8 Cool Products From CES 2017

Even before the biggest tech show of the year officially kicks off, the buzz of new launches is alive. Hitesh Raj Bhagat has information on some of the upcoming products and trends that you might find on the show floor

TytoCare Diagnostic Monitors

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with thermometers that measure temperature using the ear canal (tympanic).TytoCare’s TytoHome diagnostic tool wants to go several steps further by measuring the function of heart, lungs, ears, throat and abdomen in addition to just temperature. The main unit is powered by a rechargeable battery and there are several attachments in the box: a tongue depressor for throat, stethoscope for lungs, thermometer, Otoscope for ears and a high-res camera. The companion app will guide you to take accurate exams and store the information for later use and diagnosis by a doctor.

Advanced VR Headsets

You can get a basic, Google Cardboard compatible VR headset for a few hundred Rupees.

While these are great for someone starting out with VR, advanced users have long since moved on, waiting for the next big thing in VR. One of the inherent problems with VR is screen resolution (or lack thereof). Phone screens, when used for VR, fall short of creating the perfect experience because the lenses magnify the pixels on the screen. A company called Pimax will be showcasing the first 8K VR headset. This is 3840 x 2160 pixels per screen, per eye -roughly six times higher than premium VR heasets like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. They also have a much higher field of view (200 degrees -almost the full 220 degee field of view of the human eye). Next up, even if you’re happy with the Vive and Oculus, you’re still going to be tethered using wires. A company called Kwik VR will be showcasing a wireless system compatible with both the Vive and Oculus.

Lenovo Miix 720: Surface Book Pro Competition

This might be the top-end 2-in-1 you’re looking for! Lenovo will be showcasing it at CES and planned availability is in April 2017, but that doesn’t stop us from drooling over the specs. The Miix 720 is a tablet first (so it has a touchscreen) but the box includes a detachable keyboard (with 1.5mm of key travel and backlighting) and Lenovo’s Active Pen 2 (this is an AAA-battery powered active stylus with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity). The 12.inch IPS LCD has a 2:3 aspect ratio, 2880 x 1920 pixel resolution and 400nits brightness. On the back, it has a kickstand helped by a pair of watchband hinges (they open to any angle, till 150-degrees). Inside, you can load it up with 7th gen Core i7 processors, up to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. To top it off, there are dual full-size USB ports, a USB type C and a micro SD slot. Not bad for something that weighs 1kg and is just 14.5mm thick.

The Blitab: A Touchscreen + Braille Tablet

According to the team behind the Blitab, there are a total of 285 million blind and visually impaired people globally of which 150 milion are Braille users. Their aim is to bring to market a multipurpose, tactile and dynamic Braille display and all-in-one tablet for these users. It’s Android powered and has a regular touchscreen too but there is also a whole page of refreshable Braille code. A user can input text with any format (PDF, DOC etc) and instantly have it converted to readable Braille. There’s a text-to-speech engine built in too which can be used in conjunction with Braille. The company also has plans to develop a Braille phone.

Aivia Smart Speaker by Sproutbox

What Sproutbox has done is simple yet genius: they’ve taken an 8-inch Android tablet and put it in a large enclosure with a trio of speakers (two full range and a large subwoofer) and a large 10,000mAh battery. It also has Google’s Assistant built in and a wireless charging plate (just place a compatible phone on it and it will charge). Just think of all the things you can do with it. You can stream any audiovideo content to it (Bluetooth, Aux or WiFi), play games on it or watch anything using the built in screen (YouTube, stored video, Amazon Prime, Netflix and any other Android app you care to install).

Selective Noise Cancellation headphones

There are a bunch of active noise cancelling headphones available from brands like Sennheiser and Bose. They all work in a similar fashion: multiple microphones scan for ambient sounds and cancel them out in your ears so that you hear more of your music. The tech is popular with frequent fliers since it reduces the constant hum of airplane engines, But it’s high time we saw some innovation here. French startup Orosound has the answer. In their words, it’s a 360-degree noise management system. You can adjust the amount of noise cancellation but there’s a `talk in-noise’ mode too. In short, if you’re talking to someone in a noisy environment, you can use Orosound to focus on their voice while cancelling out everything else. It also works with phone calls and the battery life is a healthy 8 hours with constant use.

Olly A Tabletop Robot

Till we have robots doing chores around the house, we can have the next best thing: a personalised, always-learning tabletop bot that you can interact with using natural language. Of course, products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are already here but London-based Emotech’s Olly will react differently to and learn from different members of the family. Olly’s personality develops with use, so the creators promise that each one will be different. Behind it all is a complex system of `braininspired’ artificial intelligence, built by scientists specialising in neuroscience and machine learning. We’ll have to wait to find out just how good it is.

LG’s Levitating Speaker

Levitating speakers are not new -they use a few magnets to keep the speaker portion elevated above a metallic base. LG’s approach is more futuristic, if you care about that sort of thing. Firstly, it uses electromagnets instead of conventional ones. The base or `levitation station’ houses the subwoofer while the floating speaker (with a turbine blade-inspired design) handles the mid and high frequencies. The whole unit is rated at IPX7 for waterdust resistance and battery life is rated at 10 hours. But the coolest part? When the battery runs low, the speaker slowly returns to the base where it charges wirelessly -once charged, it floats up again.