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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.