I was lucky enough to attend CES 2021 in its first all-virtual format – and the 51st edition of the show did not disappoint. I may not have travelled to Las Vegas, but my dining room in England’s East Yorkshire didn’t feel too remote. If 2020 was the year of staying at home, then 2021 is perhaps the year of playing at home. Here are a few of my personal CES highlights, giving us insights in to what a truly connected home might look like very soon.
As homes have become offices, we have all adapted our working lives with home tech becoming critically important. Highlights in this area include TP-Link; ensuring effective WiFi optimises devices throughout the home. The Deco Voice X20 mesh WiFi network provides integrated speakers and Alexa coverage at every extender – making it easy to turn on those tunes and relax after a hard day’s work. Vuzix’s MicroLED smart glasses also augment the remote working experience – and their sleek and minimalistic design are straight out of a Bond film. The glasses enable users to project and interact with displays on the interior of the glasses. Spatial also weighed in with a solution to the remote working environment – using its impressive and accessible AR/VR platform to provide greater team collaboration which can sometimes falter with distance.
Your home is now also likely to be your gym and exercise space – CES 2021 showcased a plethora of home-workout solutions. Liteboxer combines boxing and gaming, bringing the excitement of the ring to any room. The Mudra smart band also showed a unique solution to help users control their Apple Watch, by capturing neural signals from the brain through electrodes which enable hands-free gesture control. And if you are simply using your living room for entertainment then you may like TCLs ‘affordable’ range of 8K TVs and LG’s rollable phone.
If you haven’t got access to green space, Gardyn unveiled the first automated vertical produce-growing system – simply plug and grow your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. If you’re looking for a convenient snack during a break from online calls ColdSnap shared its pod-based ice cream making machine. And if you need an extra pair of hands around the home, you might want to consider Samsung’s BotHandy to help with those chores.
If you’re worried about what home working is doing to your diet and health, you might be intrigued by Toto’s smart wellness toilet – a concept product that will scan a user’s body and waste to provide dietary recommendations, in a touchless configuration. If that smart loo is increasing toilet traffic in your house, Lutqi’s Luft Duo is a stylish, filterless portable air purifier that may just help!
Struggling to get up in the winter mornings, then Mogg is a smart egg that requires you to run it under the tap to turn the alarm off. The clock will reward you for your morning timeliness and ‘hatch’ virtual animals with continued use. If you are looking for something a bit more tactile, then there’s the Petit Qoobo, a furry therapeutic robotic pet that waves its tail when stroked. If the restrictions on this planet are starting to get to you, the Vaonis Vespera smart-telescope makes an automated inter-planetary search exceptionally easy.
As we will all need masks for the foreseeable future, unsurprisingly CES exhibited a number of nifty solutions. Razer’s Project Hazel is a transparent smart mask installed with rechargeable ventilators, enabling users to easily communicate with the mask on. For trips out into the wider world, when we are allowed, there is Sono’s Sion EV, the first electric vehicle with integrated solar panels enabling it to charge on the go or perhaps the Audi eTron GT concept is more up your street. Or how about this first autonomous eVTOL Drone Air Taxi – just imagine how good that could be when we’re allowed back in the pub!
I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour round CES 2021 – who knows what the future will look like next year. But one things for sure, companies will continue to innovate and develop new products and services to improve our connectivity, enabling us to work and learn more easily and effectively from our smart homes.