The convention that typically attracts hundreds of thousands of industry professionals, innovators, and media to Las Vegas convened on screen with an always-impressive schedule of speakers and exhibitors (what I consider the most exciting part). Each year we look to CES to identify the trends that will emerge in consumer technology; the following are 4 themes we expect to grow in 2021.
CES is no stranger to cutting-edge health and wellness technology. This year, the innovations were largely in response to fighting the pandemic.
Arguably the most obvious category within COVID-related technology is smart masks. You’ve likely experienced the pain of taking phone calls on the go with a mask on, MaskFone helps keep people protected with a mask while still being able to take calls and listen to music with integrated earbuds. LG unveiled its air purifying mask with dual fans and a patented respiratory sensor to detect the wearer’s cycle of breathing.
The days of your traditional oral thermometer are dwindling as smart thermometers were a “hot” item amongst exhibitors as well. Take the Ettie doorbell, for example. The doorbell uses a built-in infrared sensor to check a visitor's temperature, then logs the data with their photo to a corresponding app. BioIntelliSense’s BioButton helps monitor COVID-19 symptoms at home, work or school with its FDA-cleared medical-grade wearable for continuous vital sign monitoring.
While many Americans are still working from home due to the pandemic, companies across the country are considering what a remote team would mean for business even after it’s safe to reenter the office. Naturally, innovators have developed technology with the home headquarters in mind.
Starting with creating a more comfortable home office, the X-HMT ergonomic massage chair received a lot of attention for its therapeutic heating technology and four combinations of massage. To address the fear of not turning your video camera off after a meeting, Dell introduced SafeShutter in its new series of laptops as an automated, integrated webcam shutter to physically block the camera when it’s not in use.
What would a CES roundup be without a robot? Samsung created the Bot Handy to help with chores around the home that is now used for work, school, and daycare on top of all its normal functions. The Bot Handy uses AI to recognize and pick up objects around the house — it even helps unload the dishwasher!
Photo: Mercedes-Benz AG
A mainstay at every CES is the transportation category and this year was no different. Registrants enjoyed a keynote by Mercedes-Benz, along with updates to its electric vehicle showcased last year — the very futuristic looking AVTR. Mercedes also revealed Hyperscreen, a single piece of glass that spans the entire dashboard with three OLED touch screens powered by an eight-core processor.
With a very sci-fi spin, GM presented a flying Cadillac. The machine, designed to carry one passenger, takes off and lands vertically at speeds up to 55 MPH. Whether sky or land, sustainable materials and electric power reign supreme among transportation innovations.
2020 was the year for home renovations, so 2021 is the year to outfit your new construction with the latest home entertainment technology. Catching our eye on the TV scene this year was LG’s invisible television. That’s right, it’s see-through — the perfect solution for those averse to the aesthetics of traditional TV sets.
With so much time at home, many have turned to their gaming consoles for entertainment. Razer’s Project Brooklyn is a fully immersive, gaming chair that transforms into an entertainment powerhouse packed with panoramic visuals, tactile feedback, and a transformable table for PC and console gaming.
Despite not feeling the usual energy in the packed Vegas showfloor, CES 2021 left us feeling inspired and hopeful for where consumer technology will take us this year.
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