I’m back and still processing the sensory overload that was CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show), where brands big and small trot out their biggest and brightest innovations. I saw concept cars and outlandish Virtual Reality spectacles, but there were a handful of things that I’ll be waiting by my mailbox for— things that were beautifully wearable and incredibly useful. Most of these items are not yet available, but here are my best of CES 2017— check them out and then tell me you’re not excited for the future.
Cubit is a smart measuring tape. Well, it’s a measuring wheel, to be exact. You run it around a room and it will create a map for you in real time. Or you can use it with a smartphone photo to make a to-scale image of a space you want to hang a picture, or place a sofa in. Seeing Cubit was one of those moments at the show where I felt my heart swell. This is an extraordinary piece of technology that solves real problems for real people.
It’s hard to explain, though— watch this video and you’ll get it.
Misfit Ray with Paracord band
I’ve been loving my Misfit Ray for a while now— with it’s no-need-to-charge battery and it’s small form factor, it blends in nicely with other jewelry I’m wearing and tracks my sleep, steps, calories and more. With more colors and these pretty tasseled bands, I’m thinking of it more like a coveted accessory and less like a “wearable” (which makes it more wearable, no?).
Samsung Flex Wash and Flex Dry
I don’t know what it is about laundry, but the idea that a machine could help make easier work of this everyday, inescapable task is always a romantic notion to me. The Samsung Flex Wash and Flex Dry units are two in one, so the washer has a smaller wash basin up top for you skivvies while your jeans and sweatshirts spin below; the dryer has a large bowl for your sheets and towels and a drying rack up top for teddy bears, cashmere sweaters, and anything else that needs special laundry attention.
Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug
Smart plugs are outlet covers that allow you to control anything you plug into them with a smartphone app (think turning on a lamp while you’re away from home, or starting your toaster from bed). They are usually big and bulky and end up annoyingly blocking both outlets, replacing your two with one. So this upgrade from Belkin is a small but mighty step forward— you can stack two of them on top of one another, and the profile isn’t too big to slide a couch in front of.
Don’t call it a composter— the Zera Food Recycler from Whirlpool Labs doesn’t want you to think about churning worm soup in your backyard. Instead, it promises to turn your food scraps into ready-to-use fertilizer for your garden, cutting back on your landfill contributions all while looking stylish in your kitchen. The video doesn’t offer too much insight into how this machine magically turns banana peels and egg shells into compost without making your kitchen smell like rotting food, but I love that Whirlpool has this lab inside their large corporation that is innovating in cool and unusual ways.
Norton makes software that protects your computer (and your children) from cyber threats. At CES 2017, they reintroduced themselves as a hardware company, with a revolutionary wireless router. Norton Core (which looks a bit like a silver faceted soccer ball, delivers a powerful defense against malware, viruses, hackers and the perils of online life for kids, all while being blazingly fast. All while giving you a FICO-like “Security Score” you can track on an app that simplifies complex concept and offers suggestions to keep you (and your data) safe.
Now that I have one kid behind the wheel (!), I’m on the hunt for solutions that make driving safer and offer less distractions. I jumped behind the wheel for a Navdy demo, and was impressed by what I saw— a piece of glass that rests on your dashboard and projects turn-by-turn directions and other car controls onto your windshield. Everything is in front of you, so your eyes are never off the road. Navdy speaks to you as well, and you can answer, use a dial on your steering wheel, or gesture with your hand to control. Oh, and I have a little geek crush on Adam Lisagor, who made their video— he’s my favorite salesman for all these high tech gadgets.
Another car innovation, this one brings safety features to the deserving masses. For under $500, Pearl gives you a wireless backup camera that’s as easy to install as a license plate cover, which you can view from a dashboard-mounted app on your phone. A genius idea with an easy installation that can save lives. I’m impressed.
Amazon wasn’t even at CES, but they stole the show. Alexa, their virtual assistant, is being baked into all kinds of products like cars, refrigerators, and this beautiful lamp from GE. The C by GE Connected lamp turns Alexa’s ring into an avant garde work of art— a strikingly beautiful lamp that is waiting for your command, and will answer you with a soft glow and a helpful check of the weather, sports score or whatever else you’d like Alexa to find out for you.
What are you most excited to see on this list from CES? Let me know in the comments!