CES2018

12Together

At CES this year I was specifically researching all the emerging areas of Personal Mobility. First priority - Virtual Reality and 3D360º content capture, publishing, viewing and Storytelling. A category I call “Time/Place Shifted Reality.Second area of emphasis for me this year is Digital Healthcare. Especially Devices, Apps, Data Collection and ecosystems that lay the basis for Technology Enabled, Consumer Led change in this emerging area. The possibility of Anticipatory (preventative) Medicine is in reach and people are taking on board their wellness in growing numbers, partly because of enabling technologies becoming available.

As always, I’m also looking for “Contextual Technology” innovations that “Catch My Eye” in the areas of Internet of Things, Internet of Me, Home, Car, etc, Big Data/My Data, Augmented Reality, APPcessory devices, Wearable Technology, Personal Cloud, 3D printing and the consumer mobility end of Infotainment and Transmedia propositions.

So my mission was simple...

          ...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. My value add is to try to discover and explain the broader possibilities and benefits of the technologies. I also attended three Press only evening events, CES Unveiled, Showstoppers and Pepcom’s Digital Experiences on the 4th and 5th. There are always a lot of Innovative companies showing at these!

This is clearly the year of innovation and consumer market traction in most of the areas I am researching, and this could be the time for investors to start taking these categories serious. Especially the two I have highlighted above.

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.
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    
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