Several trends are dominating the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week. Devices built for the Internet of Things, new technology for automakers, wearables and other consumer gadgets have all been big this year.
CES seems to be stealing a march on the Detroit Auto Show, the traditional venue for automakers to show off their new products for the coming year. This time, however, several auto companies chose to introduce new concepts at CES, two weeks ahead of the Detroit show.
Auto Companies Shift Gear
Toyota showed off the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with a purported range of 300 miles that is slated to begin sales in North America for the 2016 model year. Mercedes-Benz also introduced exposition-goers to its latest concept , the F 015. With its suicide doors, colored LED headlights, carbon-fiber-and-aluminum body and monochrome paint job with matching tinted windows, the F 015 has more design elements in common with the starship Enterprise than a traditional automobile. The concept car features both self-driving and manual driving modes, according to the New York Daily News.
Tesla also had its latest offering, the Model X SUV, on display. Like previous Tesla models, the X interior looks more like a Google employee's workstation than a dashboard. BMW and Volkswagen, meanwhile, both showed off concepts for electric cars with wireless charging capabilities.
Even More Wearables
Futuristic cars were not the only story coming out of CES, though. Wearable devices were another big technology on display. Withings introduced a new smart watch called the Activité Pop (shown above), a decidedly low-end offering when compared with some of the whiz-bang functionality promised to be packed into the Apple Watch (expected to launch in March). The analog-designed watch comes in at $150, much cheaper than most smart-watch competitors.
Even Intel, hardly a name typically associated with wearable devices or fashion-forward design, had its own entry into the wearable offerings. The Intel Curie is a small, button-shaped device that contains a complete system-on-a-chip including a battery, motion sensor, and Bluetooth radio.
Sony made a move to return to its portable audio roots with the Smart B-Trainer prototype. A waterproof all-in-one device designed to be worn as a headset, the prototype features voice coaching, music playback and intelligent soundtrack selection. It also brought out a pricey new model in its storied Walkman line in the form of the ZX2, which features 128 GB of storage and superior audio playback quality.
Smart Helmets and Belts
Beyond the standard items that normally receive the wearable treatment, several new form factors also debuted as well. Belty is a smart belt that automatically adjusts itself to changes in the wearer's waistline. It also include a fitness tracker that connects to your smartphone. Melomind is another unusual entrant in the wearable category this year. The headset's sensors measure a user's brain activity to determine their level of stress, then it chooses music to play back to help calm him or her down.
Even Volvo seems to be getting into the wearable space, with the launch of its smart warning helmet for cyclists. The helmet contains a proximity sensor that is designed to alert drivers when they are too close to a cyclist.
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