Las Vegas hosted last week the annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest trade shows in the world. CES is a huge technology show that allows industry giants to show off their latest and greatest, alongside small start-ups trying to make a name for themselves with gadget prototypes that may or may not ever get produced.
This year’s show focused heavily on smart appliances, designed to connect your home in its own electronic ecosystem. Controlling home devices such as security systems, thermostats, appliances and lighting through a smartphone has already become a reality, but it remains to be seen how willing consumers are to wire up their homes to be able to control their stoves and crock pots with their iPhones. The most promising applications so far are those that will save energy and lead toward greener homes.
Nevertheless, the possibilities are dizzying. Imagine a refrigerator that could text you when the milk is about to go bad, so you can grab a fresh gallon on the way home, or have the message sent directly to a grocery delivery service. Your mattress could monitor your sleep and automatically lower the thermostat when you kick off the covers.
As in recent years past, televisions dominated floor space at CES, with bigger and higher-resolution screens being announced. Sharp debuted the Aquos Quattron Plus line, featuring 10 million more sub-pixels than current full HD. Samsung showed off a bendable TV, although practical applications for the technology remain to be seen. And the Roku TV, to be released this fall, comes with Roku’s superior full streaming software built right in, no additional box required.
Wearable devices – namely watches – made a splash, proving Dick Tracy was truly a visionary! And “health tech” promises to be big this year, with fitness devices such as FitBit and Nike’s FuelBand leading the way in tracking a wealth of data about your activity levels.
But perhaps no other device transforms an ordinary, everyday task like the smart toothbrush from French company Kolibree. Their Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush pairs with a smartphone app to track how well you’re cleaning your teeth, including time spent brushing and number of strokes. You can share results with your dentist, so you won’t have to be looking down in the mouth when you show up for your next appointment.