CES 2015 confirms arrival of age of sensors
Fernando Mexia January 7, 2015
The world's premier consumer technology showcase, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will convert Las Vegas into a huge bazaar of intelligent gadgets aimed at revolutionising how people relate to their environment in the future.
On opening day Tuesday, companies showcased technology that has turned even the most mundane of mechanisms, such as a lock, into a smart device that can be controlled using a smartphone or a tablet.
Samsung announced that by 2020, everything it manufactured would be "smart", but it was the US home appliances chain Lowe's that has taken the lead in transforming the day-to-day life with its Iris home management system.
The company exhibited home appliances, including sensors and cameras, which are connected to a central computer system and can be controlled through a mobile application.
Drawing the blinds, detecting a water leak in the toilet and monitoring plants in the garden are some of the functions of Iris, which is already available in the market with a minimum price tag of $179.
Japanese company Logbar went a step ahead with its intelligent ring, the new version of which is scheduled to hit stores in March, which can be used to switch on or off a lamp or an air conditioner and even control television volume with only a single gesture.
CES showcased locks that can be opened with a phone, light-bulbs that change colour with the mood of its owner, cameras to detect home intrusions, systems to warn if a window is open and thermometers that send the body temperatures of babies to their parents in real time.
There are also products that will be made available to the public, not futuristic prototypes, such as a switch made by the Californian company Brio which transmits electricity only if the proper device is connected, thus putting an end to unwanted electric shocks at home.
Brio spokesperson Jocelyn Painter told Spanish news agency Efe that the switches would be available in the US this year and could become a new safety standard.
Most of the "smart ecosystems" displayed are not compatible with devices belonging to other companies. However, manufacturers have expressed their desire to collaborate and open up their systems to third parties.
The event also served as a platform for smartwatches and physical activity gadgets such as the Misfit fitness tracker, designed using Swarovski crystals.
Also on display are humanoid robots, virtual reality devices, automatically-driven cars and electronic roller skates, such as Acton's Rocket Skates, designed for short-distance commuters.
In the field of television, the companies moved towards new high resolution 4K technology, with slimmer design, especially in the cases of Sony and Panasonic, while Samsung introduced flexible screens.
There were also 3D television sets which do not require special glasses, though these did not garner enough attention to become the main focus of the event.