Top 10 Awesome Things From The CES 2017 Show Floor
CES is a glowing display of the latest and greatest advances in the world of technology. Since the "world of tech" is now just another term for modern day life, these new innovations have the potential to significantly impact (and improve) our daily lives. Walking the show floor last week I got to check out some of the coolest products out there. There's always a variety of tech on display at CES whether it's old, new, fun, useful, or just plain hilarious. From self-driving cars to robotic waiters, these are my top 10 highlights from the CES 2017 show floor:
New Game Controllers
If you're tired of getting carpal tunnel from using traditional controllers, you now have a plethora of new options. Old products like the Wii Balance board and Xbox Kinect paved the way for new controller concepts, including the 3dRudder, which serves to replace the analog stick and create an immersive VR experience, letting you use your feet to control how you move in-game. The 3dRudder was actually surprisingly easy to use, and that's from someone with poor coordination. Tobii Eye Tracking, meanwhile, is as simple as it sounds—your eyes are the controller. Now you can finally blow up digital meteoroids with a deadly glance. Finally, the Voxel VR room does away with cables and bulky headsets, letting the user fully immerse themselves in the game while retaining a full range of movement. The room can be set up anywhere, and all you need is a light pair of glasses.
3D Printing Pens... Now with Chocolate!
JER Education now has a 3D printing pen that works with a classically delicious material—chocolate. Unnecessary? Debatable. Fun? Definitely. Affordable 3D printing is a big deal at CES, and the quality of tech available to the average consumer is improving. The increasing variety of materials 3D pens are able to work with can provide uses far beyond stringy PVC sculptures. Oh, and the pens themselves are getting way cuter. If that counts for anything.
High-Res Face Scanning is Borderline Creepy—But Awesome
If you've ever wanted a highly accurate, hyper-realistic map of your own face, you're in luck. Although the Bellus3D booth used the software to print out masks, that was primarily to illustrate the level of detail. The uses they highlighted were actually in gaming and cosmetics. Soon you can make your avatar look exactly like you—if you want it to.
Artificially Intelligent Headphones
Vinci headphones can understand you as well as the lyrics to your favorite song in high school. Using smart technology, Vinci can monitor your vitals and listening habits and uses these to recommend music based on, for example, an increase in heart rate. These hands-free, phone-free headphones also listen and respond to voice commands.
Star Wars Battling Drones
We've all heard of these by now, and seeing them in action is just as fantastic as you had hoped. In a nutshell, you can fly your own mini starfighter and battle other drones with lasers. Three hits and your drone dramatically "falls" out of the sky.
Touch Screens with Texture
This one is a strange concept at first: Tanvas now enables you to "feel" textures on your touchscreen. Although the technology has a ways to go, it could have a variety of uses. For example, you could feel the texture of a material before purchasing it. For now, though, it could make the world of app games a lot more fun and interactive.
Alarm Clocks That Make Scents
If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, Sensorwake is here to help. Their scent capsules release your scent of choice, allowing for a gradual wake-up. As fancy alarm systems go, it's reasonably priced at 30 awakenings per capsule (~$5/capsule). The scents are pleasant, not overpowering, and there's an optional scent that helps you fall asleep. Smells have a strong influence on our moods, and at the very least I'd be curious to try what Sensorwake claims is a truly "magical experience".
Card Decks with Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is starting to take up quite a bit of room on the show floor at CES. My favorite AR display? A simple deck of cards. Octagon Studio had a deck of alphabetical animal cards, and each one was totally adorable. The animals move around, make noises, and can interact with other "food" cards. Using AR to teach children is a noble idea, but imagine using that technology for card games. It's not exactly new, but it's still exciting. IBM was also giving out AR cards at their Hidden Figures-themed booth.
All the VR. All of it.
If getting to try out VR products was fun, it was even more fun to watch others' looks of sheer delight or determined focus as they stepped into a virtual world.
Since it first took off, there continues to be endless booths dedicated to VR at CES. Companies are competing to develop the best VR tech, especially when it comes to improvements in motion platforms, chairs, and accessories like haptic gloves and other controllers. Lucky for us, when brands compete, consumers win - usually.
And the Most Impressive Digital Performance Award goes to - LG!
LG's OLED TV tunnel was an astounding visual display. Nearly 200 TVs played high definition videos of breathtaking galaxy views and majestic whales. It was hands-down the best television display of the show.