Improve. Help. Wellness. Feel good. Relieve stress. These were all buzzwords at this year's official pre-CES press event, CES Unveiled, which took place on the evening of January 3 in Las Vegas. And, we might add, also simply having fun.
CES Unveiled, which brings together hundreds of manufacturers and startup companies in a ballroom within the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, showcased a diverse selection of eye-catching gadgets. Wearable devices of all kinds littered the rows of exhibitor booths, along with smart home devices, and other interesting home gear.
Here are 10 of the most interesting ones we came across.
1.Kate Spade, Armani Exchange smartwatches
Fossil Group is kicking its involvement in the smartwatch market up another few designer watches with new models coming licensed under the Kate Spade and Armani Exchange brands. In both cases, you'd never know by looking at them that the watches are smart, since they simply look like standard wristwatches. But there are high-tech features hidden underneath, including the ability to receive notifications in an interesting way. With the Kate Spade models, for example, you can program up to six VIP callers with numbers one through six. When one of them calls, the watch hands will move to the corresponding number on its analog face to let you know who it is. Sure, you won't see scrolling details of the actual message, but it's a nice (and stylish) way to integrate smart functionality into a watch you can wear everyday that actually looks like a watch.
2.Cerevo Taclim VR shoes
These won't be winning any fashion awards, but the Taclim VR shoes and gloves, which hail from Tokyo, include haptic feedback for a truly immersive VR experience. In addition to feeling as though you're looking around a desert, for example, you'll be able to experience a sense of actually stepping on sand or water while wearing the shoes. The nine-axis sensor in the shoes can also capture movement to reflect actions in the VR space. Why let your hands have all the fun? Developers can develop content using Taclim as an input/output device, and create their own tactile data by defining basic haptic feedback as sample data, or by importing files in WAV format. Scheduled for available in the Fall, they'll see for anywhere from US$1,000-$1,500. Needless to say, these aren't for amateurs. They'll work initially with the Taclim demonstration with Headbutt Factory PlayStation VR game by Gemdrops, which will be released by the end of this month, and will be offered for free to Taclim owners.
3.Uzer Eugene smart trash can
We all know it's important to recycle. And this gadget can help make you feel both good about doing it, and bad if you don't. Install it on your trash can, then scan an item's barcode before throwing it away to find out if you should be popping it into the blue bin instead. But there's a practical part of this as well: the item will automatically be added to a shopping list so you remember to restock. As you continue to switch items from the garbage to the recycling bin, the app will keep track and help you see how much of an impact you're making. You can also compare your performance with others, and take part in challenges. Certain brands will also reward you for good recycling habits through points that can be converted to vouchers. There's no word, however, if this will work in Canada as well as the brand's home country of France.
4.Belkin charging station for the iPhone and Apple Watch
Available on both wired desktop and portable versions, these chargers do double duty for both of your precious Apple devices, charging an iPhone and an Apple Watch simultaneously. You'll get about two additional charges of the devices with the portable version, and each sells for US$99.
5.Withings Smart Hairbrush
Yes, as if a smart toothbrush wasn't enough, Withings has found a way to integrate smart technology into a hairbrush. The product of a collaboration with Keratase, a Loreal brand, the brush has a series of sensors that analyses both your brushing habits and your hair health. It will let you know, for instance, if you're brushing too vigorously by vibrating, or if your hair is dry, and provide tips and recommendations on how to improve the quality of your hair. Sync it to the app to see all of the metrics. It will be available some time mid-2017 for about US$200. While it's interesting as a consumer product, it could have potential in the hair care industry as well. And it's a great marketing machine for Loreal products. But it doesn't seem like the type of product that will get as much attention as the company has with other gear in its lineup that has been on the mark, from blood pressure monitors to smart scales and no-contact thermometers.