Every year in early January, tech companies converge on Las Vegas to show off their latest innovations, gizmos and gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year’s show included a new wearable device from seemingly every company in existence, TVs that can bend at your will and a bed that teaches you the right way to catch z’s. Here are some of the most fascinating devices that were put on display.
Wearable: A Social Connection
Smart watches can provide notifications from your smartphone while fitness bands monitor various data (calories burned, steps taken, hours slept, etc.), but the Razer Nabu (expected Q1 2014) combines both while offering something new—social connectivity. The Nabu uses Pulse, Razer’s proprietary band-to-band communication technology, to detect other nearby Nabu wearers in your social circles. You can even use social discovery apps with Nabu to find complete strangers who share similar interests. The smartband also lets you program gestures to perform functions, such as using a handshake to exchange social profiles or a high five to add a person to your Twitter followers.
Bed: A Better Night’s Sleep
It’s official: There is nothing companies can’t make “smart.” Sleep Number’s x12 bed ($8,000) uses new, intelligent sleep tracking technology called SleepIQ to monitor each person’s presence in bed, average breathing rate, movement and average heart rate, and offer tips on how he or she can sleep better the next night. The bed’s DualAir technology guides each person to their ideal level of firmness, comfort and support on their side of the mattress. The x12 even responds to voice commands, has an anti-snore feature, several massage settings and under-bed lighting.
Controller: The Cameraless Gesture Controller
Last year we saw the rise of camera-dependent gesture control devices such as Leap Motion and Ubi Interactive. Thalmic Labs’ MYO ($149), however, is an armband than senses gestures and motion through your muscles to interpret what your hands and fingers are doing. It then transmits that information over Bluetooth to your digital device of choice. For instance, during a presentation, a swipe of the hand moves forward to the next slide while a circular motion puts an actual circle around an important point.
Smartphone: The Talkative Shutterbug
Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact is more like a camera with smartphone capabilities than just a phone capable of taking pictures. This new smartphone combines a large 1/2.3-inch 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS for mobile image sensor, Sony’s award-winning G Lens and the intelligent BIONZ for a mobile image-processing engine that adds vibrant realism to every shot. Features also include Superior Auto, which recognizes up to 36 scene types and adjusts the settings automatically. The 4.3-inch smartphone is also waterproof and is expected to launch globally by the middle of this month.
TV: To Bend Or Not To Bend
Samsung unveiled its new line of Curved Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs, including what it boasts is the “world’s first and largest” Curved UHD TV at 105-inches. However, one of its more unique offerings is the 85-inch U9B Bendable UHD TV, which can transform from a flat panel to a curve at the push of a button. That gives the viewer the choice between the more standard viewing experience or the curved design and the chance to find out which one really does offer superior viewing angles, higher contrast and a more immersive experience. Expect these TVs to arrive in the second half of 2014.