5 unsung technologies at CES 2017
CES 2017 may be over and we have heard from all of the big names, but there were over 3800 exhibits showcasing their smartest ideas. In this article we explore our five favourite creations. From previously unheard of brands to household names, all five are whacky in their own right but at the same time are also hugely innovative – and that’s why we like them!
Kuri – ‘a loyal little home robot with a cheerful personality’
Kuri, built by Mayfield Robotics, is a smart home robot priced at just $699 (£576) that not only interacts with you but also protects your home while you are out.
Dubbed as adorable all over social media, Kuri has a face capable of expression, a head that reacts to petting and a mood light for expressing its state of mind..
Sensors equip Kuri to recognise staircases and obstacles around the house and stealthily avoid them. He also learns your home’s layout and memorizes to whom each room belongs.
A high definition camera in one of Kuri’s eyes can recognise faces and take pictures or videos. In combination with the microphones inside of Kuri, the camera can turn on when an unusual sound is picked up and then he can notify you on your smartphone sending you a live stream of video.
Now you’re thinking: “how does it charge? I’m going to have to keep plugging it in!” The answer to your question is that Kuri will know when he is low on battery and will take himself off to charge himself. The creators call it a ‘power nap’!
The ‘connected home’ has been a common trope for a while now but when innovative takes on the theme such as Kuri are launched they offer a new take.
Razer - Project Ariana + Project Valerie
Razer, founded in 2005 with a mission to create high quality products was designed solely to meet the demanding needs of gamers, like the creators themselves. At CES 2017 Razer unveiled Project Ariana to positive reviews.
Project Ariana is all about total game immersion, transforming the entire room into your gaming environment. The system has the very first video projection system using an ultra wide fish eye lens designed purely for immersive gaming.
Project Ariana can automatically scan the room and adapt the projection to the size and dimensions; using two 3D cameras the system can automatically detect environmental factors such as furniture and room lighting in order to optimize the gaming experience.
Razer launched a second technology at CES 2017 called Project Valerie. This one of a kind laptop has three 4k 17.3 inch displays offering 180 degrees of viewing space. The Valerie is capable of running both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and on top of this Razer has adopted Nvidia’s surround view technology. This allows for a single image to be spread across multiple screens without impacting the quality of the image.
In terms of cost, the Valerie is still only a prototype but the Razer Blade Pro, the base system for Project Valerie, was priced at $3,999 (£3297) so it’s expected to be those truly dedicated to the best gaming experience that purchase the system.
Sevenhugs Smart Remote
The Seven Hugs Smart Remote won three awards at CES 2017 including most innovative product in the Smart Home category; its feedback across social media was similarly enthusiastic.
Have you seen Click? Well even if this new gadget wasn’t inspired by the movie, its purpose is the same: this remote can control practically everything in your home.
The slick looking handset can control your lights, TV and media, speakers, thermostats, locks, sockets, blinds, fans, and your smart hub. The company’s website boasts that it is currently compatible with over 25,000 devices and this number is growing daily.
The company currently has fewer than 50 employees and this is their first piece of technology to be launched. Upon further investigation it appears that the company has not filed for any patents and doesn’t have an intellectual property portfolio.
However, to launch an innovative product like this at an event like CES 2017 and to do so as a startup is an impressive feat.
The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle
Fisher-Price took the opportunity to launch their new children’s toy at CES 2017. A completely wireless stationary bike that connects with a tablet or television. The Smart Cycle not only offers exercise but education too.
With a variety of different apps expected to be launched soon, the first game to already be released is Mission to Tech City, aimed at helping kids pick up the alphabet. A partnership with Nickelodeon is lined up so there are more apps expected to be released in the coming months for mathematics, science, and even social studies.
The Smart Cycle is aimed at children between the ages of three and six but Fisher-Price demonstrated a larger version of the toy in order for the adults to test it at CES.
Surprisingly, Fisher-Price has a total of just 21 patents although Mattel, its parent organization, has closer to 1,000 patents however the Smart Cycle technology is not connected to any of them. Retailing at just $150 (£124), the Smart Cycle is both affordable and innovative. While only a toy, the cycle is not just a novelty item but will be used again and again to the child’s benefit.
Perhaps the wackiest technology unveiled at CES 2017 was the Hushme wireless headset. Wrapping around your neck and covering your mouth, the Hushme completely drowns out the sound of your voice. It can overlay the excess noise with the sound of rain, Darthvader, R2D2, or even a squirrel.
By using passive voice suppression and active voice masking technology, the value of Hushme is speech privacy, specifically in open-environments such as offices. The direction and volume of sound can be changed by tapping the headphones.
The device will retail at $200 (£165) and we are certainly interested to see these out and about on public transport.