just don't think Smart Glasses are ready for the catwalk yet. Maybe next year? This is the year of industrial and professional applications for these. Small enough to wear, but still a bit too big to wear out.
Well what about watches?I didn't have time to see all the watches! They are all trying to jam too much Tech into a package that looks ugly and is too big. Not to mention the problem of battery life. it took 15 years to see enough utility in the mobile phone to learn that it should be religiously charged every night.  Watch batteries last  four or five years. How can people get their hands around charging a watch every three to six days. when I see so much technology and features jam packed into something called a watch, it gives me nightmares of the past working with tech companies just putting in everything because they could. And they didn't exactly know what people would find useful, so didn't want to take chances! Seeing big companies like Qualcomm in the game though, and producing software platforms rather than science projects tells me that this is going to start coming good this year.  I have been wearing a Pebble watch for about three months and found it large, difficult to keep charged and buggy (e.g. Notifications seem to go in and out of operation). But lately now that there are third party…
As I said lots of devices - over a hundred that can be considered to be called products and almost all are step counters of some description (accelerometers). The focus on lifestyle, fitness and medical is important to note as these are the areas which have potential to have real value to consumers.
So everyone reported on Wearables as the feature of CES 2014, but I just couldn't believe how little variety there was in the functionality and also noted how ugly they all were! this picture is of the showcase of an Asian manufacturer who manufactures a large number of the step counters and Smart Watches for brands that I saw and tried on their booths too. How many companies can survive, all marketing a single sensor device? Especially since Fitbit and Nike seem to have captured 2/3 of the sales so far. i was personally wearing four different step countersa CES and all of them were telling me that the eight miles a day I was averaging cruising the exhibition halls was making me healthy. Not taking into account other factors like what my body was actually telling me, not to mention what I was eating and drinking. The user experience, ease of use, and interpretation of what it all means is still lacking for the average consumer to get interested IMHO. So I am not going to list and review a lot of wearable devices. But a few did stand out as being innovative and better equipped to serve mankind…
CES did great job of laying out specific "Tech Zone" sectors for all the companies innovating with technology in emerging areas of consumer lifestyle to be grouped together so one could visit and see many products and products all together. This helped me with discovery of many types of eye-opening tech, but also showed how crowded some product categories were as well as helping to find gaps in what is available, or that the pieces are in place but for example, the ecosystem or end user value propositions are not.
Those who feel a bit self conscious wearing a GoPro on their helmet or hat, especially when on the street, might be interested in glasses that have somewhat concealed cameras on board. These have been in the Spy Tech category in the past. But given that a high percentage of the demos by the Google folks of Glass and some of the emerging applications for Smart Glasses (such as real estate agents creating a house tour) seem to be mostly about video capture, it was interesting to see so many camera glasses at CES. Most of these have simple button controls and autonomously store quite a lot of video or still images to be downloaded via USB or SD card. Of note in this category of Smart Glasses are these four shown - Epiphany, XOEye, Orcam and Liquid Image plus one company who I couldn't find at CES, but reviewed recently - Nemesis (product SunnyCam). Each one has features that differentiate (e.g. Liquid Image for SCUBA divers!) but are fundamentally concealed cameras that you wear on your face.
Very encouraging advances on show at CES 2014 from three further candidate Smart Glasses display technologies.   GlassUp – Projection on coated lens, currently Monochrome   Optinvent – Another approach to see-through lenses that has lots of promise.   Innovega iOptik – Uses special contact lenses to produce very wide FoV see-through experience and potential to address some near eye focus challenges.   As with Lumus, these are display technologies with potential, but not full featured applications development platforms like Google Glass, Vuzix M100 and Epson BT200.
LUMUS has been working on core display technology for some time now and year on year, seems to produce better, brighter displays and this year at CES didn’t disappoint. The display is rich in colour yet lens is reasonably see through. LUMUS is producing the lens technology and as far as I could tell, not yet a full packaged product with OS, SDK, sensors, applications, etc. They state that a one-eye solution is most viable and are targeting military and high end industrial manufacturers and VARS to produce the final product. Shown are their prototype implementation of the display technology, and monocular packaging. Probably not a product for broad applications for a while, but the display technology did catch my eye.
Epson brought to CES 2014 their next generation product with several industrial and professional applications examples being shown by partners and software developers on their booth. Like Vuzix, their open OS for development is Android, so existing platforms and applications can be run directly with only slight modification. Their Smart Glasses do this via a separate tethered control box and battery, so not as totally self contained and wearable as the M100, but in the industrial applications they are addressing, this is probably acceptable. The important aspect to note is that in both the Vuzix and Epson cases, SDK and APIs that enable a standard Android OS are the core offering. Expect a proliferation of Apps to appear based on valuable use cases. Very encouraging again to see not just technology, but valuable applications such as medical, maintenance, gaming, etc. with fairly simple to use UI’s On show from this company.
One of the first commercially available of the Smart Glasses is from Vuzix who is specifically targeting the professional, industrial and prosumer sectors with this product. Also seen from Vuzix at Showstoppers and on the CES exhibition floor was their next generation lens technology which could be the beginning of consumer appropriate see-through Smart Glasses. These enabling technologies will only take hold if a large number of valuable industrial and eventually consumer applications become available. A wearable camera and near eye display coupled to context awareness enabling sensors, plus an open Android Applications platform able to store or connect to relevant information is a killer combination for enabling a wide range of valuable professional and industrial use cases. There is a ready market for this device. Desk-less, hands-free work environments are the killer sectors. Making this unobtrusive, fashionable and even undetectable is the key to wide spread consumer use, simply because the value propositions already exist and are a high value subset of what smartphones are taken out and used for now, but will extend well beyond that when the consumer friendly, wearable technology becomes available. Vuzix is breaking important new ground in both areas with their commercially available M100…
Google was not really showing anything at CES 2014, but there were plenty of people wearing Glass! Glass got mixed reviews when I asked some of them their opinion and what they were using it for at CES. Most were not really using, just wearing! One young girl told me she was doing a study for University on reactions from the public about people wearing Google Glass in public! Another at a bus stop proudly wearing, but intensely working using his Smartphone. Thank you Google for kicking off the awareness campaign, but the good news is there are both ready to deploy products and amazing new technologies to fuel a value driven range of business opportunities. In some way I suspect Google welcomes all entries who can deliver this enabling technology as we all know that they just want to get closer to our eyeballs to support their real strategy.
Thanks to Pete Wassell at Augmate and contributions from the companies who are the real veterans in head mounted displays, there was a very nice and informative showcase at the entrance to the Eureka Park in the Venetian. I have personally been monitoring this sector for 15 years so this was a bit of a nostalgic experience for me. I was involved in the very early days with Reflection Technology who broke early ground. Then Microvision launched their Nomad product which sported a Virtual Retinal Display and in cooperation with Metaio, sold this into the automobile industry as a repair mechanic's aid. If you think Google Glass is a breakthrough product you only have to look at what Vuzix (called Icuity then) and MicroOptical (myvu) launched in the late 1990's to see that this headworn display technology has been around for a while from these early innovators. The difference from then to now is that the belt or backpack worn PC that drove this is now completely headworn and in the case of the M100 from Vuzix, is a complete open platform Android OS device, so the Applications software can come from several sectors in parallel. So the Journey from HMD's of…
The FIND by SenseGiz is a tag which can be used to prevent losing or misplacing objects like keys, bags, pets, phones etc. You can hook it or stick it to any item that you want to find immediately or do not want to lose. If you leave that item and start going away, your smartphone app will give off an alarm alerting you about the item left behind. The FIND comes with a phone protect mode as well, where the FIND in your bag or pocket starts beeping if you have misplaced your phone. Or you can use the app to FIND any item whenever you need it! The FIND app is supported on iOS and Android phones. So simple, yet so many uses.  Available soon for about $20. each.
Virtual Reality, 3D, head tracking and HD video are coming now in smaller packages which are much more wearable. Whether laying back just watching a movie or especially when jumping around  playing an action packed video game this is good news. The latest from Vuzix builds on many years of experience and delivers a comfortable large screen experience (stated by them as 55° FoV) and has head tracking, 720HD, 3D and compatibility with a large portfolio of games as with earlier models. Existing products (1200 series) available now, but the V720 coming in second half. I saw and tried the Avegant Glyph at the press only Pepcom event. Reasonably nice unit, comfortable and the screen experience was okay, but couldn't focus my left eye so couldn't get the binocular image together. They said this was a problem with the prototype, but can't give this high marks without seeing the optics working properly. At this point it appears to be video viewing eyewear and not a VR games platform. Didn't get a clear idea of availability and what their initial products will be, but definitely one to watch. They are having a Show 'n Tell session in London next month, so…
Looks like SanDisk is starting to think outside the dongle! This is effectively your Personal Cloud in your pocket. And can be shared across iOS, Android devices and to PC & MAC as well. On iOS this all works well over iCloud, but having web connectivity is a must. So the two things that caught my attention on this is that it could save you from buying the iOS devices with the biggest memory, you could get away with less (£$€) and that wide area connectivity is not needed to keep all your devices sync'd up. I see the value, but have lots of questions as to how seamless this is for the user. Only answered when the review unit I have been promised arrives. I will update....
olloclip lenses for iPhone were one of my favourites from last year at CES and they pleasantly surprised me this year when I saw them at Showstoppers with a whole range of new lenses and multi-lens combinations. The ones that most impressed me were the Macrolens combinations, 7X, 14x and 21X all in one package. Also a new telephoto plus polarizing filter combo and a 4-in-1 fisheye, Wideange and two Macro combinations. With a few of these in your pocket you can capture just about anything on an iPhone. The combination of the wide angle plus the new Pano capability in the iPhone camera App makes a powerful combination to capture 360° or panoramic scenes. Well done olloclip!
Dry Case keeps your phone or camera dry to 100 feet by using vacuum sealed technology. Has facilities for headphones and mike jack and is crystal clear for taking photos. Comes with a bulb to pump out all the air and a buoyant armband as well to keep it afloat should you turn it loose while in the water. Dry Case has waterproof headphones and mike and several styles of waterproof and floating bags and backpacks. Some with strong suction cups on them to attach to you ski or surf board. Impressive stuff for extreme sports types. Or normal people too. As a rower/sculler on the Thames I can see the value of both the phone cases and the backpacks, not just for splashes, but the occasional capsize!  
While strolling through the Gold Pavilion at CES I ran into this company called BarcodEye. They are writing Android Applications for the Vuzix M100 Smart glasses. This App simply takes to your line of sight the information associated with a barcode, QR code, etc. that the M100 camera picks up in your direction of glance. Simple, but very effective way to read barcodes by just looking at them. Many applications which require hands to be free to do other tasks will benefit from these types of applications plugins. Since the M100 runs Android these can be easily adapted from Smartphone Apps or written from scratch.
As reported by the BBC the word "selfie" has been declared the most important new word of 2013 by the Oxford dictionaries. How relevant to have a product that is an APPcessory to your smartphone that is easy to carry, but extends your reach so you can take that all important "selfie" or to get your camera above the crowd. It even has a button by your finger to snap the picture with! it's from Looq Systems
Innovation, yes. And uncanily similar to some items I have seen in the first person shooter gaming world, but a bit frightening for my liking. Military snipers tool maybe, but a little uncomfortable about this being featured at CES! http://tracking-point.com/precision-rifle
Since most of us can't get through the day on a single charge of our smartphones, we all seem to be carrying auxiliary batteries, which themselves have been getting smaller in size and bigger in the amount of power they punch. Problem is, carrying the long version of the USB cable that comes with the phone is that it takes up too much space on my person, so these key chain-sized cables are just the ticket. These two Caught My Eye at CES!
Well, this caught my eye mostly because I saw it, examined it, and couldn't figure out what it was for until Nick Norton, the VP of Marketing explained and handed me a folio of info on the product and the whole topic of hair growth. Being slightly folically challenged myself, I took a closer look. Basically a helmet you put on, listen to music, possibly catch a few winks while your scalp gets showered with red light laser and LED sources which apparently stimulate hair growth.  Uses low-Level Light Therepy (LLLT), but takes 16 weeks to have significant effect. Not sure about this one, but it did Catch My Eye!

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