Another Consumer Electronics Show is in the books, and holy crap what a whirlwind! Despite battling an estimated 150,000 people at the Las Vegas Convention Center, I must say it was one of the best years yet.
My take-aways: 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the curved-screen TV, smart fitness devices and wearable tech.
Here are some of my favorites from the show floor:
LG 4K Curved 105-inch TV
Is the future bendable? A lot of big brands, like LG and Samsung, announced curved screens better for viewing and glare, not to mention ultra high definition. There’s no doubt that the gigantic, 105-inch curved LG 4K TV will make you feel like you’re in your own movie theater. Just prepare to shell out about $70,000 when it finds its way to retail shelves later this year.
LG’s 105-inch curved 4K TV offers better viewing, reduced glare and looks less like a TV and more like a movie theater screen.
Yellow Jacket iPhone Stun Gun Case ($99–$149 at yellowjacketcase.com)
A first of its kind, the Yellow Jacket stun gun iPhone case can cause a jolt with 650,000 to 950,000 volts (depending on the model). Use it to protect yourself (and your phone) by scaring, distracting and shocking a potential assailant. The case also holds a rechargeable battery that powers your phone for up to 20 additional hours. It’s available now for iPhone 4/4s, and pre-orders are available for 5/5s. Note: Be sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s stun gun laws before purchasing.
The Yellow Jacket Case contains a loud, bright high voltage stun gun that produces a painful
DriveID Cellcontrol Technology ($89 at cellcontrol.com)
Each year, automobiles make more and more inroads at CES. In January, the big-name automakers made a splash: Ford had a concept car with a solar panel roof, and Audi and BMW showcased self-driving car technologies. Still, I found myself drawn to more of an unknown in this category: something called DriveID Cellcontrol. This technology blocks the driver of a vehicle from using his or her cell phone but allows everyone else in the car to freely use theirs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of fatalities related to distracted driving involve cell phone use. Approximately 1.5 million drivers are playing around with electronic devices while driving at any given time. Cellcontrol seeks to change that when it’s released in February 2014. The little solar-powered gadget attaches to your vehicle’s windshield and enlists special technology to determine who is driving. That person’s phone is then unable to make calls, text or surf the Web for as long as he or she is behind the wheel (you program in the restrictions, so you can also choose to allow phone calls, use of Siri or other applications if you choose).
The solar-powered DriveID Cellcontrol blocks the vehicle’s driver from using his or her phone but allows others in the car to use theirs.
Urb-e Compact Electric Scooter (estimated price $1,000–$1,500 at urb-e.com)
With more people moving to cities and fewer commuting in cars, we’re seeing some really cool personal commuting devices hit the market. I fell in love with the Urb-e electric scooter from Egological Mobility Solutions at CES (check their site for info on the Indiegogo campaign launch, hopefully in February). This little scooter became popular by simply driving around the show floor. The compact scooter can go 20 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 15 mph. Plus, it folds small enough to carry on to planes or to fit between your legs while traveling on a train, bus or car.
The Urb-e Compact Electric Scooter can travel at speeds up to 15 mph and folds up when not in use.
Piper (Starting at $239 at getpiper.com)
The smarter homes conversation isn’t going away anytime soon, and at CES, Piper was the smart-home standout for me. It has more than 230 accessories that allow you to check in on and interact with your home from anywhere. Using an app on your smartphone, you can keep tabs on your home’s temperature, discover any kind of in-home motion, talk to family members or pets using two-way microphones and peek in on your digs at any time, from anywhere. The products start shipping this month in North America.
Piper keeps your home secure with panoramic views, notifications and automation that you control with your smartphone or tablet.
Netatmo’s June bracelet ($99 at netatmo.com)
If we were playing tech drinking bingo, wearable tech would have 10 boxes. Yes, this category remains a huge theme for the coming year. I found this little gem (no pun intended), called June bracelet, to be a standout. June allows you to measure your sun exposure in real-time and monitors the UV index. It pairs with an app that learns your skin type and advises on how best to protect yourself. For example, June will let you know when to apply more sunscreen, wear sunglasses or put on a hat, to help you avoid sun damage and premature aging. It will be available in the second quarter of 2014.
Netatmo’s June bracelet is a wearable UV monitoring bracelet that will tell you when you’ve been in the sun too long.
Liquid Image Model 800 Ego LS ($398 at liquidimageco.com)
This live streaming, wearable and mountable mini-cam is a journalist’s or iReporter’s dream! With 4G data and 8MP stills, you can transmit a story live from just about anywhere when this hits the market in June (estimated price tag: $199 plus another $199 for the LTE module for streaming). I’m also excited to report that Liquid Image updated its adventure line with its latest scuba mask and new swim goggles.
The Liquid Image Ego LS mountable mini-camera can stream photos and videos over a Wi-Fi network so you can broadcast in real time.
Acceledent (use the doctor locator to find an office near you)
Remember all those years of braces, which seemed to drag into decades? While the colored bands were fun for a hot second, the rest of the process got old quickly. Now kids and adults can speed up the process of moving their teeth by up to 50 percent with the Acceledent mouthpiece. This FDA-cleared device works by helping to move the teeth through soft vibrations that send pulses to the bone. It works in tandem with your orthodontics treatment, fitting around braces for a daily treatment lasting 20 minutes. Some insurers cover the treatment, so in addition to reducing visits to the orthodontist’s chair, it could actually pay for itself.
The Acceledent mouthpiece works with your orthodontics treatment and can speed up the process of moving the teeth by up to 50%.