CES Round-up: Come on, do we REALLY need a smart fork?

The Computer Electronics Show (CES) is overwhelming to even the most seasoned technologist. This year’s highlight includes a “smart fork” AND “smart toothbrush!” Do we really need these? You decide. In the meantime here is our summary of the truly interesting trends emerging.

Video: There are more TVs than ever, 4K, 5K and even 8K. Some TVs offer a curved screen, ostensibly for better viewing. Some even bend on demand (Why exactly is this necessary?). Bottom line, the picture quality is better than ever with accessible sizing beyond 105”. In addition, applications are constantly improving allowing you to have a true premiere viewing experience.

Audio: Unfortunately we did not find anything truly innovative in this arena. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Although the mass adoption of music on phones, iPods and music services allows for convenience, many are choosing to purchase electronics and speakers that allow the listener to hear the nuances in the music that the artist intended. There is a resurgence in the purchase of high fidelity speakers and systems that allows the listener to be enveloped by the sound.

Clearview Audio has a neat demo of a thin, curved glass speaker called the Clio. We are intrigued by the possibility of deploying these in a true multi-room scenario, one in each room of the house, tied together for on-demand music throughout the home. The product ships in March. We can’t wait to get a pair and try it out! http://www.clearviewaudio.com

Wearable Technology: There was a lot of it, but we are unclear why we need any of it. While there are a few gems out there, we see of lot these new “wearables” ending up in that closet where other over-hyped technologies are laid to rest. One to watch is, “The Mimo”. The company’s cotton kimono is fitted with a non-contact machine washable sensor that measures a baby’s respiration, skin temperature, body position, and activity. I wish this were around when our children were newborns. http://mimobaby.com

Automation/Home: New robots that wash floors, talking appliances and smart crockpots were released. Some of these might actually be useful although it is too early to say for sure. A multitude of new door locks were shown as well, however we don’t think you should give up on the keypad versions of 2011. Yale, Baldwin and Kwikset all have refreshed their line-ups.

Gaming: We already know all about the PS4 and Xbox One. Watch the Valve Steam machines, this might be the real “game changer.” (Forgive the pun.)

Oh, and in case you need more information about the fork and toothbrush, here it is:

- The Hapi Fork http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/06/hapilabs-introduces-hapifork-and-spoon-smart-utensils-brings/

http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/05/kolibree-smart-toothbrush/