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Exhibitors eagerly await it, reporters lament it and Las Vegas locals dread it but every year the Consumer Electronics Show brings together more than 170,000 industry insiders to witness the latest and greatest in consumer technology. Every year CES gets bigger and bigger, and this year’s show boasted a record-breaking 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space with more than 3,600 exhibitors from around the world in attendance. For anyone walking the show floors, those numbers are overwhelming to say the least.
From drones to curved TVs, the media was buzzing over the strangest tech on display from some big names in the industry. Here we take a look back at the week at CES and a sampling of the tech – some strange and some not, some from big names and some from names you may have never heard of – that we saw firsthand.
Wearable Tech Simplified
It’s hard to talk about CES without also discussing wearable technology. Smart belts aside, much of the wearable tech on display at CES suggest some common key trends we can expect to see in this market in 2015. Countless companies from Europe and Asia are trying to break through with their interpretations of wearable tech that is simple, specific and/or stylish (and as a result of one or more of these, also more accessible).
Lechal, based in South India, describes itself as the world’s first interactive, haptic insole and navigation system. By pairing with a navigation app via smartphone, Lechal guides the wearer from point A to B through a series of buzzes. Swiss-based MyKronoz wants to strip away all of your smartwatch’s add-ons and additional features by incorporating a limited but specific set of smartphone capabilities into an analog design for the more fashion-minded wearer. Devices like BellaBeat are also targeting a specific type of end-user – women – with their health tracking leaf pendant that can act as a necklace, bracelet or brooch.
We’ve seen gesture-controlled TVs, computer and smartphones, and now gesture recognition is making a play for our vehicles. Automotive tech dominates the Consumer Electronics Show every year, and companies big and small this year are bringing touch-free controls to cars for what they promise to be a more intuitive driving experience.
Volkswagen’s concept Golf R Touch car boasted a dashboard controlled entirely by gestures. Swiping left and right lets you control the music and temperature via the display screen, and you can even go as far as bringing your hand to the window or sunroof to open and close them. Other firms like SenseDriver showcased standalone devices like SenseHud, an HUD for the dashboard that pairs to your smartphone for touch-free navigation, communication and media control.
Manufacturing at Home
The Maker Movement hit the mainstream in the mid-2000s, but since then additive manufacturing and modding have continued to influence the technology on display at CES. MakerBot Industries zeroed in on its software and network offerings at this year’s show by announcing two big initiatives: remote printing via mobile device and Wi-Fi network, and a partnership with The Foundry to allow users to upload their designs more easily to MakerBot’s open source community.
In other open source news, the Linino.org community was at CES to show off their new Linino ONE, a PCB breadboard based on the immensely popular open-source microcontroller board Arduino. Linino’s big selling point is to make home automation easy for all types of users to understand, access and develop.
Those were some of Walker Sands’ CES sightings – what were yours? Share your favorites (or least favorites) with us below or on Twitter @WalkerSands.