CES Roundup: A Date With Power

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opened in Las Vegas this week, a showcase for the future of consumer products (though some of the biggest names in tech are notably absent, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google). Plenty of household names are headlining: Twitter, Ford, IBM, Sony, and LG among others. Little-known companies are showcasing exciting new tech as well. The buzz is on the “Internet of Things,” and the lifestyle of the future where wifi enabled watches, cars, thermostats, and washing machines will communicate seamlessly. Screens aren’t just bigger and shinier (and curvier), they’re integrated across more devices.

As technology works its way deeper into everyday life, it adapts to be more personal. A smart belt will fit to the wearer’s waist, adjusting automatically as needed. New wearable technology measures heart rate, calories consumed and sleep quality for fitness enthusiasts, and phone alerts and flight info for the jetsetters. A pacifier sends baby’s temperature to mommy’s smartphone. For those looking to beef up their personal security, they’ll have more options than adding some numbers to their passwords. Safety is easier with a smart door lock that turns on the AC as soon as an authorized phone opens it. Why not program which faces are allowed through the front door? Bike thieves will have a hard time picking a bluetooth-enabled padlock that either opens from an app or unlocks to a pattern of finger taps in the case of a dead phone.

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The products at CES aren’t just things that no one knew they needed, they’re also revamps of old favorites. Mercedes Benz is rolling out a concept car (rather it rolled itself out) that bears far more resemblance to science fiction than the Model T, but still rides on four wheels. It drives itself and even rotates the seats outwards when the door opens. The interior aesthetic is half conference room, half spaceship, and it comes out at 110% because it all lights up. Can a car be all business and all party at the same time? Chrysler’s new connected car tech sends a monthly email with the car’s performance. Toyota says the fuel of the future is hydrogen, while VW debuts inductive charging, and the world got a quick preview of the redesigned Volt as well.

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Here are a few more items of note from CES thus far:

  • In the name of respecting gender parity, should CES adopt booth bros? The Guardian
  • Garmin attempts the seemingly Sisyphean stab at a “stylish” wearable. re/Code
  • Giddyup: scenes from a drone rodeo. The Verge
  • There is finally a drone for selfies. The Next Web
  • A digital solution for purchasing Girl Scout cookies. The Wall Street Journal

What was your favorite product to come out of CES?