Today saw my first ever visit to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. I spent it at Tech West, which focused on wearables, 3D printing and the smart home.
As you would expect there was no shortage of engaging products and displays:
Rocket shoes (which, tempted as I was, I didn’t think was the most sensible thing for me include in my ankle rehab program!)
The in-home robot – which looked very cool, but while I didn’t have a full demo the features that I saw which enabled the robot to dance to a tune of your selection and move its eyes to ‘greet visitors in a more natural fashion’ (really??) didn’t leaving me feeling that this was a must have just yet.
The breathing chair. Again, I didn’t get to try this one out, but I’m not quite sure of the use case for a chair to assess your breathing. If you’re not breathing, you don’t normally need a chair to let you know!
I was particularly interested to see the wearables section, but while there is definitely a shift from wearables purely as fitness trackers to more integrated health management devices, there wasn’t anything that I saw being a major game changer. The ongoing battle to integrate data from multiple sources to translate into meaningful, actionable outcomes continues — with some progress — but again, no definitive solution in my opinion.
What I did see was a growing proliferation of devices monitoring things that I just struggled to see the need to monitor. This monitored bed for kids was a case-in-point, where the quality of their sleep was quantified and the marketing appeared to suggest that if parents weren’t actively ensuring their kids had a great sleep, then their academic and sporting performance could suffer. A whole new round of mother guilt coming up if that one takes off!
Interestingly, the rapidly emerging smart home category is facing the same challenges as wearables; how to consolidate data from multiple products and providers into an integrated, consumer friendly solution. That said, there were some really interesting concepts on display here. I particularly liked this kitchen of the future with recipes projected onto kitchen surfaces, using up products that the smart fridge showed had upcoming expiry dating!
The section that blew my mind was 3D printing. The sheer number of exhibitors here was incredible, with the speed of product development moving incredibly fast while the price decreases at seemingly the same pace.
There were examples of printed food — personalised selfie wedding cake toppers anyone?
To more practical everyday options:
Even a band playing instruments which had been 3D printed!
The associated scanning technology has also increased in leaps and bounds, with the quality of the images just amazing. The development of this tech is moving at an incredibly fast pace, and will bring enormous disruption to patents and IP. I can’t see any outcome that doesn’t see a really significant change in the way the IP of physical design is viewed and valued in the very near future as a direct consequence of 3D printing.
The other great thing about today was the opportunity to meet up with a number of other Glass Explorers, some of whom I had met previously but the majority of whom I’d only met online in the Explorer community. Many thanks to Cecilia Abadie for coordinating the meet up and bringing us all together!
The next couple of days see me attending the Digital Health summit, so I”m really looking forward to hearing what the broader industry’s thoughts are on both the opportunities and the challenges in this space. I’ll keep you posted.