3-D printing, wearable technologies and robots are all making headlines for their Jetsons-quality lifestyle implications.
These are not prototypes. High tech isn’t as conceptual as it once was. I walked the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from January 7 to 10 in Las Vegas and I can tell you first hand that these technologies are here and they are real, and to my surprise, they are not intimidating at all. They are thrilling, especially to a tech-novice like myself.
Ahead-of the-curve gadgets are reaching more than the geeks who seek them out. New technologies are becoming more understandable, affordable and available to the mainstream.
I could find a personal use for just about everything I saw on the show floor. And most of these gadgets look as good as they work.
Here are some of the trends I predict you will get used to seeing around in the next year.
Style enhances function. If you are going to use something every day, you want to look as good as it works. Tech equipment is getting prettier. Check out Uniden’s Cellular Signal Booster and Teenage Engineering's speakers for examples of uber stylish tech. There was also a surplus of stylish vintage-inspired gadgets with lots of throwback-looking jukeboxes, microphones and headphones.
Changing the scale. Measuring is going really high tech. Tanita was one of the first scales to show at the CES Digital Health Conference. As competitors starting coming in this company introduced a wide array of scales to measure just about everything and you can do it your bathroom or the doctor’s office. There are all kinds of tracking devices but my new favorite is the SugarSenz by Glucovation, which monitors your blood sugar so you learn how your individual body metabolizes sugar, so you can eat (and diet) more efficiently. Lumo monitors how you are standing and Hollywog’s Neubac device uses electromagnetic waves to numb back pain on the go.
Two in one. Companies like AwoX are bringing dual uses to everyday products. The brand’s new StriimLight technology streams music from your phone or computer to your room through a lightbulb. ivee alarm clocks also function as wireless voice-activated personal assistants answering you with the time, weather, stock prices and more.
The 3D craze. Everyone is talking about 3D printing and its possibilities. RoBo3D is bringing its well-known quality printers to consumers. WhiteClouds allows you to doodle your ideas for a skilled technician to create for you to print…sort of a like a cake recipe that just requires you to break an egg.
A new way to get around. Not since the Segway have we seen this many new types of transportation. More than one auto brand introduced an enclosed motorcycle. My favorite is the Kobo from Lit Motors. Its gyroscopes keep you from tipping over.
Sharper hearing. Hearing takes center stage and “readers for your ears,” a.k.a. gadgets to help you hear, are cropping up. Beans by Etymotic come in platinum, bronze and brushed gold. Music was big in a different way than just hearing it through speakers, spanning out to instruments and musician-inspired tech with electronics bringing new relevance to artists from Vanilla Ice to 50 Cent.
Let the robot do it. There is a robot for everything. Ecovacs Robotics had its FAMIBOT out in full force. This robot is a companion, entertainer, personal home network connector and security guard all in one.
I’m looking forward to seeing these gadgets at retail and becoming a part of our daily scenery. WF
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at email@example.com. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online, 1/21/14