Text your fridge to find out
Consumer Electronics Showcase or as it’s now known — the International CES is a consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Started in 1967 in New York, CES is the place where the world is given a peek at the latest in electronics and technology products.
Connected devices are the star of this years technology trends. Connected appliances (LG), smart TVs, a Bluetooth meat thermometer and yes, even an Internet capable toothbrush (the Kolibree).
If you never thought you may end up texting your washing machine, think again. LG showcased a full line of smart appliances including a fridge, a washing machine, an oven and even a vacuum. Imagine for a second texting your oven to start preheating, your washing machine to kick off a load you prepped, your fridge to see if you need to pick up milk on the way home or your robot vacuum to tidy up the living room. If none of that interests you, at least you’ll be able to text home and see if you left the oven on.
In technology, sometimes the simplest ideas work best. In wearable tech, the June bracelet from Netatmo aims to be the simplest.
While the June bracelet looks like a jeweled armband, in fact it is carefully monitoring your sun exposure.
Paired with an application where you can enter some personal information like your skin type, June will tell you when to apply sunscreen or get out of the sun altogether. If bracelets aren’t for you, June comes as a brooch too.
More traditional looking
In other wearable technology, the Pebble smartwatch got a high-end redesign in the Pebble Steel. In a surprising move, the Pebble Steel declines to use the ubiquitous touch screen common to other smartwatches. Instead, there are actual physical buttons. The end result is a smaller, lighter and more traditional looking watch than may finally get buy in from the mainstream.
If you were watching for futuristic tech at CES 2014, you wouldn’t have to look farther than the Goji Smart Lock. We’ve seen the Goji smart lock before, but the recent enhancements push it from a cool idea right into the realm of sci fi. Think of the artificially intelligent house from the Simpsons, but without the bad attitude. The idea behind this lock is to remove the need for traditional keys.
Instead, you unlock your door with an app on your phone or an electronic device called a fob. But the coolest feature of the Goji has to be the camera which snaps a picture whenever someone knocks on the door. More than that, the smart lock will then sends a notification to your phone with the picture.
Don’t worry about power outages with the Goji smart lock. There is a hidden traditional key slot if the power is out and the internal power supply is depleted. Extra features include managing the users that have access to your lock and a log of who has accessed the system.
Runner up in futuristic style, the LaCie Sphere hard drive. A cool chrome sphere to add to your desktop or smart TV. Not as compact as traditional external drives and more expensive to boot but it looks like a mirror Van de Graaf generator.
One of the hippest items on display was the confidently retro Polaroid Socialmatic camera. Strongly reminiscent of the old school Polaroid cameras from my youth, the Socialmatic boasts some awesomely updated technology.
The biggest changes are the touch screen where you can edit your images before printing them as stickers using the built in inkless printer.
Almost as interesting as what was presented at CES 2014 was what was missing. Most notably and unlike at last year’s event, there were no booths handing out 3D glasses. Despite costly development and promotional efforts, there has remained little consumer interest. Instead, many television manufacturers are focussing on the next big thing, 4K or ultra-high definition TV. Does this remind anyone else of the high fidelity (Hi Fi) movement from the 70s? 4K is to televisions as quadraphonic sound is to stereos, right?
Jon Reid is an IT professional working in Corner Brook. His column appears every other Tuesday in The Western Star.