Highlights of the International CES

This week from January 7th to January 10th, the annual International CES was held in Las Vegas. According to the official website this year’s CES showcased more than 3,200 exhibitors, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than 300 sessions; and at least 152,000 attendees were present from over 150 countries.

Although many awards have already been given out and others will continue to be awarded throughout today, we wanted to highlight some of the products we think are pretty neat. After all, we look forward to what the future holds when it comes to new tech products, as it could alter the way we develop software solutions here at Digital Trike.

Software-Based Gesture Technology by PointGrab

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These gesture-driven interfaces allow users to mute their TV just by putting one finger to their lips and turn on off appliances by pointing at them. PointGrab’s AirTouch system lets you point at icons on interfaces as though you were pressing buttons. It also lets you grab and drag virtual controls.

PointGrab offers a free software development kit to encourage more companies to use its gesture technology. The company’s free app CamMe uses the iPad’s FaceTime camera to read your gestures and let you control the device’s cameras.

By its own measure, PointGrab’s technology is already installed in 20 million devices. The Israeli-based company partnered with Samsung for Smart TVs, Lenovo and CE manufacturer TCL.

What’s the next step for PointGrab? using those same gestures mentioned above to control household appliances. PointGrab announced a partnership with SunPlus Innovation (SunPlusIT) to add gesture control to air conditioners, window shades and lights.

“We expect that in the next few years, gesture-controlled home appliances will be part of many households around the world,” PointGrab CEO Haim Perski said.

Ozobot by Kickstarter

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Ozobot is a game-playing robot. It’s a tiny, one-inch-tall robot designed to work on top of tablet and smartphone screens, as well as on paper. What’s more, it will follow both digital and physical lines that players draw on the fly, and can even reportedly tell the difference between a digital and physical surface. The motorized rolling robot uses light sensors in its base to read digital screens and other surfaces.

“We set out to breathe new life into game night –- that experience which, as an individual or as a group of friends –- has become a bit tired and repetitive between board and video games,” said Nader Hamda, CEO of Ozobot.

At launch, Ozobot will work with a number of downloadable mobile apps (iOS and Android) that the company developed: OzoLuck, OzoDraw and OzoRace. The last game will include a physical track, on which up to two bots can race around at up to 3-inches per second. Ozobot is also working on a dev kit so third parties can build new games for the robots. Developers may have their work cut out for them since Ozobot can reportedly recognize up to 1,000 instructions.

Each Ozobot will include changeable skins and LED lights, which let players know what the robot is “thinking” or doing. The robots charge via a mini USB port, and each one should run for up to 40 minutes on a charge, according to Ozobot.

Ozobot is still in development, and the company is raising funds on Kickstarter. It hopes to ship Ozobot in time for the 2014 holiday season.

Smart Grill by Lynx Grills

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This is a voice-activated smart grill that serves up food based on user preferences. The concept grill, which is expected to hit the market in 2015, connects to a recipe database, gives you instructions and even sends text messages at key times, including when it’s time to flip the food.

After the grill connects to Wi-Fi, the user is asked a few questions. The grill determines the best cooking time, technique and even where the items should go. It can also send SMS alerts to keep the griller on top of its status.

But perhaps the smartest feature is its ability to remember how you best like your food. For example, you can audibly request meat to be rare, medium or well done — or make specific requests such as “cook it exactly like last time, but add 30 seconds more time to each side.” To turn it on, you’d say: “Smart Grill, preheat now.”

“Not only does this save time, so you don’t have to hover over the grill the whole time, it helps you prepare consistent meals,” CEO of Lynx Grills Jim Buch said. “The learning algorithm remembers your doneness preference, which is in the taste buds of the user. The grills hit it on spot almost better than a human chef because it remembers how you have cooked it in the past and you can program it specifically to your taste.”

It also helps experienced grillers prepare meals they haven’t before, such as lobster tail. By accessing Lynx’s recipe database via the accompanying app, users can download user-generated recipes or upload their own. Recipes include how to cook everything from chicken tikka masala to filet mignon.

For safety reasons, the smart grill shuts off after 30 minutes of not hearing any instructions. Although you’d need to be nearby to turn on the grill, it’s possible to turn it off remotely, if, say, you forget to do so when back inside the house or on the way to the movies.

iOptik Lenses by Innovega

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This eyewear system is made up of two parts: glasses and contact lenses. The contact lenses give you enhanced focusing abilities, so you can see near and far at levels beyond what the normal eye can see. For example, if you put a finger up to your eye while wearing the contacts, you can actually see the fine details of your fingerprint; whereas, the natural eye can’t focus on an object so close up.

When you put on the accompanying glasses, which include flat-panels or micro-projectors that can display apps and media, they create a Google Glass-like experience. Putting on the contact lenses under the glasses will further enhance your vision.

Smart eyewear such as Google Glass would look more like goggles if the near- and far-vision technology were placed within the device. By pairing the contacts with the iOptik glasses, it still looks like you’re wearing regular glasses. You also have the option of filling the contact lenses with a prescription.

“A lot of companies are trying to do that right now with hardware, and there are limitations: It creates a tiny field of view,” an iOptik spokesperson said. “Google Glass is the equivalent of having your smartphone about 24 inches in front of you. The iOptik system is six times the resolution and 20 times the area. It’s like looking at a big TV projection, and you can see so much more.”

ClockOne by Twelve24

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Electronic ink technology has some amazing properties. It’s ultra-low power, uses no backlighting, can illustrate both images and black-and-white text, and can produce a display that closely resembles paper. All of this has made “e-ink,” also known as electronic paper, the perfect medium for e-readers from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Now, those same properties are helping e-ink move off the page and into a new class of products like ClockOne.

ClockOne from Twelve24 is a wall clock based on e-ink. At about 1 meter wide and roughly 4 millimeters thick, the lightweight clock hangs on the wall with one screw and a special wall mount. Hanging it is easy; just tip the clock into the holder and balance it until it hangs level.

Perhaps the best part of ClockOne is that it can run for a full year on one small watch battery. The only downside is the $499 price tag, but that’s a small price to pay for cutting-edge time technology.

In Conclusion

It’s amazing to see the products people come up with to make our lives a little easier and more interesting. These products featured at the International CES just go to show if you have an idea, you can make it come to life if you are willing to work hard to make it happen. Who know what software solutions Digital Trike be developing 10 years down the road!