Update

Cool tech from CES 2015

Here's some of the great --and wacky -- tech being revealed at this year's show

ces cw

CES 2015

CES 2015 kicked off with a bang. Smartwatches and other wearable tech are big this year, but that's not all. Here are some of the highlights from this year's event.

future robot
Patrick Thibodeau/Computerworld

Future Robot

Robots may become an increasingly common site, both in commercial and home settings, if the trends at CES are any sign.

One Korean company, Future Robot, is building systems that include facial recognition that can also sense emotion, such as happiness or anger. These robot systems are more likely to find their way into customer service uses such as retail and other venues that involve many people.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

ultragraphics
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

Ultrahaptics

Sometimes an up-and-coming technology can feel a little bit like magic; that's the case with Ultrahaptics, which lets you "feel" objects and sensations several inches above your keyboard, and then manipulate them. Using ultrasound, the tech gives the illusion that you are actually feeling bubbles touch your palm, or lets you move around a simple game object on the screen. 

The fascinating thing about the technology is that it doesn't involve any extra gear on the part of the user: no gloves, no rings -- all the tech is in the hardware and the accompany software. 

Still in development, Ultrahaptics will be an interesting tech to watch -- like many developmental technologies, it has great potential, but whether we will actually see it in future systems is still to be determined. 

 -- Barbara Krasnoff

toshiba 3d fashion contour sensing
Patrick Thibodeau/Computerworld

Virtual clothing

For retailers, Toshiba demonstrated its 3D contour sensing and fitting technology. It uses a 55-in. screen that provides an image to the person standing in front of it that's indistinguishable from a mirror. With simple hand gestures a user can change outfits. This technology, judging from the reaction of people giving it a try, is doing a good job virtualizing how clothes will look.

The system will be available in March, said Toshimasa Dobashi, a chief specialist at Toshiba. The hope is that fashion lines will incorporate their clothing in this virtual environment.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

powercube
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

PowerCube

Sometimes the simplest problem is the most irritating one -- like how you're going to plug in the many devices you've got stashed around your workstation. Allocacoc has come up with an answer: The PowerCube, which plugs into your wall socket -- and into each other, so that you can plug in as many devices as you need to without wondering where to fit the plug.

There are a variety of stackable cubes available; a small included stand lets you mount it to most surfaces so that you can use it from the wall nearest your computer, for example, and there are a couple of models that come with USB ports as well.

The PowerCube starts at $12.95, depending on the type you want; after that, you can stack them in any creative way you like -- and power your devices at the same time.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

mouseless control
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

Motix

Nervous about carpal tunnel? Or just looking for a new gadget to play with? The Motix (being shown at CES' Eureka section for startups) lets you keep your hands on the keyboard and move your cursor by simply moving your index finger. The unit sits at the back of your keyboard; sensors capture hand and finger movement. It also uses a small touchpad at the base of the keyboard to signal that you want to use the cursor). It may take a bit of practice to get used to, but once you've got it down, you'll be able to type away without moving your hands from that keyboard.

The Motix should be on sale in February for $120.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

alcohoot
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

Alcohoot

According to a rep at the Alcohoot booth, young people who are into fitness wearables are more likely to use gadgets like the Alcohoot to monitor their alcohol consumption than their less tech-minded parents were.

The $99 breathalyzer works with iOS and Android and has an app that, among other things, will help you call an Uber car should you be over the limit.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

yota
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

YotaPhone2

The YotaPhone2 has a "normal" color front and an e-ink back that can last up to six days on a charge. The idea is that you can see basic info, read (even in direct sunlight) and do other simple tasks without stressing the battery. It's a fascinating idea but not cheap; it's currently available in the U.K. and Europe, with the price tag of £555 or about $840. No word yet on U.S. distribution.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

drones
Barbara Krasnoff

Drones

They float through the air with the greatest of ease.... Drones attract crowds at CES. These small flyers are from DJI; a nearby company from China, Harwar, posted signs throughout its booth forbidding any photos of its strictly-for-business UAVs.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

newoldtech
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

New old tech

You likely won't be seeing these products hit the market, but they are new technology -- or at least they were, in the late 19th century. These antique typewriters, which were made before the typewriter was standardized, are from the Martin Howard Collection and were on display at the booth run by Typo, a company that makes Bluetooth keyboards for iPhones.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

nobel
XYZprinting

Nobel 1.0 3D printer

XYZprinting has introduced its first stereolithography (STL) product, the Nobel 1.0 3D printer. STL printers use a laser to sketch out a printed object's form in a photosensitive resin. With each pass of the laser, an additional layer of an object is hardened.

The Nobel has a resolution of 0.3mm (300 Microns) on the X/Y axis, and 0.025mm (25 microns) on the Z (or vertical) axis. To give you some idea of how thin that is, a human hair typically ranges from 20 to 25 microns in thickness.

The Nobel 1.0 3D printer will be available in the third quarter with a retail price of $1,500.

-- Lucas Mearian

venture 30
Barbara Krasnoff/Computerworld

Venture 30 Recharger

The Venture 30 from GoalZero is a weatherproof 7800mAh charger with two 2.4A ports and a pro-environmental outlook. It can be recharged either from one of GoalZero's solar panels or your wall. It will start shipping in February for $100.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

binatone dog collar
Michael Kan, IDG News Service

Binatone smart collar

Binatone, a maker of home monitoring products, unveiled a smart collar for dogs that can let owners track, train, and communicate with their pets remotely. The Scout5000 collar is described as a "smartphone for a dog” and uses its cellular connection to remotely sync with the owner's smartphone and provide live data.

The collar has two weeks of battery life and features GPS tracking and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also comes equipped with speakers so that the owner can talk to the dog remotely or receive alerts when the pet is barking. Binatone is developing the smart collar for Motorola Mobility, which will sell it under its brand in June for $199, including a year of service.

-- Michael Kan, IDG News Service

guessconnect watch

Guess Connect watches

Guess has become one of the first big watch brands to jump into the smartwatch fray, slapping high-tech features onto its most popular designs. The new Guess Connect Powered by Martian watches have a small OLED strip near the bottom that shows text notifications from a paired smartphone. They also have a microphone for sending voice commands to the watch (Siri for iPhone, Google for Android) and a speaker for relaying voice calls.

The company partnered with Martian, which has been producing traditional-looking smartwatches for a few years. Guess watches will be available in men's and women's styles this fall, though the company isn't talking prices just yet.

-- Jared Newman, PCWorld

quitbit
Barbara Krasnoff

Quitbit

Quitbit is a lighter and app that helps smokers quit by monitoring the number of times they smoke, how much they're spending and their triggers. Priced at $99, it will ship in late March.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

hp sprout
Barbara Krasnoff

HP Sprout workstation

The HP Sprout workstation lets you scan objects in 2D and 3D (to 180 degrees) using a 14.6 megapixel camera. Images also can be manipulated in a variety of creative ways. Only one problem: It's $1,900.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

zolt
Barbara Krasnoff

Zolt Laptop Charger Plus

The Zolt Laptop Charger Plus is billed as the smallest laptop charger available. It will charge a laptop (check the site for compatibility) and two other devices. Shipping in the spring, it is priced at $80.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

rollkers
Patrick Thibodeau

Rollkers

Rollkers is a "personal transportation device" developed by a French-based company of the same name.

The Rollkers attach to the bottom of your shoes and provide the means to reach speeds of up to 7 mph by walking, said Paul Chavand, the CEO.

"You cannot fall," said Chavand, and balance is maintained by a controller system and electric motor. "No training is necessary," he said.

It may be a year or two before the product gets to market, and Chavand said he expects consumers will be first to buy it, but businesses, such as warehouses, will be interested in the technology.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

gotenna
Barbara Krasnoff

GoTenna

If you tend to hike outside your smartphone's range but still don't want to be out of touch, the goTenna will let you send text messages and location information long distances via VHF. Shipping in the second quarter of 2015, a pair will run $150.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

hp zvr left facing 4 rl
HP

HP's futuristic Zvr display

Holographic imaging meets virtual reality in HP's futuristic Zvr display, which bring new levels of 3D interactivity not yet seen in monitors.

The 23.6-inch display combines sensing and imaging technology from HP's research labs that change how 3D content is viewed and modified. The monitor projects full 3D images into thin air, and users -- who have to wear 3D glasses -- can then navigate, zoom, and manipulate those images without touching the screen.

The price for Zvr was not immediately available, but it will ship later this year. The stylus and 3D eyewear are included with the monitor.

-- Agam Shah, IDG News Service

dlink
Barbara Krasnoff

D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router

The D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router automatically assigns clients depending on the bandwidth they need using six (yes, six) antennas. It offers up to 1300Mbps on two 5GHz bands and 600Mbps on its 2.4GHz band. And it's red. It's currently shipping for $310.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

xoeye glass wearable rl
XOEye

XOEye Technologies

XOEye Technologies developed eyewear that includes a camera and sensors that are designed for blue-collar occupations, not consumers.

XOEye's eyewear has numerous functions, including barcode scanning and sensors that can track, for instance, how many times an employee has to bend down to pick something up, or how far someone must walk to perform certain tasks.

But the big use for these glasses is for job training, especially today as many baby boomers in the skilled trades retire. With the glasses' video link, someone can see exactly what a person is doing. This means that a person with expertise can observe, guide and instruct someone on a particular job, no matter where they are located.

XOEye has been performing pilot tests on the eyewear, but was launching it at the show.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

ericsson rbs 6402 laa web
Ericsson

Ericsson's new wireless technology

Ericsson announced a wireless technology at CES that's designed to improve coverage and speed for bandwidth-hungry smartphone applications, such as streaming video.

Ericsson is creating a small cellular device that will cost about $2,000 when available later this year that relies on software called Licensed Assisted Access. LAA is part of an emerging specification of the international 3GPP standards body that's designed to help wireless carriers offer greater potential for LTE-Advanced networks now being rolled out around the world.

LAA allows wireless network traffic to work over both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, thereby giving carriers greater flexibility in improving application performance for smartphone users.

-- Matt Hamblen

thinkpad x1 carbon touch lcd hero
Lenovo

Lenovo Thinkpads

Lenovo is showcasing thinner, lighter, faster, and more expensive, Thinkpads at this year's CES

Lenovo hasn't radically changed the new ThinkPads, and for good reason: Its committed user base resists product overhauls. Headlined by the ultrathin ThinkPad Carbon X1 and workhorse ThinkPad X250, the new laptops now have Intel's latest fifth-generation Core i3, i5 and i7 processors.

Prices on the new laptops, in some cases over $1,000 for the Carbon X1 and X250 models, seem high, but expect them to fall over time.

-- Agam Shah, IDG News Service

odg

ODG consumer smartglasses

San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group (ODG) is showing a consumer prototype of its smartglasses at CES that have a classic Wayfarer sunglasses design. While bulkier than regular shades, they aren't too heavy at 4.4 ounces.

The glasses run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and have stereoscopic HD displays, accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes and a nine-axis internal measurement unit (IMU). Additional hardware features include a high-speed autofocus camera, stereo audio, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity.

The eyewear is slated to be released in 2015 for under $1,000.

-- Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service