Monday, January 9

Why You'll Want these 7 Winning Innovations in Technology from CES 2017

According to the badge I received when I checked in at #CES2017, I've been attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the past 19 years. I've seen many highly lauded "innovations" come and go. 3D TV is one that comes to mind. I watched 3D on my smart television exactly once.

So when I attend this conference, I look for the unusual, the technology that I think will help people in their everyday lives. My post from 2015 listed some interesting innovations that I believe are still valid. I skipped posting last year because there really wasn't much that moved me. This year, 2017 is different. A few of the products I saw, really stood out.

Google Daydream VR Headset

When it comes to Virtual Reality, previously I could take it or leave it. I tried many headsets from the Oculus to the cardboard and never really felt it was worth investing in. Google's next mobile VR platform, Daydream, is far more robust than previous iterations. It is also considerably lighter. I also didn't feel quite as queasy when I tried the Huawei View (powered by Daydream) because of the improved frame rate and head tracking capabilities. To explore the VR environment in 3D with this headset, you use a remote-like controller as a pointer. You're able to point at and click on objects, navigate menus, and more. New phones (powered by Android 7.0 Nougat) need to a be high powered to provide this quality experience. At this time, only a few like the Huawei Mate 9 Pro meet the specs.

Mayfield Robotics Kuri Robot

We have a major fascination with robots. Previously the trend was to make robots look as human as possible, but in many applications, that just creeped people out. Now we want robots like the Jetson's Rosie; robots need to be cute and lovable. Kuri does a great job at that. She isn't going to wash dishes or vacuum the carpet, but Kuri can interact with you without talking. Kuri is designed with personality, awareness, and mobility, and adds a spark of life to your home. Through robot-magic, she can understand context and surroundings, recognize specific people, and respond to questions with facial expressions, head movements, and his unique lovable sounds. Like many adored robots in popular culture, her personality and ability to connect are the greatest attributes, check this video to see what kids think of Kuri. Think of her as an Alexa on wheels - with expressions.

Zera™ Food Recycler

This is a great "green" idea. Turn your kitchen waste into garden fertilizer. Zera™ Food Recycler is the third innovation created by WLabs of Whirlpool Corporation, the company’s innovation incubator. It turns "turns today’s food scraps into tomorrow’s fertilizer. " It can break down a week’s worth of the average family’s food waste within 24 hours (95% of a typical family’s food waste). The system ensures that food waste can be converted into a homemade fertilizer, as opposed to being disposed into a landfill. Size wise, it appears that I could put it into the space that my abandoned trash compactor currently occupies. Learn more on their website,.

Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi 

Winning PC Magazine "Best In Show," Linksys knocked it out of the park with their new addition to the mesh networking market. Velop is a high performing modular WiFi system built with Dynamic tri-band technology that works seamlessly to create a high-range mesh network. There's no need for traditional routers and range extenders anymore, this modular mesh system provides WiFi throughout your entire home without lag or buffering. It also interacts with Amazon's Alexa. The nodes work with all home types, and each one increases WiFi range by 2,000 sq. ft. so you can add more depending on the size of your home. Nodes work together as one mesh system by giving you a single WiFi name and password, and the freedom of not having to switch networks. Compact, and sleek in design, the Linksys nodes can be placed in open spaces without unsightly connected cables.  Velop is easy to set up using it's App and is backed by a  3-year limited warranty and tech support.

Biofinity Energys™ Contact Lenses

This new product from Coopervision falls into a techie sweetspot. I have long been aware of the dangers of staring at screens. Extended use of digital devices can cause a multitude of eye issues brought on by eye fatigue. As many as 90% of people who use computers complain of dry eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, headaches and more. I currently have pairs of Gunnar computer glasses next to every digital landing place in my home and office to save my vision. Protecting my eyes has really paid off. For those who wear contact lenses, these are the first contact lenses specifically designed for digital device users. Learn more about digital eye fatigue here, and Biofinity Energys™ here.

Huawei Mate 9 Smartphone

I admit I'm an Android fan. I also use iOS so that I can keep up with the iPhone innovations. Although I have used phones from several manufacturers, my phones have been from Samsung for the past 10 years. I really haven't seen any innovation from them. I am tired of waning batteries, long waits for updates, cameras that really aren't as good as we're led to believe and being locked into a single provider. Without going into a deep review (come back to this blog later this week for a comprehensive Mate 9 review from Diana Adams), I can tell you that this is the best phone I've used to date and will be my daily driver going forward. With specs like 20MP camera, 5.9'' screen, machine learning algorithm and 64GB base model, it's a shoe-in. The 4,000 mAh battery give you a full day's charge in about 20 minutes. The second generation Leica camera hearkens back to the quality of my old FE2 camera. The phone ships comes with Android 7.0 Nougat and Huawei's updated EMUI 5.0; Al, and a February update will bring Amazon Alexa into the OS. The Huawei Mate 9 comes unlocked for $599 and works with most U.S. carriers.

FoldiMate Laundry Folding Robot

The most tedious household task is folding clothes. The FoldiMate Family™ (not for sale yet) simply folds your laundry.  It works like this: take dry items, hang each one on the clip and within a few minutes, your laundry is neatly folded, treated and even de-wrinkled.

According to the company, it takes 3 to 5 minutes per laundry load to clip each item onto FoldiMate’s Easy Clipping™ technology, making folding simple and quick. If you have a big family (and hate folding laundry), I recommend you go over to their website and get more information on how to get this magic machine.

It's impossible to mention everything I saw at a trade show that attracted 175,000 attendees, but these technologies really caught my eye. I'm looking forward to hearing more about how these products are accepted into out everyday lives going forward. Listen to my Computer & Technology #techradio podcast, archived on IHeartRadio, Stitcher, iTunes, Tunein and on the website for updates.

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