As a first-timer to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it would be no exaggeration to say I was gobsmacked by how incredibly massive the show was. Halls after halls spread across the Las Vegas Convention Centre and other hotels overflowed with exhibitors, overpriced food stands, and throngs of attendees seeking to get a glimpse of technology’s future at #CES2017.
The big brands occupied the largest spaces. To give you a bit of context, Sony’s booth was more than half the size of e27‘s flagship Echelon Asia conference. Then there were whole swathes of sections areas dedicated to just showcasing drones, wearables, audio/video products and a whole dizzying array of cool tech. The halls were so expansive the CES app itself had a GPS-enabled map that help you to navigate to each booth (and I’m not even going to go into the long snake queues for the buses that took you to other convention centres).
But despite the multitude of exhibition spaces, a substantial chunk of the startups were actually concentrated at the Eureka Park Marketplace, a relatively modest hall at the Sands Hotel.
This is by no means meant to disparage or undervalue their accomplishments. In fact, it only serves to emphasise that niftiest – some wacky – innovations do not have to be clothed in flashiest outfits.
Have a look at these 10 cool startups that may intrigue you:
Super realistic face scanner
Bellus3D face camera is so advanced it’s creepy. It is able to measure 500,000 points on a face to construct a hyper realistic 3D image of it – warts and all.
The camera attaches to the top of a smartphone via a USB cable and measures heat and light on the face. To do that, it has two 1.2 MP infrared sensors, one 1.2 MP colour sensor, and two infrared laser structured-light projectors. An optional LED ring light can be attached for more accurate results.
Bellus3D claims it is able to scan a face up to a range of 1 metre, but the optimal distance is between 30 to 60cm. Currently, it is only available for Android devices.
Smart socks that may save your legs
For diabetics, foot ulcers are a serious medical issue that can lead to amputation of the legs. Siren Care wants to tackle this paint point by developing smart socks that can track the temperature of the foot, which is then used to identify potential injuries. It is able to track six plantar positions on each foot. An alert is sent to the app once it has identified a hotspot.
The socks are machine washable. Just be sure not to lose them in the washing machine tumbler.
A wearable that will punish you for bad behaviour
Pavlok wants to help rid of bad habits — the hard way. The wearable is worn on the wrist and delivers a shock to the user when a bad habit is performed. Essentially, it is aversion therapy.
It syncs with Google chrome to track internet usage and browsing habits. So it tracks. So for example, if a user is on Facebook for too long, it will zap them.
Trying to go on a diet? Pavlok will track your arm movement and determine how many spoonfuls you had, and shock you if you go over a preset limit. Sleeping too much? It will track how long you have been inactive, and zap!
Of course, there are bad habits that are more abstract and harder to measure, such as being negative. What Pavlok suggested was users zap themselves whenever a bad thought comes up, so they will associate those thoughts with pain.
The zap has different levels of shock to cater to different pain thresholds. I tried on 20 per cent and it felt like a little sting (Pavlok offered to give me the full load, but I politely declined).
Pavlok also rewards good behaviour. For example, if it sees that you are getting less shocks (which would indicate an improvement in behaviour) it will reward the user with a soothing buzz.
A music controller glove
Specktr is a wireless midi controller that is worn as a glove. Using gestures, a DJ or live musician can manipulate tracks or instruments in these four aspects: fader, potentiometer, notes and hits. One sample can be assigned to each finger. During a demo, the performer demonstrated the volume controller by twisting an imaginary knob back and forth.
A full body scanner that can detect your body fat
ShapScale is a full body scanner that is able to analyse body fat in seconds by measuring the body’s heat and girth. It then displays it in a 3D image, which can be used to set diet and bodybuilding goals by inputting a desired body measurement. The app then tracks progress by informing the user which part of the body has lost or gained fat.
Headphones that helps you fall asleep
Kokoon‘s headphones promises to help you to drift off the sleep easily. The build provides ample comfort to the head using the FlexMould system. There is also active noise cancellation and other disturbance protection. But the most unique feature is its EEG brainwave sensors, which tracks when the user has drifted to sleep, which will then signal to the app to pause the music or audio track.
Bixi is a little gesture controller lets users control their smartphone or other smart devices sans any contact. By waving their palms in a variety of ways, users can control the volume of their music, dim the lights, or take and reject calls, just to name a few examples. It is effective up to a distance of 30 cm.
A scanner that can determine a pill’s chemical composition
The LinkSquare device by Stratio is essentially a spectroscope in the form of a pen. Hold it over a pill and it will use a combination of visible and near-infrared light to determine the pill’s chemical composition, which is then displayed on its app. Currently, it is able to identify 500 different medications.
A device that will help your partner stop snoring
Tired of hearing your partner’s snores? Smart Nora won’t cure it, but it will help alleviate the problem. It uses a microphone (shaped in the form of a pebble) to first detect snoring sounds. Once it has captured the sound, an airbag placed underneath the pillow will be automatically inflated and deflated via a pump connected to a portable case.
Smart Nora claims this action will stimulate the throat muscles, allowing the user to breathe normally and stop the snores.
A smart phone case
i-BLADES‘s phone case is more than just a case, it’s an expansion pack for the smartphone. A detachable pack is affixed to the case, providing more battery life and more memory. Additionally it has a built-in environment sensor that can measure air quality. i-BLADES claims this is only the beginning of a product series. The team hinted that future packs could be outfitted with sensors that can measure the body’s glucose levels and heart rhythms. And with its modular design, users can just stack the packs
Additionally it has a built-in environment sensor that can measure air quality. i-BLADES claims this is only the beginning of a product series. The team hinted that future packs could be outfitted with sensors that can measure the body’s glucose levels and heart rhythms. And with its modular design, users can just stack the packs one on top the other.