CES is one of my favorite conferences to attend, because it offers a small glimpse into the future. Sometimes it’s an alternate future where crazy and impractical products are funded and introduced, but it’s a great way to see trends. A lot of companies pre-announce products that they plan to introduce later in the year, so you can’t always count on the product actually hitting the shelves.
This year, sensors are all over the place. Parrot is introducing a sensor that will tell you when your plants need to be watered. It also comes with an app to tell you about plant care, so even people who thought they were brown thumbs would have a chance at gardening. An entire section of the trade show floor is dedicated to step sensors, heart monitors, and other self-care sensors that work with your smart phone. There’s even a fork that senses how fast you eat and gives you feedback to encourage slower meals. Several companies introduced sensors that can be used to track lost children or adults. One company cleverly had the sensor inside a phone-watch that could be called by up to five different pre-approved numbers.
Not only did Lego introduce an update to the Mindstorms, they’ve got competition in the cool brick space.
Your next phone is probably going to be a phablet, and it’s probably going to be waterproof. It’s going to connect wirelessly with everything using NFC assist to make Bluetooth pairing faster, and it’s going to charge inductively. Companies would really like you to upgrade your TV into an ultra-high resolution screen. Sony is even willing to re-digitize portions of their media holdings to get you to do it. Sony didn’t mention a word about 3D TV, by the way. Hisense introduced a glasses-free 3D TV. (The results were better than one of those Cracker Jack prizes that you tilt to see it move, but still not as good as The Hobbit in high frame rate.)
There are also battling robots in the future, and your car will always know where you’ve parked (and probably will rat you out to your insurance company if you speed). Your camera will run Android, even if it is not your phone. No hover boards so far, but there are a few days of trade show left.