CES 2014 certainly did not disappoint. Now, a week later, we are left mulling over the exciting new technologies that we’ve witnessed and left to guess which is going to have the biggest bang in the upcoming year. There were definitely quite a few favorite products this year, while some might argue about which are most impressive –I think we can all agree that each are pretty amazing in their own right. In no particular order, here are our top ten products of CES 2014:
Oculus Rift Crystal Cove: For the second year in a row, the Oculus Rift is making serious waves. The prototype is headgear which is able to put gamers inside a virtual 3D world. This prototype is set to change the world of video games. Last year, the potential was definitely noticed, but there were still a few bugs in place. Those who tried the headgear at the 2014 show, however, reported the experience to be natural, fluid, and flawless. The new Crystal Cove version raises the resolution to 1080P and has kept users begging for more.
Pebble Steel Smart Watch: Smart watches are huge right now and Pebble Steel has hit the nail on the head. They’ve managed to take some big complaints about smart watches (ex: functionality and appearance) and address both. The new styles are modeled after the look of classic men’s watches and a plethora of personalized apps have been added for function. Instead of molded plastic we have forged steel and each is equipped with a leather band in the box. Men everywhere should be taking note.
Curved TV’s: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, etc. The curved TV was a big market at CES 2014. The question on a lot of minds is whether or not this is a fad that will be staying around. Is this the next big thing or just the big gimmick of 2014? People seemed to be extremely impressed with LG’s 105” OLED 4k TV. This curved TV has a nice flexible display on it and the curvature to this specific TV seems to actually enhance the viewing experience in contrast with the curved displays on their smartphones.
Parrot senseFly eBee: Drones, drones, drones. It seems like the year of the drones. Currently, the new Parrot senseFly eBee is grabbing some major attention. Parrot has teamed up with the firm senseFly to come up with the eBee. The eBee is a small drone, working as an automated aerial mapping system. It has an HD camera that’s programmed to provide the automated aerial mapping. As of now, the eBee is being marketed to farmers to check on their crops and also to developers to assess building sites. The application is simple; the user inputs the area to be mapped onto the eMotion 2 software using their PC or laptop. The eBee has flight parameters programmed in, the user activates drone, and it takes off. From there, it is able to create its own flight plan to cover necessary terrain. After the flight, the eBee reports a 3D topographical map to the user’s computer. Price tag? $25,000.
Vizio’s $999.99 4K TV: Those looking for a great bargain will be especially excited about this one. Vizio has come out with an UltraHD 50 in TV at an amazing price. $999.99. Although a 50in TV may be small for 4K TV UltraHD enthusiasts, you will still be able to watch 1080P resolution with a small price tag AND you already have a future-ready panel for when 4K content becomes more available.
Self Driving Cars: Audi, BMW, and French company Induct gave examples of self driving cars this year at the CES. While we’re far from being chauffeured across the country without any drivers, there are still some pretty exciting advances. The French company Induct gave a demonstration with a small shuttle that was able to chug slowly along at about 12.5 mph on a pre-programmed route. The intent is for this type of technology to be used with enclosed roads (ex: campuses, airports, etc.) Audi gave a self parking demonstration using the press of a button on a smartphone app. It used cameras and ultrasonic sensors to maneuver flawlessly into place –without the driver in the car. I, for one, am excited to see what’s next.
Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector: This projector is pretty exciting. It’s sleek and modern looking and it shoots upward –turning your wall into a 147in. 4K screen. The picture is amazing and the projector itself has the look of a modern and attractive entertainment center rather than a clunky projector. Pricing isn’t yet released.
Valve Steam Machines: The company Valve (responsible for games like Counter Strike and Half Life) is making another splash in the gaming world and diving into the home console market. Valve now has Steam machines; they are computers that run software dedicated solely to gaming. Consoles are to range anywhere from $500-$6000 each. There were a multitude of designs and configurations; now we’re excited about the concept and it’s time to sit back and see what takes shape.
3D Printers: 3D Printers have been a buzz for awhile, but the big draw this year is the move towards consumers being able to have 3D printers in the home. So is 3D printing ready to be adopted by mainstream consumers? Well, there are still a few bugs. However, it is reassuring to see that designers are addressing the two biggest desktop 3DP issues, which are nozzle clogging and print adhesion problems. There are several 3D printers getting their foot in the consumer door, but the MakerBot’s third Replicator definitely stands out. The Replicator has a nearly automated setup with replaceable cartridges and an attractive design. I’ll be interested to see what the other companies begin to roll out after seeing this.
Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) – Bringing Android to Your Car: Google announced that Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and chip manufacturer Nvidia are bringing Android to your car. The idea behind the partnership is to give automakers access to an open infotainment system that allows programmers to create new apps that are specifically tailored to in-car use. The first cars with Android in them should hit the market later in 2014. This is a win-win for both automakers and developers who can work to bring cutting edge technology and new experiences to drivers across the board. The potential for apps here is endless and we’re all waiting to see what they come up with first.
With such a huge variety of technologies, CES 2014 was definitely a lot to take in. Just seeing the potential of some of these devices is enough to make your head spin. Which products stood out the most to you this year? What were the worst ideas you saw? Share your thoughts!
Image Credit: Paste Magazine