Seeing the Future at CES

If you want to be more creative, get around creative people.  If you want to spark innovation, immerse yourself in the latest technologies.  If you want to envision the future, tune in to voices shaping tomorrow.

CES is the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.  It highlights the world’s most cutting-edge consumer technologies.  On display:  Fitness devices, 3D printing, robotics, all things motion, educational technologies, cars, audio, video, gaming, sensor technologies, next generation tablets, drones, wearable technologies.

This week, I’m attending the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, dunked in innovation, creativity and the future.  I am enjoying the opportunity to experience the latest technologies.  I’m always amazed at the benefits from attending this conference, including the opportunity to meet with content creators, technologists, thought leaders, and technology executives.  The range of people I was able to see this year ranged from librarians to publishers to university researchers.

There are literally thousands of new things to see, so my brief overview will be a random selection.  With so many interests and things to share, I set a timer to write this post.  When it rings, I will stop.  And I will try to feature a few things you may not see in the mainstream media.  Here we go:

SLEEP:

photo 1-6For those of us with chronic insomnia or sleep problems, there are a number of new apps and devices to help.  One that intrigues me is Beddit.  Beddit doesn’t require you to wear a device at night (which for me makes my sleep even worse).  Instead, you place a sensor under your bed sheet, and it connects wirelessly to your device.  It tracks sleep quality, heart rate, breathing, snoring and bedroom noise.  It then provides personal coaching to improve your sleep.

The best shortcut to being more creative: get around creative people. -Skip Prichard

HYGIENE:

In the “everything seems to be connected” category, Kolibree introduces the world’s first connected toothbrush.  You can watch your brushing habits progress.photo-23

If you wear glasses, look out for a car wash for your glasses.  At $1, it had the “theatre factor” and drew a crowd.  My glasses were clean, dry and sanitized in no time.  Look for these showing up in high-traffic areas or near the beach where everyone wears glasses.

Walking by Panasonic to see the new 4K Toughpad, I noticed a range of beauty products. At CES, you find what you are not looking for and what you don’t expect.

SECURITY:

Who can possibly remember all of the passwords required in today’s digital age?  Now myIDkey uses biometric technology to authenticate your identity and display your information when you need it.  All safely protected with military grade encryption.

photo 5-5Ever worry when the lights go out in a power outage? Worry no more with a light that senses the power is out and stays on.

And to keep your home secure, Okidokeys allows you to unlock doors with any mobile phone or a smart wristband.  Most of us are never out of reach of our mobile phone, making lost keys a thing of the past.

FITNESS AND MEDICAL:

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Are you forgetful?  Have an aging parent?  The Smart Pill Box from imedipac solves these problems.  It even allows alerts to family and relatives.

 

 

Numerous new fitness applications are on display everywhere.  Improve your golf or tennis game with a biometric analysis of your swing.  The new devices go far beyond measuring how many steps you take in a day and now monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, calculating carb intake, maximizing your fitness performance, and even detecting concussions.  Perhaps you want to wear a camera to take your coach into the action.

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing

Photo Courtesy of istockphoto/Henrik5000

Close your eyes and imagine the future. What’s transportation like? How about food preparation? Communication? How about shopping?

Science fiction writers have long allowed us glimpses of possible future worlds. From Star Trek to Minority Report, we are fascinated by the potential of technology.

WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS

One technology that has been around for decades but is only now starting to emerge in the public eye is the world of 3D printing. Science fiction fans, technologists and futurists may grasp this concept faster than most. And though I’m a student of futurists like Dan Burrus, and a frequent attendee of the Consumer Electronic Show, the reality of 3D printing is something my mind struggles to truly grasp.

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, leading experts on 3D printing, have written a new book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. It’s all about “the promise and peril of a machine that can make (almost) anything.”9781118350638

I recently had the opportunity to ask the authors about this new world and where we are headed.

3D PRINTING TODAY

This technology is already in use today. Give us a few examples of where it’s in use, but we may not even think about it.

Yes, 3D printed products do indeed lurk amongst us in our daily lives. Many people don’t realize that 3D printing technology is not new; in fact, 3D printing has been in use in engineering and manufacturing environments as a prototyping tool for decades. If you look around your office or your car, almost every product — your chair, stapler, eyeglass frame and car mirror — probably started their life as a 3D-printed prototype. What’s new is that in the past few years, an increasing number of everyday actual products — not just prototypes used in the product design process — are made using 3D printing.

The medical field has been one of the first industries to embrace 3D printed products. Most hearing aids these days are 3D printed so they fit exactly the shape of your inner ear. Invisalign™ orthodontic braces are 3D printed, which makes sense since a personal and customized fit is critical when it comes to dental work. Many dentists are 3D printing crowns. On the cutting edge, surgeons are experimenting with 3D printed titanium hip and jaw implants designed using medical scans. If you pair a 3D printer with an optical scanner or a medical image, you can make custom prosthetics more quickly and accurately.

In general, the more a product benefits from being customized or personalized, the more likely it will be made via 3D printing. Right now, 3D printing is too slow and too costly for mass production.3-D printed artificial heart valve