You are probably seeing a lot of CES reviews about drones and autonomous cars. (Okay…we are guilty or that too). The “game changing” new products at CES are fun talk about. But we also want to take some time to show our readers some simple, practical things the common person can get some benefit out of. Some of the best new products at CES this year weren’t actually ‘new’ at all. We also saw improvements to existing tech that was cool…but not that user-friendly. This is great for consumers because improving existing products means eliminating user frustrations and making their products easier and more fun to use.
Our Favorite New Products at CES 2016
For instance, have you ever been frustrated by having to enter text on a television by moving the cursor from letter to letter? The new Apple TV incorporates the Siri voice assistant and the new Amazon Fire TV includes Alexa, their voice assistant. So now you can simply say the name of the movie, director, actor, or TV show that you want to watch. No more searching for letter after letter.
Have you ever struggled to open the refrigerator door when your hands are full of groceries? LG has an answer to that. Their new refrigerators have a spot on the floor that you can step on to open the door. Knock on the door and you will see what is inside the refrigerator. Use the LG app when you are at the grocery store to see if you really need to buy milk.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, you can try one of the new Sleep Monitors like RestOn by Sleepace. No more headbands or gear to wear at night. Now you simply place the sensor under the mattress and it gives you your heart rate, respiratory rate, and body movement. It also tells you how many times you got up during the night. Their Nox sleep light coordinates with the RestOn to wake you gently with light and sound at just the right time.
If you are a new parent or the average grandparent, you have been very frustrated when trying to install a car seat for an infant or child. A company called 4-Moms has the answer. They call it a self-installing car seat, but in actuality, it monitors the installation and gives you verbal instructions and applauds you when you complete the task.
Lost items may be a thing of the past with some of the new devices like Trakr. This quarter-sized device can attach to almost any item. Press the button on your Trakr to ring your cell phone even if it is in silent mode. Use the app on your phone to ring your Trakr to help you find any item. If you lose something when away from home it uses its Crowd GPS Network of Trakr devices to help you find it. You can even map out your home to help you find items. Thousands of people like me are waiting for these tracking devices to get small enough to be easily put on a pair of glasses. While waiting for that, however, these tracking devices are pretty useful.
If you have a prize flower or vegetable garden you can even use a system like The Edyn Garden System to monitor real-time conditions of the soil and provide instant water, if you like.
While not everyone is yet comfortable with Internet-connected door locks, a connected doorbell may give you a little peace of mind. Install one of these like the the Ring Video Doorbell and you can see who is at the door and answer from anywhere in the world. Police say that most home burglaries start with the ring of the doorbell to see if anyone is home. With these devices it’s like being home even when you are not.
While most of today’s devices don’t even come with an instruction book, Hyundai is taking the owner’s manual to the next level. They are starting to provide an app for all of their cars. This, however is not just any old app. It is called the Virtual Car Owner’s Manual and will be built into their Car Care app. After your download the app to your phone, you simply point the phone to the part of the car you want to know about. The app overlays the live image of the car with labels so you know what you are looking at. It also gives you over-layed how-to guides and videos to perform basic maintenance and lets you easily understand what warning lights mean. If you have a popular model 2015 or 2016 Hyundai, you can expect these features sometime this year.
Again, most of these new products at CES are not really “new”. They are just better at helping us avoid frustration and improve our lives. You don’t have to go high hog connected-home. While you wait for the fully connected home, autonomous cars, and virtual reality, you can just pick and choose the devices that are useful to you.