I am lucky enough to be able to attend CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) every year in Las Vegas. The experience is always completely overwhelming. There are just so many things to see and do, it would be impossible for one person to see everything! I try to make it a point to come up with a “theme” for the year and to try and find the hidden gems that not a lot of people find. Last year the theme was Alexa integration. EVERYTHING was promoting its ability to integrate with Alexa. The year before that the theme was “drones”. There were SO. MANY. DRONES. This year’s theme for me was AR. It seemed like augmented reality is really starting to hit its stride, and offer up some really useful products and solutions!
Many of the “Best of CES” lists will show you the same kinds of things. My list is all about the products that literally BLEW MY MIND!
One of my favorite devices was this Magnifier from NeoBear. While I’m not exactly sure if you can obtain this product in the United States yet, I’m very excited about the prospects for this device. As you can see from the image, the device is like a phone or tablet that is in the shape of a magnifying glass, or a magic mirror. With this unique setup, it makes it super easy for kids to “explore” the world with these AR components like they would with anything else. The handle makes it easy for them to hold, and it makes it less immersive than a tablet or phone, but still gives them a window into a digital world.
Once the folks at the Rocketbook booth told me what their product could do, my jaw just about hit the floor. This product is the perfect marriage between paper and digital. When you fill up a page in the notebook, you can scan the page with the accompanying app to preserve the page, or upload it to your favorite storage location like Google Drive, Dropbox, or even email it to yourself. While that part is definitely cool, what really blew me away was the Rocketbook Wave. Once you have filled up the notebook, you put it in the microwave, and the entire notebook ERASES for you to use all over again!
I partially blame my husband, but my kids LOVE music. He’s a musician, so I can see where they get it. They both request to listen to music to fall asleep every night, and have a hard time falling asleep when they don’t have it. They also just like to sit around and listen to music or listen to it while they are doing their chores. What I LOVE about the Jooki is that you can program the different discs and toys with different playlists so your child can choose to listen to the “bedtime” mix or the “chores” mix, without giving them a phone or mp3 player to use that might give them access to other things you don’t want them using during the night. To switch up the music they just remove the toy from the top of the speaker and replace it with a different one.
My Google Home speaker is about to be replaced as soon as this device hits the market. The Lenovo Smart Display has Google Assistant built-in, making it the very best Google Assistant available. Lenovo has built in some features to make it easier to use the Google Assistant. For example, if you ask Google where the nearest bakery is you would have to say “OK Google, where is the nearest bakery” once it tells you the result, then you would have to ask “OK Google, how do I get to such and such bakery”. With the Lenovo device you would only need to follow up with “how do I get there?” once given the result. It can also step you through recipes with full pictures or videos, and so much more. The device itself is beautiful and will fit nicely into most decor options.
Finally, the last thing to blow me away at CES 2018 was this Project Linda device from Razer. The laptop shell is actually powered by the phone that sits in the trackpad location. The trackpad can be used as a second screen, or you can use it just like a regular trackpad. Since this device is from Razer, the gaming through the phone would run flawlessly, and many would appreciate being able to do everything from work to gaming through one device instead of splitting their time between several different options. Unfortunately, this is still a concept piece and does not have an official release date available.
There were a ton more things I saw that I will be talking about in the coming weeks, but these were the most unique of the products that I found!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com