CES 2013 Roundup: My Fave New Tech (and Vapourware)

This year's CES did not disappoint offering innovations from the ridiculous to the sublime. You probably have your favourites, or if you didn't have time, you're probably wondering what was there. Well, you can either sift through the massive amount of press releases from the show, or you can check out my picks below. That's right, I sacrificed my time and did the hard work of pouring over press releases, reviews and news articles, watched videos and listened to terrible keynotes in order to bring you my favourites from International CES 2013. Here are the items that stood out for me:

My Vote for Best in Show: Golden-i Headset for Emergency Crews

This is probably the best use of cloud and micro-computing I have seen in a while and it would make me feel a lot better to know that the emergency crews in my city were benefitting from this technology. According to this CNET article, this headset boasts: " a 14-megapixel camera, GPS, gesture control, speech recognition, and a micro display at the end of the headset stalk that simulates a 15-inch screen. A microSD port allows the user to record images or video during use." Also: noise-cancelling microphone, Bluetooth, Wifi, LTE, GPS and potentially environmental or biometric sensors to relay info back to base about the conditions being faced by the crew members. No word on whether the software can do augmented reality, but honestly, that's got to be the no-brainer next step. Incredible piece of technology. I sincerely hope this one doesn't become vapourware.



Best Vacation Gadget: DiCAPac waterproof smartphone case

You're on holiday and you forget that you have your phone in your pocket when you run into the surf. Or you go to the theme park and do the log ride only to discover that your phone is waterlogged and you are nowhere near a container of rice. No worries, DiCAPac has a cheap waterproof case to protect your phone. Not exactly seksy, but definitely handy.

Credit: DiCAPac

Best Kickstarter Project of CES: CST-01 World's Thinnest Watch 

According to the Kickstarter, CST-01 is "a 0.80mm thin flexible wristwatch with an E Ink display housed in a single piece of stainless steel." and it's gorgeous. Now, granted, none of us actually *need* watches with clocks being available on every single device that surrounds us, but this is a very funky and simple accessory. Quite the conversation starter, if nothing else.  

Best Potential Product for Designers: APen Touch8 Smart Pen 

A wireless stylus that can work on any screen or tablet. Even a Blackberry. Edit docs, scribble on drawings, sketch... this is something I could see being incredibly useful at work and at home. Despite CNET's reported problems using it, I think this one has the potential to make editing and designing user interfaces, graphics, getting client feedback, etc. all a whole lot easier. I hope they can work out the bugs, because I just love this one.

Greenest Device: Impecca Bamboo Device Keyboard

This striking piece of tech is not only made from bamboo, but it's wireless and mostly biodegradable. I do wonder how one of these feels after 3 hours of typing but they sure are purdy. No pics of the smaller device-friendly keyboards on their site, but their full-sized desktop keyboards are might nice.
Credit: Impecca

Most ridiculous gadget: iPotty for iPad

If you're not grossed out enough by the idea of people taking their phones to the bathroom, now you can teach your own kid this habit from the time they are in diapers. The iPotty is a potty that has an iPad holder, so you can distract your kid with fun games while they sit on the little plastic throne. I won't mention here the fact that billions upon billions of children have been potty trained without tech. (Including mine) Nope. Not going to mention it.



Most Sci-Fi Gadget: Scanadu Scout Portable Medical Scanner (possible vapourware)

All of you Trekkies will love this one: the medical scanner? That non-invasive tool used by the medical officer in sick bay to figure out what's wrong with the crew of the Enterprise? Yeah, it's here. Sort of. The little Scanadu scans your temple to report on your biometrics within 10 seconds (blood flow, blood oxygen level, electrical heart activity (ECG), temperature, and heart rate). Not only does this one gadget have all the geek cred you could ever want, but it would be great for parents to check on their sick kids. Anything to avoid sticking a thermometer into any orifice!


Most Likely Vapourware (yet again): Smart Kitchens

Once again, the appliance vendors have built touchscreens, wifi and other computing capabilities into their machines and promised us that this is the year of the smart kitchen. Whatevs. (Anyone else remember the same promises in 1999, like the Electrolux Screen Fridge?) Yeah, me too. Although I can control my home alarm, temperature settings and even my AV from my Android phone, I still think it's going to be a while before my fridge orders milk on my behalf (let's not forget how few online grocers there are in Canada to begin with...). What I see is great apps, but I don't have a single (new) appliance in my (new) house that can interface with these. Considering I had my last appliances for the 11 years I was in my old house, and these big ticket items are usually only replaced as required, it will be quite some time before we all have connected devices with interfacing capabilities in our homes. Anywho, check out Whirlpool's beautiful app in the video below. An actual connected appliance appears at 2:57. (Note this video is from last summer, not from CES but it highlights was Whirlpool was demo-ing at CES.)

So, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Find something that blew you away? Do share in the comments.