I’ve attended the CES show, the annual showcase of consumer electronic products from around the world, for over 30 years. But I gave it up a few years ago when I became tired of the terrible traffic jams and innefficiency of back-to-back meetings held in different hotels miles apart. Venues became stretched around the town, making it impossible to see more than a small fraction of the exhibits. Now it’s possible to get a better view of what’s exciting by using the Internet.
While much of the show this year was filled with the expected – TVs, phones, audio equipment, computers, home automation, etc. the show highlighted the latest trends in AI and EVs. Like 3D TVs several years ago, where everyone jumps on the latest hot trend, deserving or not, AI was this year’s “buzzword.” Anything with an algorithm or software decision-making suddenly turned into an AI device. EVs are becoming hi tech devices in their own right, with in car enterntainment and information systems along with self driving technology, and numerous automotive companies showcased their next gen cars.
Among the new announcements, I found a few of interest to those that are on the road frequently:
Swarovski Launches the first smart binoculars
Swarovski Optik combined a binocular with image recognition to create the AX VISIO, a binocular that can recognize the type of bird you’re looking at using it’s AI functionality. The 10X32 pocket sized binocular runs off of a rechargeable battery and has several modes including birds, squirrels, photo, and movies. It lets you send images and movies to others and save them on your phone. It’s a clever device – more like a camera with computer, but it’s priced in the stratosphere at $5000. Expect to see plenty of less expensive competitive products from others, because it won’t be difficult to duplicate using, of course AI!
The new Withings BeamO is a 4-in-1 connected checkup device this is to the thermometer what a Swiss-army knife is to a butter knife. The multiscope, as it’s referred to, contains the sensors that are used on an ECG machine, stethoscope, thermometer, and pulse oximete. The company touts is as a device than cn be used with a telehealth call, although I’ve yet to meet a doctor who has much interest in consumer grade health monitors. $250.
One surprise product that seemed to surprise everyone was the Rabbit R1, a pocketsized block-shaped device that’s intended to be an intermediary or interface between the user and their phone using Aritficial Intelligence. The concept is that you would use this device to interact with all of your apps, rather than opening each app as needed. By using its AI capabilities it would know what action to take (app to open) when you made a request. For example if you asked it to book tickets from San Francisco to San Diego, it would seamlessly open a travel app, find and reserve your flights.
Timekettle X1 Interpreter Hub
Frequent travelers have been promised for decades, pocket sized devices to instantly translate conversations when traveling to a country speaking a dderent language. But nearly all were gimmicks that weren’t practical to use. But now the Timekettle X1 Interpreter Hub promises to make it possible.
The TimeKettle X1 made delivers real-time translations in 40 languages, claiming it does so with nearly no latency and high accuracy. The device has a screen that displays transcriptions of your conversation and two earbuds that two people can wear for real-time in-ear translations during a one-on-one conversations. $700.
ButteFly Travel Charger
The ButterFly Travel Charger is the world’s smallest portable charger for simultaneously charging an iPhone and Apple Watch. Unfolding the aluminum shell reveals a MagSafe charger for your iPhone and a magnetic fast charger for your Apple Watch. It also converts into a display stand for your night table or desk. It comes with a 30 watt power adapter, international plug adapters and a carrying bag.
ButterFly also morphs into a display stand that supports StandBy mode on iPhone or Nightstand mode on Apple Watch. ButterFly includes a 30W Power Adapter with four international Plug Adapters so that you can stay charged anywhere in the world. $130.