The Consumer Electronics Show is an amazing conference. It's where inventors, startups, and tech enthusiasts pour into Las Vegas for a week to geek out on gadgets, learn some new trends, and maybe win some money on the craps table (me, $600).
We probably looked at about 1,200 ideas. We go every year to keep our game tight and make sure we have a very good lens to look through as these applications start pouring in.
If you weren't able to come, here are the 12 best gadgets we saw this year (it was supposed to be 10, but we couldn't drop any of these).
1. The EHang 184 is a human-sized drone - It’s called the Ehang 182 “drone”, but it might be easier to think of it as a big robot helicopter. The idea is you request a ride like Uber and, it automatically lands near you. You are then escorted (via robot drone chopper) in an air conditioned luxurious cockpit, and fly you to any destination you enter. Keep in mind, there are no manual controls. Seems a bit ahead of its time, but you can’t knock them for dreaming big.
2. Garmin’s Varia Vision is an augmented reality display you mount to your sunglasses. This allows cyclists for example to see how well they are doing without looking down at all these new smart devices for bikes. It should be safer as it acts more as a HUD. The $400 device can alert you about traffic and directions and comes out Q1 2016. I can imagine ultra runners might have use cases for this as well.
3. 700-gram Parrot Disco drone - Most drones you see are quadcopter drones, but fixed-wing drones (used by the military for years) might be making a splash this year. This thing can fly up to 45 minutes and reach speeds of just under 50 mph. The 1080p 14-megapixel camera at the front of the drone is the same one that Parrot used for its Bebop 2 quadcopter.
4. The Nima from 6 Sensor Labs - a$249 gadget that can test food for gluten in under 2 minutes with antibody-based test and disposable pods. Having several friends with Gluten Allergies, I personally know this thing is going to make their lives much easier. This thing was such a hit, 6 Sensor Labs took home the $50,000 Hardware Battlefield grand prize.
5. The GoSun Stove - a solar powered grill, which the company says can heat up to 550 degrees in some models in 10 to 20 minutes. The device uses a unique design that directs sunlight towards a cylinder, and the food cooks inside a solar evacuated tube that absorbs more than 80% of the sunlight reflected onto the tube.
6. Lexus Hoverboard "Slide" - The car company has said that it uses “magnetic levitation” and “liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets” to achieve hover flight. I’m not a big believer that the hoverboard willreally make a landing quite yet in 2016, but with the advances we are seeing this year already we might be very close.
7. The Grillbot - Ok, this might be the best or the worst thing we saw. I guess this thing is built for extremely lazy grillers. Selling for $129, the robot has three replaceable metal bristles that help the robot both clean and move around your grill. The device has a rechargeable battery, three electric motors, and an LCD alarm and timer so you can leave it and walk away while it does its thing. However it can only work on surfaces cooler than 200 degrees.
8. My UV Patch - is a heart-shaped sticker that’s as thin as a single strand of hair and monitors your sun exposure. This was developed in partnership with L’Oreal so I’m guessing there was a lot of R&D that went into this.
9. Ili Translator - The worlds first wearable translator. You wear it like a necklace and when you want to say something, just talk to it and press a button — it automatically translates your message aloud in the language of your choice.
10. SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick - An idea Seed Sumo has been begging for is a simple way to bring high quality photos to our Instagram/Facebook feeds. The reason this doesn’t exist is it’s too big of a process. SanDisk now allows you to wirelessly access your media or transfer large files, stream HD videos and music1, and save and share photos and videos to and from your mobile device
11. 4Moms Self Installing Baby Seat - 70% of car seats are improperly installed, while 96% of people think they’ve done the job right. While the best solution for baby seats would be the car manufacturer doing the job itself, 4Moms might have created the next best thing: It has designed a seat that installs itself, properly angling the seat, and tightening the straps to proper tension.
12. Oculus Rift - Ok, so Virtual Reality might actually be here for good. Although we didn't want to wait in the 2 hour lines at Oculus Rift we saw the people's faces when they left and it was historical. I saw one man crying and heard 2 kids running to the back of a 2 hour line with no care in the world after they finished their first go around.