CES is an annual event put on by the Consumer Electronics Association. All of the major companies are in Las Vegas showing off their latest technology. Smartphones, smart bicycles, smart watches, smart everything. Today kicked off the event with the press day. Every major company had a chance to promo their most impressive new tech for the members of the media who were in attendance. I had my eye on those press conferences and I thought I’d share a few of the innovations that I felt could be relevant for your family. While they may not be products that protect your kids online, they’re definitely going to impact your life and tell us a few things about the direction our society is going.
In Your Home
– Washer and Dryer
How lame is it that I am so excited about this washer and dryer? Seriously though, these things are super cool. Samsung’s Flexwash + Dry features a “twin-wash/dry” system that will let you do four loads at once. The top load washer built in to Flexwash will allow you to wash a seperate smaller load than what’s in the front loader and the dryer has a similar feature to allow you to dry at different temperatures for each compartment. Pretty sweet. Especially for a family like ours that does laundry for six.
This oven by Panasonic is said to cook most recipes in minutes that would normally take an hour or more. This product reminded me of the old Disney “Home of Tomorrow” movies.
– Audio Equipment
While it’s a bit silly to me, our audio listening tech has digressed a bit back to the vinyl age. Panasonic is highlighting their newest turntable and speaker set that provides some of the clearest audio quality around.
– TV “Wallpaper”
While it’s not actually wallpaper, it’s pretty close. LG’s OLED televisions are the width of cardboard. They are so light they can stick to your wall with magnets. My brother, who used to install entertainment systems for Best Buy, told me about the possibilities of OLED years ago and it looks like it’s all coming to pass.
In Your Car
– AI Assistants
Vehicle after vehicle from Chrysler, Toyota, and Hyndai were showing off their ability to use facial and speech recognition to customize the driver experience. They also had new features that would sync with every technology under the sun.
The vehicles highlighted at CES all featured some level of automation. Yes, that’s right. Self driving. Chrysler even had a minivan to show off. Most of them are using “Level 3 Automation” which requires the driver to intervene in certain circumstances. The cars use mirrors, cameras, radar, and gps to drive itself and communicate with other cars and the road infrastructure (where available.) We may not be looking at hovercars or Jetson’s space vehicles yet but having to “intervene” to help your car drive iteslf sounds pretty darn futuristic to me.
Just for Fun
Selfie sticks are out and selfie drones are the new thing. That’s right, this drone will identify with its user and follow his/her face, taking a selfie whenever they do a certain hand motion. There are drones all over CES with different camera qualities and flying abilities. Some with VR and some with AR, it seems that drones are becoming more of an entertainment item now than a photo/video professional tool.
The robots I saw people talking about on press day fell into all different categories. There were some that were for hospitality, some had AI for your smarthome system, there was even one that is designed to help kids with disabilities overcome some of their development issues. Robots are always, always, cool.
– Virtual/Augmented Reality
Finally, this VR thing seems to be staying around. It seems every smartphone manufacturer is providing a way to turn their device into a Virtual Reality headset and the products being promoted at CES were no different. There were new gloves, headsets, bikes, and even a pair of VR shoes that let you feel the virtual world with your feet. Augmented reality was featured at CES as well with a device that will help you find your keys and exercise bikes and other workout equipment.
Thoughts From Day 1
You didn’t see any products on this post that are designed to help your family be safer online but you did see a collection of new tech that proves our homes are becoming more and more connected to the digital world. When your washing machine and exercise bike are using as much computer tech as your smartphone, you know we’re at the point of no return. Some folks wish they had been born years earlier when things were “simpler.” Well, it looks like we are going to have to just get on board or get left behind. Things are progressing towards digital everything faster and faster.
As we raise our children it is important to provide them with the kinds of tools that will help them get ahead in life. Computers designed to help kids learn and exercise equipment that can use their love of gaming to entice them to be more active are tools that can be a blessing and not a burden to our children. Our job is to regulate and even curate their use of these new technological achievements. We must understand what tech they have and what it’s capable of. If we get left behind then we aren’t just putting ourselves at stake, we are putting their safety on the line as well.
I think much of the new technological items being featured for consumer purchase are pretty amazing. This first day of CES has convinced me that some of what I thought was a fad isn’t going away. I recommend you check back in tomorrow and keep your eye on our instagram and twitter as I continue to follow the action at CES and highlight anything I think may be relevant for your family.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODES HERE.