Brands big and small descended upon New York for CE Week 2014, an annual consumer electronics fair that opened on June 25.
The fair, hosted in the Altman Building in Chelsea, featured more than 130 exhibits of the latest in consumer electronics – everything from bright and flashy 4K screens and wireless audiophile equipment to quirky items like a toy race car track with AI cars.
We took a closer look at some of the products that stood out at CE Week 2014:
Perceptive Devices LLC
With a sideways nod of his head, Uday Parshionikar of Perceptive Devices nocked back the the slingshot in Angry Birds, and with a smile launches the bird at a pile of crates.
The tiny device on his glasses allows him to do this, by tracking the movements of his head on the x and y axes. A small wire detects if his cheek moves upward in a smile.
“Your face becomes a mouse” with this device, he said, allowing you to control any device that would accept a mouse, from iPads to PCs. No camera is used – the motion is all tracked by the wearable. While the current version is wired, future editions will have Bluetooth.
Parshionikar said any kind of facial gesture could be used, but that they chose the smile on purpose, as research shows that we not only smile when we feel good, but also feel good when we smile.
While the demo is decidedly consumer-oriented, Parshionikar envisions the device being used by everyone from surgeons to mechanics or oil rig operators, whose hands are otherwise occupied when they need vital information.
This medical wearable allows users who are at risk of heart disease to accurately monitor their blood levels. While a traditional electrocardiogram takes hours to work and has to be plugged in with wires, this device works quickly, and simply needs to be put on a user’s wrist.
Using this data, the device can algorithmically predict if a user is about to have an episode like a cardiac arrest.
While it’s yet to be FDA-approved, it’s expected to be cleared and launched later this year, at a cost of $449, said Rosario Iannella, CIO of the company.
Ever wish your dog had a voice? That’s not quite what this tech promises (despite the name), but it does allow you to get an accurate sense of how your dog is feeling at any given moment.
Essentially a wearable for dogs, the Voyce collar reads a dog’s perspiration rate, heart rate, and monitors calories burned, among other things, and sends it to the cloud via wifi. Using this information, the accompanying app can tell you if your dog is hungry, tired, or stressed.
“Dogs, since they’re pack animals, don’t show pain and discomfort [to hide weakness],” said Brent Trimble, a Voyce representative. With this app, however, you can get early notifications that something is wrong, and share the information with your veterinarian, he said.
(unfortunately for cat people, there’s no feline version yet).
Intended for both consumer and business use, the Robo 3D printer offers a low-cost alternative to printing that was previously only available for industrial use – in similar quality.
The printer, which costs $799, takes up about as much room as a small minifridge.
“I view it almost like an appliance,” said Braydon Moreno, CEO of Robo 3D, adding that the whole family can use it, from kids wanting to print Minecraft designs to parents using it for practical purposes like printing kitchenware.
Matter and Form
This is sort of a reverse 3D printer: it takes an object, scans the surface millimeter by millimeter with a laser, and creates a 3D model. It allows users to replicate almost any kind of object (that fits the measurements) and study a high-resolution model of it.
Video courtesy of Matter and Form via Vimeo.
While it was designed with education in mind, representative Elyne Quan said the team has been surprised by the different uses the Matter and Form has been put to.
“We want it to be as useful as possible for as many applications as possible,” she said. For example, it’s been used in dentistry to create molds, and for archeology in a project to scan more than 17,000 ancient pottery shards so they can be studies digitally.
The Matter and Form scanner will cost $579 when it ships July this year.
This could be an advertiser’s dream. Instead of generic overlays cluttering up videos (which representative Frank Provenzano called “a return to banner ads”), WindowLikr adds an interactive graphic overlay to videos that allows users to tag objects of interest in a queue and view them later.
At their booth, a demonstration video showed a truck going through a desert environment. Users could tap the tires to learn what they were, or click the ground to find out more about the environment the video was shot in. The interactive graphics are integrated into the video and designed by the video team.
These tiny, programmable robots can move in surprising ways – optical sensors allow them to move along a path drawn below them, either on a tablet or on paper.
Additional color sensors can give them commands on the way. They can memorize up to 500 commands, like “take 15 degree turn” or “go backwards.”
Nadek Hamdai, a representative of Ozobot, showed off how it works by flashing it with a series of colors on tablet, which the bot followed to perform a choreographed dance.
In addition to just being a fun toy, however, Hamdai said the Ozobot could be a helpful learning task for rehabilitating stroke victims who have to relearn how to make sense of their environment.
Usually, furniture and appliances are designed and built by corporate monoliths that pour millions into marketing and focus groups to make sure the product will be a success.
With FirstBuild, however, the process is reversed. Through an online community, users can submit their own designs, and the top-voted ones will be produced as prototypes in FirstBuild’s small factory and sold to 20-30 interested users.
If they are successful, they can be scaled to the mass market, where the creator will get both credits and royalties. It’s a community-driven process, says representative Taylor Dawson, targeting a new demographic of makers who are enabled by technology.
Unlike many people, “makers look at the world around them, see the problem, and try to find a way to solve [it],” he said.
Like a personal cloud, the Lima promises to sync all your files across all your devices, no matter the operating system or type.
The product consists of a tiny USB harddrive with an Ethernet cord, which you plug in and put in your house.
“You leave it at home and you forget it,” said Amandine Guyout, a representative from Lima.
Instead of downloading the same file to all devices, however, Lima will show you the files through the product’s app and download them only if you need them.
All photos by Ole Skaar for Curiousmatic.