I went to CES 2015 to find out about who’s doing what, how they are marketing themselves and to network in the consumer sectors that matter most to Intelesant.  These are fitness and sports, health and wellness, sensors and smart home sectors which as it turned out were all located together in Tech West.  I also took time to visit some other sectors in Tech East.

It’s 2 years ago since I was at CES so the Eureka Park, which is a place for start-ups some of which have made it onto my personal best lists was new to me.   The fitness and sports category is now hugely competitive and it is difficult to work out how the players here can differentiate themselves.  One surprise was that the use cases for home robotics do not seem to have progressed very far beyond vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and toys.  In sensors a number of companies were featuring eye tracking but it was not obvious to me what the consumer use cases will be.  In automotive the thing that interested me the most was BMW’s M4 demonstration in which the navigation system integrates with the car’s laser lights to show the width of a narrow gap ahead. This skeleton fabricated using a consumer 3D printing reminds us how this technology may impact medicine in the future.

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Riskiest product demonstration?

CES has several competitions and awards like Last Gadget Standing and Best of CES.  I have come up with my own list of the things we liked that have direct relevance to our work at Intelesant, that we can learn from or integrate into our own products and services.

I struggled to find any connection between Hexoplus (claimed to be the world’s first flying camera that follows you) or Singtrix (the next-generation karaoke machine that makes bad singers sound good and good singers sound amazing) but I liked them anyway.  Prize for riskiest product demonstration goes to Masimo who had a diver hold his breathe underwater for 5 minutes 35 seconds whilst showing his oxygen saturation (down to 60%, 95% is normal).  I don’t think we will try that one.

#1: Best enhancement of an existing object

Waking into the exhibition centre the first thing we saw was a the smart sensor basketball from 94fifty designed to help improve shooting skills.  In sports the Bablolat tennis racket which incorporates sensors in the handle to also got a lot of attention.  It got me thinking about what could be done for the elderly with walking sticks and frames.

I also want our team to think about what we could do with the smart shoe and insole from Lechal.  This idea was developed as a way of helping the visually impaired with walking navigation.  Linked to a smartphone the device gently vibrates the left or right foot to communicate with the wearer.

#2: Best new use of an existing object

Long queues on the Samsung booth to try out their virtual reality headsets and join the swaying heads experiencing immersive roller coasters and underwater swimming.  Turns out that the headset is a Galaxy smartphone on its side using it for motion sensing and playback of a game app.

Ekin labs can turn a wifi router and tablet into a home security application.  Looking forward to trying this one out.

Activity trackers are now so commonplace they count as everyday objects.  I caught up with pitpappet from the UK who were also visiting CES and will launch an activity monitor for dogs.

#3: Best visual analytics

Panasonic in partnership with SAP showed live match analysis processing streaming video from a football game and generating live stats.

#4: Best application of science

Psio have taken a molecular sensor and connected it to a smartphone.  Dip it in a substance and the data is sent to a the cloud, analysed and sent back.  Here they are demonstrating in front of a live audience that they can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.

Bristol, UK based Ultrahaptics have created a matrix of ultrasound transmitters to the sensation of feeling in mid-air without any glove. See this having a bright future in automotive but also thinking about how this could help the elderly.

#5: Best design

Startup Flic.io are creating a button that can become a shortcut for any feature on a smartphone.  Bellabeat are designing beautifully natural scales, activity trackers and pregnancy monitors.

#6: Best wow moment

I am not a massive fan of 3D TV or film but the impact of the LG 4k 3D takes the experience to a completely different level of depth and realism.   I was blinking as the meteorite storm came towards me.

Combining this TV with Ultrahaptics would be phenomenal.