LAS VEGAS Ė The Consumer Electronics show curtain raiser, dubbed "CES Unveiled," offered a glimpse of consumer market trends and how small and mid-sized companies are leveraging emerging technologies to create variations on existing products.
One unmistakable trend here is the proliferation of devices using wireless (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) and sensors, along with gadgets designed to work with apps running on smartphones and tablets.
In the pages that follow, we highlight some of the latest devices that just might catch on with consumers in 2013.
A stylish stylus
Dexim Santom USA showed several products, including the "Music Talking Stylus" designed for use with iPhones and iPads. Besides serving as a touch-screen stylus, the pen communicates via Bluetooth to your smartphone and tablet, allowing users to wirelessly listen to both music and phone messages. The stylus comes with a built-in volume button.
The personal drone sounds like Big Brother at home, but I could see some applications such as following those with early onset Alzheimers. They could take walks with the drone available in case they become disoriented. Sounds like snooping, but as someone who had parents with health issues, it takes a real burden off the caregivers.
Also, the use of alternatives to prison sentences for minor offences is increasing. This would allow someone with an electronic handcuff to go to certain locations and still be monitored. This a lot cheaper than institutionalizing. In California, this is a major issue with prison overcrowding.
A couple years back, a family friend got an old fashioned "slot car set" for Christmas. While our kids were off playing their new video games, we were playing with the slot cars and soon, they were all gathered around wanting their turn. However, the intrigue wore out when the physical limitations became obvious. I suspect similar things with the battling robots. The capabilities of an virtual robot far outweigh those present in a "reasonably" price robot. Great fun initially but destined for the storage closet.
Nothing revolutionary here, but still some interesting and useful gadgets. The Nectar power source would be a great asset on a camping trip, but might be a bit heavy to carry while backpacking.
The Ego cameras are also intriguing -- perhaps a nice alternative to the GoPro for winter sports, off-roading, etc.
The personal drone strikes me as a bizarre product. If I ever saw one of those things following me, I would be seriously tempted to shoot it down :)