We came. We saw tech. We geeked out.
Like the other 170,000-plus attendees, I’m still coming down from the tech high that was the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. With 2.2 million square feet of gadgets, everyone from Samsung to the Girls Scouts were showcasing the latest advancements in technology. It was a jam-packed and memorable few days, culminating with my last stop on the show floor, when I competed against a beer-pong playing robot. Here are some of the most interesting finds from the show.
3-D Systems, 3-D Printers CocoJet and EKOCYCLE
There were enough 3-D printers on the floor this year to fill a football field. One company to keep your eye on: 3-D Systems. Their booth sure caught everyone’s attention, with a 3-D printed band playing tunes, models striking poses in 3-D dresses, 3-D printed candy emojis for snacking and celebrity sightings galore. The company produces an array of impressive 3-D printers for personal and professional use, and they can print ceramics, edibles, medical parts, plastics, metals and more. Two other standouts from their product line: I finally got a sneak peek of the Hershey’s CocoJet printer, which lets you design your own chocolate (there was big buzz last year around this announcement). And I had a nice chat with CEO Avi Reichental and will.i.am, who is 3-D Systems’ chief creative officer, regarding the EKOCYCLE Cube, which, in partnership with the Coca-Cola Company, can print from recycled plastics.
Blue Maestro’s Smart Pacifier (prototype), available for pre-order, $40
Blue Maestro introduced Pacif-i, the world’s first smart pacifier. The super slick-looking pacifier doesn’t just soothe, it also takes the baby’s temperature, and shares that data with an app on your iOS or Android mobile device. It even has a “proximity sensor,” which lets parents know if their child is wandering.
Zolt Portable Charger, $79.99 pre-order, then going up to $99.99
I could really use this when traveling for work! Laptop computers are becoming thinner, sleeker and more stylish, but, up until now, laptop power supplies have remained the same heavy, predictable bricks. The Zolt Laptop Charger Plus has a style all of its own. It’s four times smaller and three times lighter than most chargers and, as an intelligent charger, it can simultaneously charge your laptop plus two additional mobile devices. Bonus: when it’s charging, it doubles as a nightlight.
The Axxess CE Air2 Wireless Levitating Speaker K, $199
It’s the power of magic! Or, errr, magnets! Regardless, the wireless levitating speaker made by Axxess CE looks pretty darn cool. It takes only a few tries to get the magnet centered and floating off the base. (The unit also comes with a “cheat” mechanism to help place it if you get frustrated, but you’re way cooler if you do it on your own). Decent audio quality, and since the speaker base is magnetic, it can also stick to different objects.
Grush: the Gaming Toothbrush for Kids, $59
I remember taking these horrible-tasting pills when I was a kid that turned my teeth colors so I could see where I didn’t brush. Kids these days have it much easier with Grush: the Gaming Toothbrush, which turns brushing your teeth into a video game. Relying on a brush with motion sensors and wireless technology, kids get to play an interactive game on a mobile device that instructs them where to brush. Parents can see, via the app, where the kids are brushing and where they’re missing out. With this kind of fun motivation, your child’s smile will thank you!
ACTON RocketSkates, $499
Another Kickstarter success story, RocketSkates blasted past its funding goal by about half a million dollars. These futuristic-looking skates strap on to any shoe and can hit speeds up to 12 miles per hour (you customize the speed via an app). Just turn the skates on with the big shiny button in the back and tilt slightly forward to start moving, or back to hit the brakes. On a charged lithium ion battery, they can take you about six miles in 45 minutes before they need more juice. Make your skating outing a social affair by connecting with other skaters on the app. It definitely took some getting used to, but I have to say, I haven’t had this much fun since an Evan’s Skateland couples-only skate (shout-out to Erie, PA!).
mamaRoo 3.0 app-controlled infant seat, $269.99
4moms has always been one step ahead when it comes to practical, future-forward baby gadgets. Now, the 4moms updated mamaRoo 3.0 is the first-ever app-controlled infant rocking seat. That’s right, you can control the seat’s motions, speeds and sounds from your iOS or Android device, even if you’re momentarily in the other room.
And, last but not least, always leave room in your schedule for an unexpected time burglar at CES. This year it was a beer-pong playing robot, which managed to defeat me, despite many years of practice.