Featured Article : What Was Fun At CES?

Following the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, we take a look at some of the more novel and fun gadgets (and claims from the show) and what lessons businesses can take away from this year’s event.

CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which this year took place in Las Vegas (from January 9th to 12th) once again acted as a global stage for tech innovation and a glimpse of things to come. It’s a place where industry leaders, startups, and tech enthusiasts converge to showcase and witness the latest advancements and future trends in technology and which sets the tone for the tech industry each year. Among the more ‘serious’ products, however, the show features many fun/novel and more left-field gadgets and claims. Here’s some standout examples of these from CES 2024.

LG’s Smart Home AI Agent. This AI device (a kind of robotic home manager) transcends traditional smart home functions. It’s capable of engaging in meaningful conversations, providing reminders for medication, and even contacting emergency services if needed, showcasing a new level of AI integration in home management. The Smart Home AI Agent is an example of a product that fits LG’s vision of a “zero-labour home”, something that many of us can only dream about!

For those who want to keep their conversations secret, how about Skyted’s Mobility Privacy Mask? This innovative gadget is essentially a Bluetooth-enabled face mask yet it’s designed to absorb voice frequencies, thereby ensuring private conversations in public spaces. The potential applications for the device highlighted by the company include conversations in public spaces, while travelling (for frequent travellers or regular commuters), plus those working in aeroplanes, in and in offices or call centres. It’s an interesting idea which highlights a growing demand for privacy in our increasingly connected world.

GlüxKind’s AI-powered Stroller (Pram), Ella. This gadget is a step forward (or a roll forward) in making the life of modern, connected parents that bit easier. It’s a pram that offers hands-free operation, automatic stopping on inclines, and a gentle rocking feature for the baby. Its built-in white noise machine adds another layer of innovation, showcasing how parenting can be assisted by smart technology.

The WeHead GPT Edition is an AI-powered head with a face that gives ChatGPT a physical form, providing a unique interactive experience. Some have criticised the face for appearing to be a little emotionless when it talks. It’s been designed for brainstorming and idea generation, and it represents an intriguing (some have said creepy) blend of virtual and physical AI interfaces.

Rabbit’s R1 Pocket AI Assistant. Developed by Teenage Engineering, this ($200) handheld AI assistant with a 2.88-inch touchscreen navigates smartphone apps on command, simplifying tasks like ordering food or managing apps. It operates on a language action model, pushing the boundaries of how we interact with our digital devices.

French startup MolluSCAN’s Smart Molluscs is a novel, environmentally-focused technology that uses sensors literally upon molluscs to monitor water quality and pollution. It represents a highly innovative approach to environmental monitoring, combining biology with technology.

For those who remember how some TVs used to fold into cabinets and be disguised as home furniture, SEED’s N1 Folding TV takes things quite a few steps further. This innovative TV transitions itself from a large 137-inch screen to a sleek sculpture. The seamless MicroLED panels provide an uninterrupted viewing experience, reflecting the fusion of technology and art.

On the subject of TVs, how about one you can’t see at all? Samsung’s Transparent TV can blend in with the background of your room when not in use, so it looks like a transparent piece of glass in a frame! The design uses Micro LED technology which Samsung says makes “the line between content and reality virtually indistinguishable.”

In the health industry, ADAM-X by Medical-X is essentially a robot patient that simulates a wide range of medical scenarios and reacts how a live patient would react, providing real-time feedback to trainees. It also has simulated bodily fluids. This advanced CPR dummy is designed for medical training and is a good example of how technology is enhancing medical training with lifelike simulations.

Again, in the health domain, the BMind AI-Powered Smart Mirror by Baracoda is a smart mirror that acts as a mental wellness health companion. For example, this mirror not only reflects your image but also gauges your mood using AI. It can engage in conversations, provide meditation exercises, and even offers light therapy, marking a new era in personal wellness technology.

The Clicks Technology’s BlackBerry-style iPhone Keyboard attachment transforms an iPhone into a device reminiscent of the BlackBerry era. It provides a tactile typing experience while liberating screen space, blending nostalgia with modern smartphone functionality.

Sound Drive’s Dynamic Sound Mixing, created by Will.i.am’s startup, is a system that adjusts your car’s music based on your driving speed and conditions. It dynamically mixes the music, adding or dropping lyrics as needed, to match the energy of your drive.

How about having a conversation with your bathroom furniture? A step too far? Not in the case of Kohler’s PureWash E930 Bidet Seat which features voice command capabilities. It allows users to control various functions such as activating the spray or dryer, or using its self-cleaning UV feature, all through voice commands with Alexa or Google Assistant. Just be careful not to say the wrong thing at the wrong time!

One novel piece of tech for pets presented at CES this year was the ‘Flappie,’ the AI-powered cat flap, described as “world’s most intelligent” cat flap.  Flappie uses cameras and AI to prevent unwanted visitors from following your pet indoors. It’s designed to recognise your cat and distinguish it from other animals, ensuring that only your pet has access. This product reflects the increasing use of AI in everyday household items, offering convenience and problem-solving in unexpected areas.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

It seems that CES 2024 has demonstrated how technology is becoming increasingly intertwined with every aspect of our lives. From smart-home advancements to groundbreaking developments in environmental monitoring and healthcare, even the more novel tech innovations offer a glimpse into a future where technology enhances and simplifies our daily experiences.

For UK businesses, these trends underscore the importance of embracing innovation, focusing on user experience, and exploring eco-friendly technologies. They also highlight how the integration of AI is changing everything and opening up so many more opportunities and avenues for product innovation and enhancement. The gadgets and AI advancements from CES 2024, therefore, not only reflect the current state of technology but also offer a roadmap for future developments. UK businesses can learn from these innovations to identify new opportunities, meet emerging consumer needs, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving global tech landscape.

Although this selection focuses on the more novel and unusual gadgets, the key general takeaway from CES 2024 could be that the future is not just about technology for its own sake, but technology that enriches, simplifies, and adds value to our everyday lives.