Healthcare and wellbeing technologies dominate at CES Unveiled
Cutting-edge apps and products to improve every aspect of our health and wellbeing were on display at the CES Unveiled event in Las Vegas tonight.
CES Unveiled is the official opening event for the wider annual technology show and it is where many of the newest, most innovative products are displayed. Some of them are still at prototype stage, some have cleared the funding hurdle (e.g. via a successful Kickstarter campaign) and are now moving into production, and some products are debuting as the finished retail article.
This year, with more companies and products exhibiting at CES Unveiled than ever before, health technologies were clearly the predominant area of focus. From monitoring pregnancy and baby's first steps, right through our many years of sleep and into old age, every step of our lives is now tracked, monitored and analysed.
In particular, our quality of sleep is under serious consideration. A product such as Live by EarlySense analyses a person's sleep, heart and breathing rates in real-time using a pad tucked under the mattress, which means no body-worn sensors are necessary. It is a technology that has been years in development and is used in hospitals as a medical-grade tool. Now this technology is filtering down to consumer level and being made available as a retail product. Whether monitoring your own sleep pattern or that of a relative in another part of the world, the data is captured to a smartphone app for storage and analysis.
Another sleep-related product was the 2breathe Sleep Inducer, a body-worn band that helps to induce slumber using a full-pattern bluetooth respiration sensor and patented real-time coaching technology. By guiding the wearer to slow their breathing in response to tones, the wearer is encouraged to enter a meditative state and ultimately fall asleep. A detailed session report is captured to show users the pattern required to induce sleep. In time, the pattern may become habit-forming for wearers, as they develop the ability to better control their breathing and fall asleep more readily.
Sensorwake presented a unique take on inducing sleep with the Oria machine. This device is designed to help you fall asleep faster, longer and better, all through the power of scent. Two scents have been scientifically formulated: one to induce sleep and one to keep you asleep, emitting these smells periodically through the night. Each capsule should last approximately two months. Sensorwake is part of the Google Growth Engine Program and shipping of the Oria unit is expected to start in summer 2017 for an estimated $149.
Of course, one of the most effective ways to encourage better sleep is to get a better bed and that is what Sleep Number demonstrated with its Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed: “The only bed that goes to work when you go to sleep”. The bed features SleepIQ technology that automatically adjusts to a sleeper’s ideal comfort and position, ResponsiveAir technology that adjusts the comfort and firmness separately for each side of the bed, automatic snore detection and adjustment, and rapid sleep onset technology, which warms the foot of the bed prior to bedtime. The bed also learns your normal sleeping routine, so it can better serve you.
Holi talked about the “third wellness revolution” (the first two going back to the 1980s, being sport and nutrition) in showcasing its range of sleep-inducing products. Leveraging the IoT and sleep science, Holi has consulted with neuroscientists, data scientists, engineers, designers and developers and its latest product is Bonjour, the first AI voice-controlled alarm clock. Gathering data from various sources, Bonjour is akin to a morning personal assistant, analysing weather, traffic, news and your diary to help you start your day in the most productive way.
Even children's sleep is under scrutiny, with UrbanHello presenting Remi, the smart alarm clock that coaches kids to rest better and establish sleep routines. Remi can act as a night tracker and baby monitor, nap-time and sleep manager, an adjustable night light and lullaby Bluetooth speaker. The cuddly Dozer from AcousticSheep was another extremely cute sleep-inducing device aimed at children.
While quality sleep is undoubtedly important in maintaining long-term good health, effectively managing long-term pain issues is another key area. Products such as Reliefband's Neurowave band, to help combat nausea, retching, morning sickness and vomiting, and NeuroMetrix's Quell, which combines neurotechnology with its app to personalise and control therapy while tracking pain relief progress and offer directly wearable pain relief technology.
Monitoring vital signs is another burgeoning area, with many takes on the issue displayed at CES Unveiled. Ukrainian start-up Mevics showed its spine-straightening, slouch-busting wearable tag that encourages better posture, tracking your body position throughout the day. MocaCare showed heart health monitoring devices, while A&D Medical had its complete connected tracking devices for self-monitoring key health metrics, such as blood pressure and weight.
Hearing aids are also benefitting from technological innovation, becoming smaller and more powerful. Oticon Opn is the world’s first hearing aid that connects to and interacts with the internet. ReSound has created an ultra-small hearing aid and Nuheara's IQbuds enable the wearer to be in – what the company refers as – “a new world of assistive audio”.
The less able-bodied were also served, with Nov'in's Dring smart cane, a walking stick that is linked to the GSM network and can alert other family members to any unusual incidents such as when the user falls, thanks to its embedded movement sensors, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Gaspard has created a smart sensor cover for wheelchair users that detects and tracks side effects like bad posture, inactivity and weight loss, which frequently result in bed sores and back pain.
On a lighter note, there were many products on show utilising technology in new and often unusual ways to facilitate improved health and fitness in us all. SpeedX showed their ultra-connected lightweight road bike, the Unicorn, while Activ5 demonstrated their squeezable connected device and accompanying app that enables anyone to tone their entire body muscles via dozens of five-minute exercises that can be done anywhere, at any time, by anyone. It really works.
Elancyl showed its Slim Massage Coach, a connected slimming device co-designed by a physiotherapist that analyses and corrects the quality of a user’s massage action for the elimination of cellulite in real time.
Xenoma showed its e-skin next-generation smart shirt that enables new motion and gesture-tracking possibilities, opening up personalised fitness and healthcare opportunities, while Digitsole charmed onlookers with its range of connected footwear, especially the ladies’ high-heeled shoes, the height of which can be controlled via an app and the shoe heel responds in real time. You can go from flats for the office to heels for the bar after work in seconds. The shoe is also USB rechargeable.
A similarly fashion-forward tech solution to a widespread issue – namely the purity of the air that we breathe – was the Wair scarf, the first connected wearable air purifier. Coming to market in summer 2017, the Wair houses an active filtration case with triple-layer filter inside a fashionable eco-friendly fabric design. Many people won’t realise you’re wearing an air filter.
Finally, CES Unveiled wouldn't be complete without a cute robot and Kuri, the “adorable home robot with a cheerful personality”, fits the bill perfectly. Kuri will follow you around the house, playing your selection of music, and while you’re out, Kuri will make a tour of any rooms you suggest, relaying what she sees across the internet to your smartphone, so you'll always know what's happening at home.
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