Looking Ahead To CES 2014

December 5, 2013
CES group

Rachel Medina of UnitedHealth Group with Mike and Cyd of Fast Horse

My colleague Cydney and I are gearing up to head to Las Vegas in a few weeks for the Consumer Electronics Show, which is by far the largest trade show in the country and nearly the largest in the world. It’s a zoo, and it’s a blast to spend a week there — even if it is a week full of non-stop busyness.

We make this annual pilgrimage on behalf of UnitedHealth Group, which is putting on display the latest and greatest innovations in health care. In years past, these innovations have included some rather logical tools, such as systems for medical practitioners to manage their businesses more effectively to some more unexpected programs, such as the company’s partnership with Konami to give a special classroom edition of DanceDance Revolution to schools to encourage increased physical activity.

I’m looking forward to carving out at least a little bit of time to wander the utterly endless show floor (floors, actually) to check out the craziest new stuff from all of the major electronics manufacturers, as well as some impressive new devices from smaller companies. Last year, one of the most impressive things I saw was an unbelievably thin flat-screen TV from LG. It’s practically just a sheet of glass on a stand:

Here’s a quick list of some of the cool stuff I’ve caught wind of as I prepare to head to Vegas:

Curved and flexible TV screens
This year, like every other, the biggest, baddest, flatest, brightest TVs will again be a major draw for popped eyes and dropped jaws. I suspect the latest from companies like LG and Samsung will meet expectations, after having read this description: “LG and Samsung are reportedly prepared to show flexible OLED TV prototypes at CES 2014. A remote would control the sets’ bends to achieve better viewing angles…” What?!

Canary: home security reinvented
I’m hearing a lot of buzz about a home security (and more) device called Canary, a beautiful, simple little device that, among other things, boasts an “HD video camera and safety sensors track everything from motion, temperature and air quality to vibration, sound, and activity to help keep you, your family and your belongings safe.” It’s like the Nest thermostat meets ADT home security.

AspectSolar’s portable, flexible solar panel
AspectSolar’s Duo-Flex lightweight and about the size of a laptop computer. Unfold it to catch some rays and use the built-in Micro USB cord to — hallelujah! — charge your cell phone (or anything else).

94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball
Imagine what a geeky, smart coach could do with this: “At $300, it’s definitely and investment, but for someone looking to improve their game, it might be worth it. The ball records 6000 points of data per second and pipes it through its iOS app. The app records and shows users the arc and power of their shots, plus their ball handling and speed.”

Also on the docket for CES 2014 is a major keynote from Yahoo CES Marissa Mayer. I can’t help but think it’ll be more tame and thoughtful than last year’s, um, interesting keynote from Qualcomm. Seriously – read this. It included Big Bird, a gory scene from a Guillermo Del Toro film, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and so much more. What might Mayer have up her sleeve?