Highlights From the New York Luxury Tech Show

Bionic earbuds, electric single-seater car, and a smart patio umbrella were the standouts

12 October 2017

If you get the opportunity to attend a Luxury Technology Show, held in major U.S. cities throughout the year, be sure to dress up for a night on the town. Attendees at this month’s New York City event arrived in cocktail attire, sipping champagne as they checked out the latest gadgets. Products included advanced home-audio systems and a smart mirror that analyzes your skin and provides tips on how to improve its condition.

The Institute attended the show. Here are three other products that stood out on the showroom floor.

  • IQbuds

    Nuheara’s wireless earbuds bring people into the bionic age. Users have control over what they hear and can tune out other sounds. If you’re having dinner at a noisy restaurant, for example, the buds allow you to tune out background sounds, like chatter and loud music. If you’re working in an open office environment or from a coffee shop, the buds can wirelessly connect to your laptop so you can, say, listen to a podcast or hear what’s being said in a Skype call, while they’re minimizing aural distractions around you.

    Users sync the earbuds with the Nuheara’s mobile app and select their location setting, such as restaurant or office. There is also a driving setting to elevate such sounds as car horns to help drivers avoid accidents while letting them hear the radio or have a phone conversation. For the home, the settings can be adjusted so the homeowner can hear the doorbell even from the backyard.

    The buds have proprietary noise-cancellation and speech-amplifier technology. They can be connected to streaming services so you can listen to music and podcasts from your phone while still hearing environmental sounds. Pedestrians could blast their playlists, for example, while still hearing a car coming down the road. The buds sell for US $299.

  • The Solo Car

    If you mainly use your car to commute to work—and especially if you would like an excuse not to give others a ride—consider the one-passenger vehicle from Electra Meccanica. The Solo is an electric car that has a 160-kilometer range. Its 220-volt battery can be fully charged in three hours. The car reaches speeds of up to 220 kph, and can go from 0 to 100 kph in less than 8 seconds. According to Electra Meccanica, the Solo offers up to four times the energy efficiency of gasoline-powered cars.

    The single-seater is about half the size of traditional cars—310 centimeters long, 135 cm wide, and 132 cm high—which allows it to fit into more parking spots. It has storage compartments in the front and back.

    The Solo, available in Canada and the United States, has a sticker price of $15,500. The company’s investor relations coordinator, Sam Woolf, told The Institute that customers often own a second car for weekends and getaways.

  • Sunflower Shade

    Designed by ShadeCraft, the Sunflower is the world’s first autonomous robotic shade, according to the company. The umbrella tracks the sun—rotating and opening and closing on its own to ensure those under it are protected from direct sunlight. The umbrella is 310 cm tall and 88 cm wide. Users can sync it with the SmartShade app to receive information about the UV index, temperature, and air quality.

    The Sunflower doubles as a smart-home system for the outdoors. It is equipped with a built-in security camera, speakers, and LEDs—all of which can be controlled using the app. Users can play music while throwing a pool party, for example, or use the camera to see if anyone is lurking in the yard. The umbrella can be operated via voice instead of the app, similar to the way one speaks to Amazon’s Echo. The Sunflower charges on its own using solar energy.

    The price is scheduled to be announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

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