CES 2020

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.

AURA Strap for Apple Watch - an accessory for an accessory for an iPhone! This clever watchstrap improves some of the Apple Watch's health/fitness tracking features and adds some sensing in the strap and analysis in their App and adds to the Watches capabilities to keep on top of performance and wellness when doing sports, on a diet or just want to stay fit and be healthy. The new strap and companion app (for Apple Watch and iPhone) help users to measure their body composition (fat/muscles percentage) and hydration levels to track fitness/diet progress and get more personalized insights to improve their lifestyle. Bioimpedance is the core technology which expands the Apple Watch health tracking capabilities. Analyzing the upper body, it can track lungs and breathing changes, compare them with pulse data and even assess risks of heart failure and notify the user, his doctor, or emergency contact about it. AURA Strap cleverly transfers results to the Watch via ultrasound, which is much more energy-efficient than BLE. Oh, and it's quite a nice looking band as well. Noone will know what you are up to unless you tell them!
POW Audio’s Una™ is quite unique. Patented WaveBloom™ technology - it's expandable to produce a large sound chamber for Bass response. It's Water resistant, so when expanded it becomes a floatable speaker for the pool!  WaveBloom allows POW Audio speakers to contract for unique ultra-portability and expand to produce demonstrably robust bass resonance, huge volume and premium overall sound quality.Roughly the size of a small dinner plate when collapsed, Una expands to rival many bigger, bulkier speakers—and its innovative design doesn’t end with its full, crystalline sound. Una is splash-proof and comes equipped with a detachable Lily Float that provides buoyancy stabilization on water. Una features Bluetooth connectivity, 14 hours of playtime and can be synced with another Una or Una X for true L/R stereo immersion. Clever design. Well done POW Audio!
Nepox Virtual fitting room The virtual fitting room is the virtual space where users can access their cloud stored 3D models. Catalogues of clothing and apparel are loaded from real 3D fashion brands millimetric data sets from 3D design compatible software such as Marvelous.Rendering of real fashion items will help customers see exactly how clothing would fit them, brining traditional dressing rooms into the private and comfort of the consumer’s home. With advanced virtual reality physics rendering, and pretrained algorithms computing cloth simulation, a garment’s precise qualities will be transferred from cloud services into the virtual fitting room. Outfits and looks are also transferable as video or vector depending on the device capability, also making them shareable with social media accounts.Optional features will include virtual fitting room customisation, allowing it to be furnished and decorated by the customer to show them a model of themselves in a situation fitting a reality they wish to view.
Another one of the gems that caught my eye at the UK Pavilion at CES2020 Moasure’s patented technology uses motion sensors to measure and draw simultaneously to measure property and outdoor spaces.Moasure ONE, is a motion-based measuring tool. Leveraging the latest accelerometers, gyros combined with a proprietary algorithm, Moasure ONE can measure in ways no other measuring tools can. Moasure ONE measures its own movement in three dimensions, allowing you to measure in innovative new ways from measuring the area of irregular space, through to calculating the radius of an arc. Capability that caught my eye? Measuring irregular property and outdoor spaces.
One of the gems that caught my eye of the companies at the UK Pavilion at CES2020.  AircardsAR are web-based Augmented Reality campaigns which work on any smartphone producing consumer engagement in physical environs. Effectively a new digital channel and engagement where one previously didn’t exist.  Clever visual animations, 2D/3D video and special effects are deployed within the AR experience, driving consumer interaction. Not just AR content, but they manage all development, technical coordination, and cloud-based infrastructure deployment. AirCardsAR clients receive access to an in-depth analytics dashboard to track performance, including metrics such as views, click- throughs, bounce rate and dwell time. These are web-based Augmented Reality campaigns which work on any smartphone, meaning no app download is required. Simply scan, tap and be blown away. As I have put forth many times before, AR is about content and applications that Augment Reality in a consumer valuable and friendly way. Aircards has produced an easy to use and valuable experience.
WOWCube is an awesome Rubik’s cube inspired gadget with interactive screens on all the cubes. Althought packed with a portfolio of games and applications, it is an open software platform, so sky's the limit on use cases and creative and fun things come next.Use cases are limitless like smart gaming, education, smart home, IoT, visual interface for voice assistants, etc. At least that's their forecast. Potentially it’s a Smart and Educational toy which can produce experiences you can play in a way you never played before, acting in both physical and virtual realities by twisting, shaking and tilting. 3D tactile play! 
I have seen a number of stand alone, smartphone app and accessories over the past few years appearing on the scene. None of them have seemed to make it to critical mass in the consumer space. I'm not sure what the best form factor is, but if in fact the quality of the translation is not right on the money, that will be the stumbling block. This area was often inaccurate, at times humerous and sometimes created misunderstandings. Since this has improved greatly in the last year, the products now have a chance. I came upon this product as I was Judging entries for the Last Gadget Standing Event at CES 2020. The judges selected the Ambassador Interpreter as a finallist. It appears that it is a high quality translation tool for professionals and consumer travelers of all backgrounds. From training to travel, groups to solo, the wearable Ambassador allows you to have smooth conversations free from the constraints of language barriers. A frequent traveller's dream. Its wearable over-the-ear design makes it versatile for natural and professional-grade live translations. Three main application areas are: To Listen - As an interpreter, Ambassador actively listens for someone speaking near you and translates their speech…
pix:mini:  A Smart Backpack for kids! Cool, creative, games, sharing and safety aspects.  It's a gadget, yes, but a fun toy and a customizable school backpack with LED screen and room inside for carrying all necessities. Used with Smartphone App and lets you design animations, display messages and cartoon characters, stay safe on the road and play games right on the backpack. The integrated in-app image editor allows you to create animations and display them on the screen of the backpack.  Kids can also share their creations with their friends. The glowing animation on the back is clearly visible on the road plus the geolocation feature will allow parents to see their kids on the map. A bit of fun with technology that lets kids shine!
Another Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist! I'm always looking for the value of consumer technology! This one caught my eye because I have a need for this in my home!  The Phyn Smart Water Assistant Uses AI to make leak detection and water savings simple. Coupled to a Smartphone App clearly shows how much water each and every fixture in a home uses, enabling tracking of water consumption, identify areas of excess use, and take action to conserve and save money. Can be installed with no plumber required, the DIY device is easily installed under a sink and provides water monitoring for the entire home, alerting homeowners within seconds of a leak being detected.The key is AI  and ML software coupled to pressure sensing technology and the intelligent analysis and reporting (via smartphone)You can track and view your water use daily and monthly to get ahead of your water costs. Using pressure sensing technology Phyn learns your system and communicates your water usage down to each fixture, and even sees leaks and ice crystals forming in your pipes well before they even have a chance to freeze over and burst, giving you time to time to take action and avoid damage. With…
I am always on the lookout for things that already have an accepted place on your person (e.g. wrist, ears, shoes, glasses) or in your home (e.g. bathroom scale, kitchen counters, doorbell, etc) and also possibly in your car, workspace, etc. Especially if they look about the same, but take on additional functionality by having sensors, being connected, and applying additional software (e.g. AI and ML).  This falls into the "Personal Real Estate" category of mine, and so it caught my eye. It's a Google-enabled Smart Mirror with many features (too many?) that have potential to enhance your daily routine. Also makes it easy to get ready and stay connected with friends and family. Typically for the bathroom, can also be put in hallways, entryways or bedrooms simply by hanging it up like a traditional mirror or put it on a vanity or tabletop surface. In my opinion the bathroom is a good place (no camera please!) as it is typical to linger there - good time to catch up on news, weather, traffic, etc. Capstone's Google-Enabled Smart Mirror blends traditional functionality with smart capabilities and if done right, potentially bridges the gap between technology and everyday life. Basically it in addition…
Drones have been a big feature at CES for the past few years. With whole sections indoors and out showing the latest, large and small.  What Caught My Eye this year was the sophistication that has appeared in even the smallest of pocketable drones. I have had a few of these over the years, but they were very basic, difficult to fly and not that good photographically. Well that has started to change! Basically, when I thought it through, I realised that all the key components - radio, cameras, motors, materials, etc. have all gone in the right direction in terms of size, weight and cost and most of the heavy lifting in terms of control and computing has moved into the Smartphone. So the real key to amazing small drones with lots of valuable and well thought through, consumer oriented features has been software. Both developed for specific functionality and AI based capabilities such as image/object/face recognition, location and conditions sensing, etc. Well,  I am sure there were others, but here are three that especially stood out with a brief description and links for more info. PowerVision Hatching New All-In-One PowerEgg X Autonomous Personal AI Camera   A New Product…
I have been following BeBop Sensors “smart fabric” technology for a few years now and hoped that this particular sector of their development efforts would be the one that in the end would catch my eye as an important touch and haptics element of AR and VR applications. They appear to have been working non-stop on their enterprise-friendly haptic technology! Simulating the sensation of touch while in a virtual space is not a simple task, therefore many of the other available solutions are rather cumbersome. Their haptics producing wearable allow users to “feel” virtual objects while immersed in a VR experience and is simply a glove (less than a glove, actually :-)   The important additiion to the functionality is that the latest iteration of its one-size-fits-all Forte Data Glove can now be combined with the Oculus Quest controllers, integrating BeBop’s hand tracking technology with the Quest’s 3D tracking for real life VR experiences. Together, these two tech systems, along with BeBop Sensors SDK, enable users to experience force, location, size, weight, bending, twisting, and various other senses of touch. BeBop Sensors software can now actually be integrated into the Oculus controllers’ 3D tracking functionality, so available to third party developers can now…
CyclePath: Another Last Gadget Standing entry that caught my eye.  An all New Exercise Platform with connected App and Gaming Features.  This Hybrid technology that has both health benefits and game playing thrills and engagement, will make a new and fresh category in the home game console and exercise categories, crossing over into a new path showing children (and adults) how to combine both benefits. Promotes blood circulation through light to medium exercise. Help children become physically more active!   Somewhat portable, so can be used at home, work, backseat of car, etc. CyclePath uses Bluetooth technology to link your smartphone to the bike pedeling unit. The information and statistics are then synced to the included fitness band. It requires no outside power, emits no gases or radiation and has no age limit. Since you generate energy while pedaling, you can also charge your phone or any other device through an on-board USB port connection.  Creates a healthier environment and homelife. Gives parents better tools to get kids to play on their smartphones while doing exercise at the same time, wherever they may be. Intuitive and infectious, easy as riding a bike and watching where you are going on your phone or tablet…
A previous product from LORA DICARLO’S OSÉ was given a CES Innovation Award at CES 2019, then they rescinded their Innovations award in engineering, seemingly considering it inappropriate. Due to popular outcry, they later reinstated, and also gave their new product a CES Innovation Award this year as well. This is a genuine 'pleasure enhancing' innovation in the AI driven Healthcare and Wellness category in my opinion so it deserves a mention here. I will leave it to Lora DiCarlo to describe why and how...
As I have said many times in the past - AR is not just about AR glasses, it's about Content and Applications! Well, Anomaly Productions presented its line of innovative Augmented Reality books at CES2020 and their content is creative and engaging, interactive and experiential! Children’s books that become sweeping worlds of scifi-fantasy, they have evolved publishing into new factual and fantasy dimensions, augmenting the pages into the narrative to create a powerful new form of storytelling. Armed with the book and a smartphone or tablet, download the free apps, point, and never look at books the same way again.  Anomaly Productions is a new kind of media company that combines stunning artwork and rich stories to build deeply immersive worlds than can be experienced across multiple platforms and in a multitude of ways and in full 3D. Simply open the book, launch the app and point the camera at the pages and watch the magic unfold. Interact with and walk around the scenes. Through AR technology they produce a seamless experience between the screen and the printed page. AR technology creates models from content that take a brand new experience to readers of any age to the next level. With…
Smart glasses currently have several problems, one of which is being small enough to look "normal" when worn by consumers. Another problem is related to power – the battery is barely enough for several hours of operation. Bosch seems to be making an attempt (along with many others :-) to solve these problems and offer smart glasses components for a wide range of types of users. It has developed a new approach to the production of augmented reality displays. The technology, called Light Drive, will turn any glasses into “smart” ones, practically without burdening them (they say).  Their claims - The system is 30% flatter than existing solutions and the smallest system of its kind on the market. It weighs less than 10 grams. A MEMS-based bundled light scanner inside the Light Drive System scans a holographic element (HOE) that is integrated into the lenses of the glasses. As with solutions of all tupes of consumer AR glasses, the technology enables the user a hands-free, secure viewing of virtually all information from a connected mobile device. Technology-wise, it reflects light from a holographic element directly into the retina, projecting alerts, calls, wake-up calls, appointment reminders and short message services or…
A good example of how innovative thinking can produce something from thin air! Samsung’s "SelfieType" will use artificial intelligence combined with the mobile’s camera for image recognition, and we can use it on any flat surface, such as a table, the plane’s seat tray or the kitchen countertop, among many other options.  Not for "hunt and peck" typists like me, but for touch typists only me thinks.  As long as they can become 'touch-less' typists. This is a great example of how the combinations of ingredients in a smartphone can be used in new ways to virtually do new things. That's what caught my eye.  As the name implies, this is a technology that uses your phone's selfie camera to essentially act as an invisible keyboard by analyzing your finger movements. Using the front (selfie) camera of the device and artificial intelligence, it analyzes the finger movements and converts them into QWERTY keyboard inputs. Currently, Samsung SelfieType is in the development and testing phase in the company’s C-Lab. As clever and technologically elegant as it seems, even if it works, it probably doesn’t completely replace the need for a physical keyboard or even a touchscreen keyboard. But it sure will get…
MedWand™ - Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist. MedWand™ enables the potential of home care aspects of telemedicine - contains a powerful Camera System, Pulse Oximeter, IR thermometer, Stethoscope and ECG all in a single 4 ounce enclosure. Here's what caught my eye. MedWand houses multiple diagnostic tools in a single, easy-to-use handheld device. With a MedWand on the patient’s side, clinicians can conduct remote office visits, and through the real-time collection of multiple vital sign readings and key patient assessments, detect and follow numerous medical conditions from across town, or around the world.  It can be used in several different modes. In addition to the real time remote exams, it can be used by Home Health Care, EMS, Hospice and Palliative care workers, as well as assisted living home monitoring environments. Medwand can also be used as a store & forward device. Medwand will improve outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, facilitate proper and correct treatment modalities, and also save lives.
flic2 - Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist at CES2020. Pushing a tactile button is the most satisfying and straightforward way to initiate an action. Flic 2 buttons are innovative finger-tip-sized wireless buttons that can be stuck into place in your house, your car, at work on your desk, etc. Control Smart Home, apps, and online services with the ease and pleasure of pushing a button.A set of buttons comes with a very small home Hub (Long range and which BTW has IFTTT and other apps incorporated) but your phone can also act as a hub so wherever you go you can have switches with you that do things e.g. in your car, at work, etc. Flic 2 can talk to and initiate actions on smartphones, tablets, or computers directly, so any app or business system can add physical smart buttons to their services in offices, and even public spaces. The Hub itself can support over 60 simultaneous, individually configured buttons in a large house and it supports Apple HomeKit. I found it very simple to assign functionality to flic 2 buttons in the app, that anyone can do it in seconds. attach a speaker to the hub and it can act…
Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist, Octobo is a multimedia platform integrated into a plush toy - an Octopus - with sensors all over it, combined with games, content, apps and story books plus interactive pieces to show and give to Octobo. Sliding a touch screen tablet with apps running on it into a slot in the top functions as the eye, ears, mouth and brain of Octobo. Octobo is soft, cuddly and made to be hugged and played with. Unique soft sensors allow Octobo to come to life and react and guide immersive play.  It is a socio-emotional literacy tool with features that make it accessible for children of varying ages.  Changing the definition of screen time, Thinker-Tinker combine the physical and digital world by incorporating a touch screen tablet into their plush toy making it interactive, responsive and fun to be with. Octobo is a friend, rather than just a screen. I see Octobo as a new category of digital toys. In producing this unique product, Thinker-Tinker’s skills now have potential to produce a portfolio of creative, dynamic smart products.  I found it to be a very exciting product initially for the kids’ segment - infectious game playing…
Firstly, their Smart Swim product is an addition to swimming goggles which now hits the consumer market with proper functional Augmented Reality benefits. Basically, Smart Swim is a heads-up display for swimmers that provides in-depth workout status and information in real-time, as well as the capability to stream video content during swimming workouts providing performance info, inspiration and entertainment for athletes during training.The creation of newly formed Vuzix Labs division, Smart Swim takes swimming workouts to the next level in terms of interval training capabilities.  Smart Swim not only provides swimming workout status, including elapsed time, yardage and laps and a coach to swimmer connection, but it also allows the swimmer to download and preview workouts, record their workouts and even stream video from the Smart Swim video player, all while in the pool or open waters. The Smart Swim easily fits over virtually any swim goggles, so the swimmer can stay with their existing favorite pair. Smart Swim includes an Android computer, a vibrant full color display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, head tracker, GPS, compass, internal battery, USB and much more.  Continuing their commitment to providing smart glasses solutions to the industrial industries, Vuzix also introduced their M4000 AR display which builds…
Withings, pioneer of the digital health movement and connected analogue watches, unveiled its ScanWatch, a clinically validated hybrid smartwatch to detect both risk of arrhythmia (AFib) and sleep apnea – all from the wrist. Helping users and their physicians monitor overall health with a smartwatch that identifies highly prevalent cardiovascular and sleep issues early.Worn throughout the day and night, ScanWatch can provide an early warning system, collecting and sharing critical health data.  Although not a new capability in a smart watch/smartphone combination, it does increase the availability of AFib watches to most consumers from the top MHealth brands.  The real groundbreaker in this area was AliveCor who later merged with and incorporated the capability into OMRON’s watches. The latest version of Apple Watch now includes the capability as well. This all bodes well for the wellness/preemptive healthcare area for consumers. Giving early warning of conditions and acquiring important ECG data for personal early warning/physician diagnosis plus a database for further analysis across consumer sectors.  Through continuous monitoring of heart rate and detection of irregular heartbeat,the user can then take an ECG reading and in just 30 seconds get a more in depth analysis and storing of both data and initial…

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