Top Five Tech Products at Consumer Electronics Week

Highlights from New York City's annual event

15 July 2014

Photo: Elio Motors

Elio Motors showcased a prototype of its three-wheeled, two-passenger car at this year's CE Week.

When I walked into the Metropolitan Pavilion for New York City’s annual Consumer Electronics Week, I was immediately struck by the number of companies—both household names and start-ups—competing for my attention with their shiny new products, many of which are not yet on the market.

CE Week, which took place from 23–27 June, is a chance for journalists and tech enthusiasts to get a sneak peek at the emerging technologies that are launching in the next two years. Here are five new products that impressed me the most:

1.) Elio Three-Wheeled Car
For the price of US $6,800, you can own a three-wheeled car. The catch is it will fit only two people. Elio Motors, an automaker based in Phoenix, showed off a prototype of its car, aptly named the Elio. It’s sleek and compact, with two wheels protruding from each side of the front end and one in the back. It’s about 4.5 meters long and 1 meter wide, so occupants must sit single-file. But the gas-powered, aerodynamic vehicle is expected to get 36 kilometers per liter (85 miles per gallon), which might make up for the lack of interior space.

Elio is scheduled to begin production by the end of 2015, and more than 20,000 people have already paid $100 or more to reserve the car.

2.) GoBe Fitness Band
Forget clipping a pedometer to your clothing to track steps or logging everything you’ve eaten into a meal-tracking app to count calories. GoBe automatically tracks several measurements simultaneously, including physical activity, hydration, heart rate, stress level, and sleep patterns. Healbe, the band’s manufacturer, also claims to be the first band that can automatically measure caloric intake and calories burned by using sensors that can noninvasively detect glucose levels in a wearer’s skin cells. The wristband won CE Week’s “Battle of the Bands,” beating out Goqii, Wellograph, and Skulpt.

Though some are skeptical about GoBe’s claims, Healbe has already raised more than $1 million on IndieGogo, a crowdfunding site. The GoBe costs $299 and will begin shipping later this year.

3.) Voyce Smart Collar
No need for your dog to miss out on the fitness-band craze. Voyce, an electronic collar by i4C Innovations, is embedded with sensors that can track the animal’s daily activity, sleep patterns, and heart and respiratory rates.

The data, which is collected via Wi-Fi, can help you and your veterinarian keep tabs on a pet’s vital signs, which can be especially helpful for those who are caring for a sick or aging dog. It can also clue you into underlying health issues. For example, a rapid heartbeat while the dog is at rest can sometimes indicate that it’s in pain—something dogs are rarely able to communicate to their owners. You can also download a smartphone app to monitor your dog’s health when you’re away from home. The waterproof, adjustable collar costs $299.

4.) Lyric Thermostat
In August, Honeywell is launching a device called the Lyric, a programmable Wi-Fi connected thermostat that is considered to be Honeywell’s answer to the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Like the Nest, it can monitor and control the climate in your home with a smartphone app, which can save energy and cut energy costs. But instead of running on a set schedule like the Nest does, the Lyric uses a technique called geo-fencing. This allows the device to track the location of your smartphone and automatically turn up the heat or turn down the air conditioning when you’re about 11 km (7 miles) away from home. It can also adjust the temperature a few degrees based on the humidity level for those really sticky summer days. The Lyric will be available for $279.

5.) Pencil Bluetooth Stylus
I’m no artist, but I was immediately drawn to a demonstration by Georg Petschnigg, creator of Pencil—a Bluetooth stylus for the iPad. The stylus is designed for FiftyThree’s Paper app, which makes it easy to draw, sketch, and take notes on a tablet. The stylus can run for a month on a single charge and requires no power switch to turn it on—just press the tip against your iPad’s screen and the stylus will immediately be activated.

One side of the stylus offers an array of brush options, including thin, precise pencil point, and smudgeable watercolor. You can flip the stylus over and use the other side to erase. The digital marks on the iPad’s display vary according to how much pressure is applied. It accurately mimics what I do every day: writing notes in a notebook but not wasting paper or accidentally smearing ink on the side of my hand. Pencil debuted last November and is available in two finishes: aluminum graphite ($60) and walnut hardwood ($75).

What type of gadget would you like to see launch in the next two years? Tell us about it in the comments section below.  

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Amanda Davis is The Institute’s senior editorial assistant.

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