2016: The Year of Gadgets
Every day, technology is getting smarter and more relevant to our daily lives.
The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show showcased a range of new devices that promise to integrate tech into our homes, transport, fitness regimes and more. This year also saw a general push to make these technologies more practical and useful to the everyday user.
Here are some of the things we’re most excited about.
Parenting made easier
Parenting is rarely simple, but a number of new products are promising parents peace of mind when it comes to their children’s safety. The 4Moms device is a miracle for anyone who’s ever struggled with setting up an infant car seat. Together with an app, the device monitors tensioning and levels to ensure that the seat is fitted correctly. Another standout tool for parents was the Owlet Baby Monitor, a new smart sock that can track infant vitals.
While the kids of today are glued to smart devices, most of us remember the simpler times of arcade games. The new Moff band seamlessly fuses old and new, offering an interactive version of Pac-Man. The band is linked up with an app, with kids playing the game by moving their arms – a great way to encourage fitness at the same time as play.
Health and wellness
It’s unsurprising that health devices are moving online, both in terms of accuracy and storing data. One such example is the Withings Thermo thermometer, which works over WiFi to allow you to read your temperature in seconds and track all the data in an app.
This year, the tech industry has also finally gotten wise to women’s health needs. While women have adopted many mainstream health and fitness products, few devices have been exclusively targeted to the female market. The Pregnancy Pro changes that, signifying a huge leap forward in women’s health. This pregnancy test by First Response is the first of its kind, connecting to Bluetooth and offering an app to walk you through how to use it.
Virtual reality – now a reality
As a concept, virtual reality has existed for decades, with the Oculus Rift providing the latest innovation that’s exciting the tech world. While it may seem so futuristic that it’s beyond reach, a number of companies are finding a way to make virtual reality accessible to the everyday consumer. The accessory company Spec has launched a Pocket VR range, transforming your smartphone into a virtual reality machine, without the price tag.
Following on from the success of the hoverboard at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, portable scooters were a primary feature of this year’s line up. Products like Xcooter and URB-E are great for city-dwellers, being small enough to store in an apartment.
Beauty and style
Beauty was a key feature at this year’s Show, with everything from printable nail decals to a pocket-sized eye massager. The beauty technology industry is no doubt growing, so watch this space.
Not to be left behind, fashion also received its own share of the attention, with new lines of wearable technology. Far from the clunky Fitbit, the new trackers are so pretty you’ll want to wear them out. Mira’s new Vivid Wellness bracelet and pendant trackers was a particular showstopper.
If you prefer to cut out the accessories, there’s also an exciting new range of smart clothes that replace traditional trackers. The Lumo Run shorts and leggings have technology embedded in their lining that can track your run and coach you for your next big goal.
Home and lifestyle
Some of the coolest innovations of the year were also some of the most practical. What about an umbrella that warns you when rain is on the way and also notifies you when it’s left behind? To make sure you’re never caught short, invest in the oombrella.
Around the house, day-to-day items are also getting a smart edge. Samsung’s Family Hub Fridge lets you order groceries right from the LCD screen on the front.
Our furry little friends are also part of the revolution, with new ways to monitor and care for your pet. The SmartFeeder can prevent your pet from putting on the pounds, while PetBot provides a monitoring facility by allowing you to take remote selfies of your animals to give them treats using your phone.