Last fall I had it in my head that 2022 would be year that I finally go—in person—to my first CES show. But with the Omicron COVID variant circulating, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t. I’ve spoken before in this column about how, sadly, I’ve never gotten around to going to CES. There’s a lot of value in keeping tabs on consumer electronics developments. And January is a great time to kick off the year with looking at where state-of-the-art of embedded technology is used in consumer products.
Consumer products have become the devices that embrace the latest and greatest new technologies first. These range from IoT to AI to machine learning to object recognition to robotics and more. Consumer device designs have been on the leading edge of adopting the latest electronics technologies, way before they flow down to markets such as industrial and medical.
As this issue of Circuit Cellar goes into production, CES 2022 in Las Vegas has just wrapped up. As a view into the latest consumer tech innovations, here’s a snapshot of some the CES Innovation Award winners and honorees that I found the most intriguing:
Leica BLK ARC—Best of Innovation: Robotics category. The BLK ARC from Leica Geosystems is an autonomous laser scanning module for robotics applications. It provides a safe and autonomous way to capture, in 3D, the images and data of areas that are difficult or dangerous for humans to reach. Professionals in architecture/engineering/construction (AEC), manufacturing, plant, public safety and media and entertainment attach the BLK ARC to a robotic carrier to capture data that is used to build 3D models and recreate situations.
TestNpass—Best of Innovation: Health and Wellness category. TestNpass from Grapheal is a stand-alone digital “test strip” powered and connected to a smartphone, which, after test, turns into a personal and secure RFID pass. TestNpass screens for the presence of biomarkers in body fluids and delivers a time-stamped, encrypted RFID tag, which is tamper-proofed by facial recognition control. The first model of this platform technology targets antigens caused by COVID-19 virus infection in body fluids. It provides a secure, biometric health pass in less than 5 minutes, ideal for rapid and repeated screening in high traffic areas and large venues such as airports, stadium, concert and exhibition halls.
iPetWeaR— Honoree: Wearable Technologies category. iPetWeaR from Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is the first smart wearable device that uses contactless micro-physiological radar sensing technology for pet health monitoring. This sensor package continuously monitors the health parameters of pets including heart rate, respiration and activity to identify their health status via user-friendly operation. iPetWeaR can be easily integrated into a pet collar or mattress, providing alerts via a mobile app when abnormality is detected. The product can also assist in animal shelters or rescue organizations to better keep track of abandoned or stray pets.
OtO Lawn— Best of Innovation: Smart Home category. The OtO Lawn from OtO Inc. is a smart sprinkler that automatically waters and applies lawn and garden treatments from one compact device. Users can create custom watering zones in the exact shape of their lawn to avoid wasting water on sidewalks or pathways, saving you up to 50% on their water bill. They can apply pet-, people- and planet-safe fertilizer and pest-control at the touch of a button from their smartphones. It’s solar powered and easy to set up, no trench digging required.
Ocean Battery—Best of Innovation: Sustainability, Eco- Design and Smart Energy category. Ocean Grazer’s Ocean Battery is a breakthrough solution based on the company’s proprietary Key Enabling Technology to solve the challenge of balancing supply and demand for the global offshore e-Power industry due to intermittent production of wind power. The patented and sustainably produced Ocean Battery system lowers the capital expenditures for the massively expensive offshore power grid, generating a very high ROI for the unique Ocean Battery.
Great stuff, all using cutting edge embedded, IoT and AI technologies. Figures crossed that I’ll finally attend CES in person in 2023!
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE• FEBRUARY #379 – Get a PDF of the issue