This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.
What’s not to like about a four-day glut-fest of gadgets? That’s essentially what the International Consumer Electronics Show is every year, and 2014 was no exception. Here are some notable innovations from this year’s show.
Flexible and curved displays are making inroads in the consumer market this year. At CES, we saw this trend in a big way. As in 105-inch big. Samsung and LG unveiled curved ultra-high-definition televisions of this size.
Polaroid introduced a modern twist to its instant camera by presenting the Android-based Socialmatic. Taking a cue from Instagram and other picture-editing apps, the device lets you take, edit and customize pictures and print them as stickers.
I’m a sucker for some quality health and fitness technology. Standouts at this year’s CES included Notch and the Reebok Checklight.
Notch brings wearable trackers to a whole new level, using sensors to accurately track your every motion. Notch’s 10 sensors can even break down complex motions like shooting a basketball or swinging a golf club, so athletes can analyze and fix their mechanics.
Checklight is Reebok’s response to concussion reports coming out of contact sports. The Checklight skullcap has embedded motion sensors that continuously measure head impact, providing actionable data to help assess an athlete.
Mini 3-D printers
This is the year of Mini-Me 3D printers. At CES, MakerBot announced the MakerBot Replicator Mini, a 3-D printer suitable for home use. Priced at $1,375, the Replicator Mini is finally in the price range of some DIYers and technology enthusiasts.
In another itty-bitty gadget reveal, advanced consumer technology product maker Parrot showed off two new drones, the MiniDrone and Jumping Sumo, both of which fit in the palm of your hand.
The biggest complaint I’ve previously voiced about the Pebble Smartwatch is its geeky, clumsy and unattractive design. Enter, Pebble Steel. Pebble’s second-generation, stainless steel and leather exterior is a serious upgrade, in the looks department at least. The smartwatch has an estimated five to seven days of battery life and is waterproof. Pebble Steel’s style does sell for a premium, retailing at $249 compared with the $149 price tag of the original device.