The 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up in Las Vegas, Nevada at the end of last week, showcasing the hottest new technologies and giving the most innovative startups an opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In the past, CES has seen the unveiling of a number of products that revolutionized the world of technology - from the camcorder in 1981 to the DVD in 2001. This year, attendees witnessed the debut of a number of new technologies that could revolutionize the new year.
Here are fifteen of this year's most innovative new products that you can actually use to simplify your life:
The latest edition of Lenovo's Logitech Yoga Mouse includes one special feature to benefit consumers - the Windows 10-compatible device is now able to act as a wireless remote control for your media player, presentation software, and any other Windows-based applications. The rechargeable battery lasts up to a month (according to Lenovo) and it has the same twisting and folding capabilities as the brand's famed laptops. It will be interesting to see if this device effectively reinvigorates UXD or if it becomes obsolete and superfluous.
As vehicles get more high-tech, automotive technology has made up a larger portion of the products revealed at CES. This year, the Chevy Bolt EV came out the winner in both the Best Automotive Technology and the Best of the Best Awards by engadget.com. The vehicle is cloud-connected and electric, allowing up to 200 miles per charge according to GM CEO Mary Barra. It is also relatively affordable, with the end cost being around $40k, and is an overall good, low-maintenance car that is perfect for many consumers.
Ili's website claims that this hands-free device will remove language barriers for travelers by acting as a wearable translator - and it doesn't even require WiFi or a 3G connection! At this time, the OS within the device (which allows it to work without any internet access) can only support English, Chinese, and Japanese, the ili includes a library of "travel lexicon" and includes a speaker to project your translated message to whoever you are speaking with.
According to its makers - and those lucky enough to try the prototype at CES - VirZoom is a stationary bike that truly takes you into a virtual world that "gamifies" your workout. All games are included in the cost of the bike, though you must shell out some extra cash to purchase the VR headset that takes you into the digital world. However, this is a truly innovative way to make take your mind off your increased heart rate, boredom, and other mental obstacles because the amount of effort you put into your workout is integrated into the virtual game you are experiencing inside your headset.
The winner of the Hardware Battlefield prize, Nima is the world's first portable gluten sensor. The device is small and portable, giving those with gluten allergies the ability to independently test if their food contains gluten. Disposable pods perform a break-down of food samples and give results within 2 minutes by using antibody tests similar to what is seen in laboratories. Such a gadget is highly useful for anyone who has worried whether or not the restaurant they are patronizing is being entirely forthcoming about the presence of gluten in their recipes.
Coffee-lovers: this one is for you. Bonaverde has announced plans to reinvent the way you think about your morning cup of joe with its device that roasts, grinds, and brews fresh coffee beans within 15 minutes. The company cuts out the middlemen of coffee consumption and links you directly with the farmers who grow your coffee beans by allowing you to order fresh green beans directly. This "smart coffee maker" aims to provide an end-to-end user experience so that coffee aficionados can enjoy the very freshest coffee available.
With its latest household appliance, Samsung has officially turned the refrigerator into the central hub of your kitchen. This multi-tasking device features a 21.5" HD LCD touchscreen that connects to a WiFi network and allows you to manage your groceries, post calendars, share photos, and leave notes for other family members - and it's all controllable through your smartphone. Three interior cameras can remotely send high-quality images to your phone, manage recipes, and let you do your grocery shopping online.
This solar-powered appliance is able to reach temperatures up to 550 degrees fahrenheit and claims to be able to cook a meal in 20 minutes or less. You can steam, bake, fry, roast - the possibilities are seemingly endless, since apparently you can even use this device on a cloudy day. This is thanks to its ability to capture light from a broad range of angles, making it the most energy-efficient solar cooker we've seen yet.
The LG Styler is an absolute must for those who wish to keep their coats, shirts, and dresses wrinkle free. Many professionals are extremely busy and this device allows you to put in up to 5 garments to be washed and sanitized, and removes any wrinkles - perfect for those who are short on free time. This device is already available, but the latest edition unveiled at CES 2016 is much larger and lets it hold more garments than previously.
If you didn't think any more appliances could become "smart" just wait for this one. This smart frying pan connects to a smartphone app and displays real-time information about what you are cooking. You can share your recipes, measure out your food, and explore nutrition facts with astounding accuracy. What we like best about this device is that it adds an element of awareness to the food you cook yourself and your family so that you are more informed about what is actually being consumed.
The ultimate multi-tasker, Skreens lets you stream any device or application - from your gaming console, to your cable box, to your computer, etc - so that they are all displayed on your TV screen simultaneously. You can watch Sunday football at the same time that you compose an email, or open up an internet browser without even needing a computer. Skreens lets you put all your different connectivity applications in one place for the easiest access.
This home automation hub is designed to monitor whatever you care about, according to its website, and send detailed reports to a smartphone app. It can be used to measure your steps, coffee consumption, sleep, and medication to ensure that you or your patients are adhering to a prescription schedule. Mother sensors can detect movements, measure temperature, and detect the presence of people or objects at a defined location.
This may not be the most practical device on this list, but it seems to mark a future in which everyone rides around in human-sized drones instead of cars. The EHang 184 is the first completely electric aerial vehicle and is capable of carrying a passenger under 223 lbs for up to 23 minutes. The passenger controls their travel via an interior tablet - but once they enter their desired destination, they can just sit back and relax in the climate-controlled cockpit while the drone takes them where they want to go.
The latest version of this smart cooker is designed to simplify your life and be your own personal chef. According to its creators, this device can grill, bake, steam, sauté, pan fry, stew, stir fry, slow cook, or roast your foods - entirely hands-free. Because it doesn't require cooking fat or oil, it also enables you to cook meals that are healthier and lack excessive calories. Did we mention that it's dishwasher safe?
We admit, this new application is mostly just for fun. The Coffee Ripples app lets users upload a photo and watch it appear in the foam of their next latte (as long as they are purchasing from a Ripples-compatible coffee shop). Practical? Probably not. Lots of fun? Definitely.