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Second-hand reporting from CES 2024

Each year, I pay a vicarious visit to CES, the mega consumer technology show held in Las Vegas each January. Here’s some of the products I didn’t see up close and personal:

ZDNet did a best-of-the-best roundup, and not surprisingly it focused on AI technology, which was so central to this year’s show. A few of their choices caught my eye. The TimeKettle X1 Interpreter Hub got their nod as the best overall AI device which “delivers real-time translations in up to 440 languages, with nearly no latency and high accuracy.” It can be used for everything from one-on-one conversations to “real-time translations for up to 20 people in five different languages.” Sounds amazing, and also something that will put a lot of interpreters out of work. The best AI innovation title went to Rabbit’s RI, a hardware device AI assistant that goes well beyond telling you who won last year’s Super Bowl or playing your favorite song. According to its makers, the R1 can “book an Airbnb for you, shop for groceries online and checkout, or start a return for that impulsive Black Friday purchase.”

Everything on ZDNet’s list wasn’t 100% AI-focused. It chose the Holoconnect Holobox as the show’s best overall innovation. This product isn’t quite ready for primetime. No price given, but it’s expensive and it’s the size of a phone booth (which may not mean anything for the youngs, but does let us olds know how big it is – which is too darned big for most people’s living rooms), “but the idea of video calls of the future becoming holograms is super compelling.”

If you’re in the market for a fitness tracker for your dog, ZDNet named the Minitailz Smart Dog Collar the best tech accessory. I’m not sure I need to know how much sleep my pup’s getting, but “one of its most important features is its ability to detect early symptoms of heart disease, potentially saving your dog’s life.”

Tech Crunch devoted coverage to CES 2024’s tech transportation offerings. What stood out for Tech Crunch was that CES is becoming an important auto show, which – as a car guy – works for me. They noted that the US Big Three automakers, along with many other major players (Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, VW…) were all there, with EV’s and AI being the center of attention. ChatGPT voice assistants may well be in your automotive future, as will more and more autonomous driving features, and more and more in-vehicle information and entertainment options.

It wasn’t just cars that Tech Crunch had its eye on. “Electrification has seeped into every corner of transportation from motorcycles and e-bikes to go karts, big rigs, boats and aircraft.” And two new electric scooters from Segway. If you’re more interested in things air-borne, you could go online and buy a personal electric aircraft from Pivotal. If you don’t have the roughly $200K needed for a Pivotal Helix – or even if you do – you may soon be looking to the skies for your Walmart deliveries to come via drone.

Fox News had a report on health tech advances. With the BeamO from Withings, you can do a home health check (including electrocardiogram and oxygen level reading) in just about one minute. If you just want to take your temperature – and do it ultra-fast – there’s the HiitCheck, which lets you measure your temp with your smartphone, in a second without even having to touch your skin. If you or your partner is a snorer, there’s the AI-powered Motion Pillow which “uses sound and pressure sensors to detect your snoring and inflate the airbags to gently move your head and open your airway.” Or you could opt for a full medical AI bed from Ceragem. It may not do much for your snoring, but this “personalized health management platform…can address various health issues, such as abdominal pain, lymphedema, and sleep quality.”

It wouldn’t be CES without robots, so there was the Capsix Robotics iYU “a personal robot masseuse that uses artificial intelligence to customize your massage,” producing an experience that claims to mimic human touch.

NBC News also did some reporting on the robotic action at CES. One of the robots they noted was Doosan’s robot bartender, which provides an alternative relaxing method to a massage. It “uses AI to analyze each person’s facial expression and creates a bespoke cocktail based on the customer’s mood.” Interesting…

NBC also showcased a couple of robotic suits, assistive technology for those needing help walking, running or exercising. Then there’s the PalmPlug, which is not a full suit, but rather a small glove that provides physical therapy for stroke victims. There’s also the Augmental MouthPad which looks somewhat like a retainer and “allows users with physical disabilities to control their touchscreens using their tongues.”

Some technology is just plain fun (like the robot bartender) – and that’s fine – but to me it’s the assistive technology that’s the tech world at its finest.

Anyway, that’s it for what I saw through the lens of a number of media outlets at CES 2024.