CE Week 2014 Snapshot

I swooped into CE Week on Wednesday, and it was satisfying to see the show continue to evolve away from its A/V box roots. This year there was lots of buzz around APIs, robots, fitness bands, and the maker community. Here are a few companies and themes that caught my attention:

  1. Robots Are Here

    Intel was showing off Jimmy, its $1500 mass-market robot. The idea is to get Jimmy into the hands of developers and other makers to see what they can do with Jimmy’s servos. It’s programmable, of course. But I was the thinking about all those summer jobs for teens that will be taken by Mr. Jimmy and his children. I also winced when I heard that you’ll be able to download a robot personality as software.

  2. Health Bands and Privacy

    There were a lot of them this year. And for at least one of the band startups, it was not just about health monitoring, but karma and a team of health experts in the cloud who can help analyze your data and give advice. That would be GOQii. I was also encouraged that privacy was at least on the minds of some of these companies. Special commendation to Wellograph for publicly announcing that collecting sleep data is creepy.

  3. Alert Bands

    First Sign is an Arizona-based company that has found a different use case for the accelerometers and gyroscopes in these bands. Theirs is a headband that can detect when the wearer has been struck, as in the case of an assault. The First Sign system contacts your cell-phone–via Bluetooth–to initiate a 911 call, and in the mean time collects evidence by logging information about the blow, body position, as well as capturing audio and video of the incident.

  4. Maker Stuff

    There was a 3D pavilion this year. I saw Robo 3D‘s printer chugging away creating small plastic thingies. And there was a neat demo from Matter and Form whose 3D scanner can be used to digitize plastic models into coordinates. Great for animators.

  5. Laundry

    A nice NYC Jewish boy decides that laundromats need to be disrupted. So laundrypuppy, founded by Aaron Cohn, makes it ridiculously easy for millenials to order a pick-up: just text a message to this Manhattan-based start-up. Laundrypuppy does the rest: it schedules a reputable local laundromat–in the NYC-area–to stop by and do all that messy work involving detergents and washing machines. The company also handles payment. No, you don’t pay more: Laundrypuppy takes a small transaction fee for routing the order.

  6. Stuff

    Finally, as a cyclist, I liked MyBell‘s customizable digital horn. Why should your iPhone have all the fun? You can download your favorite MP3 into MyBell to create a unique bicycle warning experience.