This was my fifth* trip to Vegas, but my first to CES. The show was massive and it was spread across several different sites. It was a bit overwhelming and I didn’t get to see the stuff I was really interested in (healthcare related devices) until the last day.
At a glance, these are some of the big trends I saw at the show (I’m not paid or sponsored by any of the companies. Not even sure who actually reads this aside from Char, Robbie, and maybe Dr. Palmeri??):
- Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR):
I felt like everywhere I turned, there was some demo involving VR or AR. I tried out some of the demos including one VR demo at the IEEE booth. IEEE developed the software for a group video game where you’re on Mars and you need to complete a series of tasks to survive. The game used Oculus Rift hardware. It’s pretty neat to be able to look in all directions and ‘see/explore’ a different environment, however the VR headsets feel bulky and the resolution isn’t that great.
- Automated and autonomous cars: I don’t really know much about cars, but I do know I would LOVE to have a car that can drive itself. (Especially if I live in a place without public transportation.) Bonus points if it’s also electric. Double bonus points if it’s actually affordable.
Audi had a sleek display full of beautiful concept cars. There were quite a bit of software and sensor companies displaying their technology on name brand cars (aka Mercedes). Nvidia displayed a car installed with their sensors. In front of the car was a small wall of dripping water. Above the car was a screen showing that the sensor could still locate where people were standing despite the ‘rain.’ There are already a lot of automated cars on the road, like cars with lane assist, Tesla’s auto lane change etc., not to mention research institutions and Google that have already created fully autonomous cars. Granted someone figures out the whole legal side of things, I think the technology is there (or almost there) for autonomous cars to hit the market. My friend Hersh said he’s “bullish on the self-driving car.” I’m feeling bullish on this too.
- Wearables: this one is kind of a given, given the past several years. A lot of mainstream fitness trackers were present: Fitbit, Misfit, Garmin…There were wearables for pets! WonderWoof makes wearables for dogs that track the dog’s activity to help owners maintain their dog’s weight. It doesn’t have GPS tracking though.
- Unmanned objects (drones): there were a TON of booths with drones and drone demonstrations. I didn’t stop at many because there was so much else to see, but I have to mention them just due to the sheer number of drone booths.
- AI: Again, I didn’t spend too much time at the software heavy AI companies, but AI is already an intimidatingly large part of our lives, which will only get bigger going forward.
- “Smart” everything: anything and everything was “smart” at CES. From smart shower heads that help you track how much water you use to smart stuffed toy animals that track, well, who knows that, to smart suitcases that help you track your suitcase location.
We got into Vegas on Thursday (already day 2 of CES) afternoon. By the time we settled at dad’s friend’s house and made it to the convention center, it was already 4 pm. We meandered through the South halls until closing, where we saw a lot of VR systems and drones.
On Friday, we started at the convention center North hall to check out the automated and autonomous cars. We went back to the South hall to look at stuff we skipped the day before (more VR and AR). In the afternoon, we moved to Sands Expo at the Venetian where the wearables were located for a quick peak before closing.
Saturday morning, we went straight to Sands. In the morning, we saw more wearables and and in afternoon, we moved downstairs where a lot of the newer companies were located. This was my favorite part of the show. I loved almost all the companies part of La French Tech, which is “The business France delegation of startups.” A lot of the French companies have beautifully made products, like Orée‘s wooden keyboards. I might also have liked La French Tech purely because I got to speak French and am generally obsessed with French culture. I enjoyed seeing the Kelmis touch-screen table by Kalkin. The table is targeted at tourist and visitor centers, and the table displays an interactive 3-D map of the area. Their example display was of the Grand Canyon. It showed all the different hiking trails and also provided information on restaurants, lodging, and shopping nearby. If you selected a specific trail, you could see exactly where the trail went (in 3D) and you could download a 2D version of the map to your mobile phone. Good Morning Planet, another member of La French Tech, is a website that helps organize travel plans. You can add a list of things you want to do at your travel destination and the website organizes logistics (do x things together because they’re close together) and provides transportation advice from city to city. They currently only support travel in India and Mexico, but are expanding. Would love to have this tool to help with travel plans in the future!
Finally, these are three things I enjoyed seeing at the show, but haven’t mentioned elsewhere in the post:
(1) Trackr: you attach a little device to whatever object you often misplace. When you need to find it, you use the app to locate the trackr device and therefore your object. It works over wifi.
(2) Aipoly: this is a free app that helps blind and visually impaired “see.” Using the app, when you point a smart phone camera at an object, the phone reads out loud the name of the object. Seeing people can help the app learn by taking pictures of things and writing the names of the things. The app seems targeted at people who are visually impaired because it requires the user to have a general idea of where the object is located so that they can aim the phone camera at the object.
(3) Krush Flip Clock: I loved the design of these retro style clocks. We entered a raffle to win one, but we didn’t win. They retail for the low price of $1200. (Yes, you read that right.) I obvi won’t be gettting one anytime soon, but if you happen to be a billionaire reading this and you want to buy a random blogger a $1200 clock (not excessive at all), then let’s get in contact!
*since I love drinking and gambling and objectification of women and general excessiveness…not. Actually one of my grandmothers is buried in LV.