The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show was filled amazing products, perhaps more than ever this year, in many ways making a Jetsons’-like future — one of automated cars and homes — seemed closer than ever. In fact, the technology contributing to the much sought after Internet of Things was rampant. As visitors to the show walked up and down aisles, it became increasingly apparent that the days of smart phones are quickly transcending into the days of smart homes, smart cars, and even smart clothes.
Wearable tech was predicted to be large at CES 2014, and the rumors proved correct. A multitude of smart watches, fitness monitors and, heck, even a wearable baby monitor made its appearance at the show. One especially bright spot was the JayBird Reign, which was not only one of the more functional versions of wearable tech, but also one of the most attractive designs.
The JayBird goes beyond ordinary fitness monitors by not only tracking calories burned, activity duration and sleep, but also makes note of your habits. The JayBird can then make sense of those habits, load them into an app, and begin informing you when you veer from your “Go Zone,” which is your body’s healthiest, most productive state of being. That means the JayBird will be there to both remind you to hit the gym, and also suggest a day off when you’ve pushed yourself too far.
With your body and health taken care of, you might feel pretty set, but the innovative minds at CES 2014 are taking it a step further. For example, the creators of Audi unveiled an improved self-driving car. The car was first debuted at CES 2013, but at the time was laden with a trunk full of bulky components. This year, Audi managed to reduce the clutter to a single circuit board which is able to completely drive the car in ordinary street traffic. Audi creators also included an interior camera to ensure the driver wouldn’t fall asleep while the car took control.
The Audi car featured a Google Android system, which is also being added to select Hyundai, Honda and General Motors vehicles. Google is determined to add cars to their all-encompassing program, which has made moves to contribute its technology to the world of home automation since ADT’s Security Choice line first released the Pulse automation system.
Android users will be able to locate their car anywhere, use voice-activated functions while driving, and have portable car lock/unlock and starter controls. Perhaps the most integral part of the system will be its ability to communicate with pre-existing home automation systems. When Google Android registers your car a certain distance away, your heating or air will switch on, as well as any other appliances you may wish to be ready upon arriving home such as lights, garage door, or even your crockpot.
Once home, it’s up to a different technology to keep your systems automated, and CES provided a solution for that as well. One of the most impressive pieces of tech was the Sense Mother, a device that does more than register and logs your chores and tasks — it nags you if you don’t complete them. The Mother is incredibly adaptable. The product arrives with fifteen pre-installed applications, which range from protecting your home by monitoring door motion, to noticing when you forget to open your medicine drawer, or brush your teeth.
Like the previously mentioned JayBird, Mother’s sensors detect motion, and also log and upload information regarding duration, or even temperature. Kids didn’t brush their teeth for longer than a minute? Mother will tell you. Someone didn’t creep in until 3 a.m.? Mother will tell you that too. As the website boasts, “Mother knows everything, and she’ll learn more.” Users will be able to create additional unique programs, allowing the Mother to monitor essentially any household task. Jokes have been made that Mother will replace actual mothers, but chances are the most fearsome pair will be mothers who purchase Mother. Don’t expect to get away with anything anytime soon with one of these devices attached to you.
Aside from flying cars, CES took attendees pretty far into the future. Though some aspects are almost scarily advanced (or plain scary, see Mother’s Russian doll resemblance) most seem on par with the hopes to create a simplified, healthier, and safer future for tech users.