Every January, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)) provides industry experts and curious onlookers a glimpse at the latest and greatest offerings in the world of gadgets, appliances, and other electronic consumer items. The 2016 convention, held in Las Vegas, proved no exception as all sorts of companies and innovators eagerly showed off their brand new cutting-edge products.
As the Internet of Things becomes an increasingly relevant and real market consideration for many electronics companies, the wares at CES are showing more and more of a tech bent with each year, and the 2016 convention may have been the greatest proof of that phenomenon yet. It’s not enough to simply have a fridge these days; one’s fridge must be able to track eating habits and automatically generate grocery lists. Such developments and others like it were commonplace at CES and give us great insight into how tech is quickly making our appliances, and therefore our lives, better.
With that in mind, here are 10 great tech tools to help make 2016 your best year yet:
A great example of how simple tech innovations can make even the smallest things in our lives a little easier, the Oombrella, developed by Wezzoo, is a smart umbrella that links to an app that lets you know when it’s about to rain, so you can always remember to take your umbrella with you when you need it.
Pocket VR by Speck
Yes, virtual reality gear like the Oculus Rift is dominating a lot of commercial media outlets, but as VR is becoming cheaper and easier to reproduce on smaller, more streamlined scales, the way is being paved for neat innovations for consumers not willing to spend an arm and a leg. For example, the Pocket VR by Speck, a company most famous for its iPhone (News - Alert) cases, allows you to turn your iPhone into a VR machine with the help of a simple, portable virtual reality lens built into a phone case.
Wearable technology is huge right now, and new products are constantly pushing the limit of just how much a wearable device can do. The Withings Go might just be the most immersive wearable device yet, as it takes all your health tracking data--including exercise, diet, and sleeping habits--and puts it all into one streamlined device-and-app combo.
Sproutling Baby Monitor
Wearables have historically been limited to the fitness space, but they aren’t tailored only to adults trying to watch their health anymore. The Sproutling Baby Monitor has been highly acclaimed as the first ever smart baby monitor, with functions that track a baby’s sleep patterns and determine the optimal time to put a baby to bed, among other things. It’s currently sold out, so clearly people are excited about this new product.
Edyn Garden Sensor and Water Valve
When we think of green tech, we usually think of the large scale projects like Amazon’s wind farms or Microsoft’s underwater data center, but developments like the Edyn Garden Sensor prove that sustainability can happen on the individual consumer level as well. The in-the-ground sensor links to an app on your phone that reports soil conditions, including moisture, light and nutrition, so you can know when to plant what seeds and never over-water your garden again.
Another new wearable device with a twist, the Lumo Run sensor emphasizes maximized exercise efficiency and productivity. The sensor, which you clip to your running clothes (Lumo actually offers their own line of exercise clothing as well) allows for phone-free running and tracks your exercise activity with advanced biometrics, all while offering the option of live audio coaching while you run.
Polar Balance Scale
Another example of the way a simple household device can be updated for maximum impact, the Polar Balance scale takes the mundane process of tracking your weight and syncs it with all sorts of data about your health, so you can get a full glimpse of how you’re doing each time you step on the scales.
The wearable tech bracelet has been done before, and very well, but never quite in the same way that Mira is approaching the market. Their fashion-forward bracelet looks like any piece of subtle, attractive jewelry, but it tracks your health and offers insights through the mobile app just as powerfully as any fitness-oriented wearable might.
Branded as the world’s first-ever “olfactory alarm clock,” the SensorWake uses the psychology of smell recognition to offer users a natural, refreshing way to wake up every morning. Do you associate the smell of coffee with waking up every day? The SensorWake can gradually wake you up through by releasing a coffee-scented aroma as an alarm. The SensorWake has been proven, according to its website, to wake up users fully on average in two minutes or less.
Samsung (News - Alert) Family Hub Refrigerator
One’s first instinct when it comes to many home appliances might be, “Why on earth would I need a smart refrigerator? Mine’s been doing a pretty good job for my whole life.” That may be true, but that isn’t stopping innovation in the field from happening. The Samsung Family Hub has a Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen that can serve as the calendar, to-do list, and general mission control for your family. It even takes pictures of the inside of the fridge every time you open and close the doors, so you can track the status of your food at home live, even while you’re shopping for groceries.
These gadgets are really just touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to amazing consumer devices harnessing the power of smart technology. Are there any other mind-blowing new tech tools you love? Leave a comment below!