Best of CES 2017

Backtrack

The first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held in New York in 1967 with 200 exhibitors showing their wares and 17,000 attendees being wooed and wowed with the latest gadgets and gizmos. Hot items back then were pocket radios and TV sporting integrated circuits. Fast forward 50 years and the show has moved to Las Vegas, with over 3000 exhibitors and more than 177,000 attendees. Technologies that were the purview of science fiction back in 1967 are now standard including mobile phones, LED displays and PCs.

CES 2017 is all about the Internet of Things (IoT), home automation, thinner televisions and more battery power. So what are the hottest technologies going forward in 2017? Here’s our two cents.

BACtrack Skyn
Backtrack

The BACtrack Skyn should have been invented in Australia. We’re predicting it will be one of the most popular wearable devices of 2017.

BACtrack Skyn is a wearable strap that will track your blood alcohol level in real time. Initially it will have some novelty value, but the undertones of what it can tell the wearer are important the drinking culture that pervades much of Australia.

It is designed to not only give users a real-time trend on their blood-alcohol limit, but will give them a detailed assessment of how quickly they get drunk and sober, as well as how their body handles alcohol consumption.

A cool feature is a tracking app that can tell you when you consumed an alcoholic beverage and when the effects will hit your system

The only downside? Drinking too much that you either forget about it being strapped to your wrist, or you’re too drunk to be able to use it.

Panasonic Bendable Battery
Lithium Ion

We mentioned back in October that Panasonic was developing a bendable/flexible lithium-ion battery, which is expected to be mass produced by 2018. The company claims the battery can be bent up to a 1000 times and retain up to 80 per cent of its capacity.

It was initially thought that it was being designed for the smartphone market. However, of the three units on display at CES, the largest version had a maximum capacity of 60mAh. Most smartphone batteries will have a capacity of more than 3000mAh. It seems these iterations are destined for the wearables market, such as fitness trackers, as well as smartcard applications.

Any device that uses the battery will probably have to be charged wirelessly as the unit will be too thin to accommodate a charging port.

LG Wallpaper TV
LG Flat screen

Another product we mentioned last year – the wallpaper TV – made its debut at CES 2017. LG’s OLED W series is a 4K, 2.57mm-thin, 65-inch unit that can be mounted on a wall utilising magnetic brackets and weighs 7.7kg.

As with all super-thin devices, connectivity is an issue. Instead of wireless connection, users will be able utilise HDMI, USB and optical audio ports on the companion soundbar – a 4.2-channel Dolby Atmos unit.

It will also be available in a 77-inch configuration.

PowerVision PowerRay Underwater Drone
Power Drone

Not too sure how much this one will cost, but could be a boon for people who like their fishing. The PowerRay drone can go underwater up to 30m and records 4K video. It is then streamed – via an app – to your mobile phone, which is how users control the device.

Where fishers will find the drone useful is its Fishfinder sonar. As the name suggests, this add-on finds fish up to 40m away and utilises a blue light that is designed to send the fish your way. Cheating? Who cares? Another extra is virtual reality (VR) goggles that put users in the picture.

Kuri the Robot
Kuri

Kuri is a security camera on wheels. Looking like something out of the motion picture WALL-E, Kuri roams around the home checking in on your kids and household pets, as well as general checking that everything is safe and sound.

It has a 1080p camera, as well as wifi and Bluetooth capabilities. And while it has the ability to cruise around the home it can’t climb stairs so is only beneficial to a single-storey dwelling. If you have more than one floor, you will have to invest in a couple of the devices.

Manufacturer, Mayfield Robotics, says it recognises faces and the context in which it is given commands. While it doesn’t talk – it uses a series of nods and chirp-like sounds – it can play music and tell stories, which is great if you have kids.

One feature the manufacturer will have to work on is its current battery life of three hours. No word if there will be a battery recharge station is can automatically go to if its juice starts running low.

Norton Core Router
Norton Core

What do you get when a company that specialises in online security decides to dip its toe into the tech hardware market? The Norton Core router. Routers are hardly the sexiest piece of gear, but Symantec has managed to add a bit of design panache to this humble piece of tech.

It not only performs its duties as a router, but it is an app-enabled device that Symantec claims will protect all devices connected to it including Macs, smartphones, tablets and PCs.

What we really like though is its design. It is 15cm x 13cm dome-shaped unit that would look at home in any modern surrounds. Its ergonomic shape belies the hardware under its hood, which includes 1GB of system memory, 4B of flash memory and a dual-core 1.7GHz processor.

Symantec says it has team of security experts behind it who are analysing and eliminating cybersecurity attacks worldwide. It also offers updates on cybercrime information and protection mechanisms and will automatically isolate a device that becomes infected.

Smart And Blue Showerheads
Showerheads

This almost doesn’t fit into the electronics category, but if an exhibition that specialises in consumer electronics can spruik this device, who are we to argue?

Its main purpose it to cut down on shower time, thus saving you money on water usage and electricity. It does so by flashing a series of colours, which indicate how long you have been showering – green for normal shower time, through to red whereby you’re being advised it’s time to get out.

For the truly lazy, you can even switch it on before you get out of bed.

Hubble Hugo Robot
Hugo

Yet another robot, although one with a cute disposition – it reads a person’s mood by using face-recognition technology. At first, we’re thinking it could get a little annoying as it follows you around trying to read your frame mind. Its most practical use will be as a baby monitor. If you have a baby that is hitting the high-end of the decibel scale it’ll let you know (okay, we all know that a baby in full cry is NOT hard to hear), while trying to pacify the child with an audio book or music.

It can spin 360 degrees and has the ability to tell people from animals. It also comes with an SD card and you can store up to 24 hours of footage to the cloud.