My Favorite CES Products This Year

The Consumer Technology Association’s Consumer Electronics Show just wrapped up in Vegas, after over 3,900 visiting companies showed their edgiest new products off to over 170,000 attendees.

Products on display ranged from the niche (Laundroid’s laundry-foldng robot) to the potentially revolutionary (self-driving cars). It can be a little difficult to sort through the sheer amount of innovation and exciting new technology on display.

Here’s just a few of our favorite products from this year’s big show:

Home Protection

StartupGrind started covering the Internet of Things about four years ago, and since then IOT has most definitely arrived in the American home, with everything from speakers to thermostats to lighting networked and remotely controllable. Now Angee is using IOT capabilities to make home security smarter, safer, and and easier to use.

Angee’s multi-mode protection allows users to switch between multiple security states throughout the day depending on the time and who is home. How does Angee know who’s home in the first place? Security tags placed at entrance points and around the home (or apartment) perimeter identify familiar users who enter or exit.

Angee’s 360 degree camera tracks motion when motion isn’t expected (meaning it won’t try to notify you if all it sees is your kid walking through the kitchen). Sound receptors can recognize unfamiliar or alarming noises such as breaking glass or fire alarms. If something unexpected is detected, Angee will immediately notify you.

Of course, the Angee app can always be used to simply check in using the camera’s live stream, unless privacy mode has been activated. Angee’s camera system faces the wall when occupants are home, so no footage of you or your family is actually being captured, and data is only sent from the system to the cloud when a possible threat is detected or you access it.

Home security is a big issue. SafeGuardTheWorld reports that about 2 million home burglaries occur in the US annually. -- and Angee provides an innovative way to make your family feel safe without constantly tripping false alarms or threatening your privacy.

The Biowatch

You might not know it, but the vein pattern in your wrist is one of the most unique things about you. This small part of your circulatory system is totally different from anyone else’s, and unlike fingerprints, it can’t be lifted off of objects you handle. The Guardian reported in 2014 that many European banks have abandoned PIN or chip-based identification for vein mapping at some ATMs.

The Biowatch uses a daily authentication of your vein pattern to store credentials, managed in a companion app. Wearers of the Biowatch could unlock their laptop simply by sitting down in proximity to it - the Biowatch confirms their identity, and communicates with the laptop via NFC technology.

The watch is attractive and can be attached to the wearer constantly throughout the entire day, making identity confirmation essentially a mindless, yet highly secure procedure. According to PRNewswire, the Extreme Tech Challenge deemed Biowatch one of 2018’s Vertical Prize Winners. Wearable are going to be huge--StartupGrind recently reported on how they’re being used by millenials to transform fintech--and biowatch is one of the smarter new wearables out there.

Melomind Relaxation Headphones

Startup founders know that stress is a challenge to manage, and at StartupGrind we’ve tried to provide some ideas on how to relax and stay grounded. Chilling out by slipping on headphones and listening to music is nothing new. But Melomind’s creator, myBrain Technologies, are more serious about stress relief than your average headphone company.

The Melomind headphones are outfitted with four electroencephalographic sensors that monitor your brain activity as specifically designed music begins. The music is then modulated based on your brain activity readings to facilitate the process of de-stressing.

Biofeedback therapy has well-documented medical uses, according to WebMD, and is very commonly used to alleviate severe anxiety. Melomind brings these benefits into your home, drug-free. And yes, you can use it to listen to your day-to-day music too.

My Special Aflac Duck

Robotics had a big year at reports on robotic participants ranging from dogs to personal assistants to exotic dancers. But The Verge reports that insurance giant Aflac quietly introduced a humane and needed concept to the excited flurry of robotic innovation.

The duck, designed by a partnership of Aflac and robotics toy company Sproutel, is soft and cuddly like any other children’s toy. But the ducky is meant for kids dealing with cancer treatments, and a range of functionalities provide emotional support for kids going through a scary time.

[Editor note: when I read this description, I had special feelings for Ducky without ever seeing her. Hence using the name of Ducky, instead of Duck. I know a child would...]

Ducky makes emotional responses -- such as pleased chirps or concerned groans -- when children use emoji buttons to share their moods. Children can use pretend IV tools to practice giving medicine to ducky, creating a sense of control over their own medical treatments.

During IV mode ducky can help kids with calming breathing exercises, and children can use ducky to create a “happy place” soundscape that they can play when they feel scared. This may not be the most cutting-edge edge project on display at CES, but it does simply and effectively show how robotics can be used to truly improve people’s lives.

What was your most exciting product at CES 2018?