From the disinfection of robots to personalized perfume dispensers to creative automotive technology and innovative apps, ultra-modern products and high-tech advances from all over the world are shown at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
The CES is also usually one of the largest and most crowded events in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. But this year the coronavirus pandemic has forced the show to innovate itself – and put everything online.
Almost 2,000 exhibitors take part in the Consumer Technology Association’s first virtual trade fair and compete for consumer attention on a platform with virtual booths, presentations and one-on-one discussions.
Marty Urick, a 15-year CES veteran and vice president of sales at Binatone, said while there won’t be the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that CES is famous for, this year’s virtual get-together has its merits.
“I think that in some ways you can see more because you have the flexibility to jump from place to place to place,” Urick told Al Jazeera.
Innovation in a Pandemic
Like many exhibitors, Binatone is announcing a new product designed to help people reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The MaskFone includes N95 / FFP2 filters in a face mask that is wired for sound. The system allows the user to talk on a mobile phone via bluetooth without removing the mask.
Binatone’s MaskFone allows users to connect their face mask to their smartphone to make calls, play music and use virtual assistant programs [Courtesy: Binatone]With the built-in headphones, a MaskFone user can listen to audio, and the buttons along the mask’s jaw allow the wearer to make or answer a call, skip tracks in their device’s music library, or connect to the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to manufacture. The electronics are removable so that the mask itself can be washed regularly.
“We believe that it is technology that can help people based on what is going on in the world right now,” said Urick.
Other companies offering products related to pandemics include Chinese company Unipin, which has a robot that automatically moves through a room to disinfect it with ultraviolet light.
Hussmann, Panasonic’s grocery retailer, offers food cabinets developed for restaurants and grocery stores that customers can use to take orders without having contact with other people and risk of infection.
The Hussman lockers can hold take-out orders hot and food at certain temperatures – room temperature, cold, or even frozen – until the customer picks them up.
However, not all new products at CES are pandemic-related. Vera Schmidt, Head of Advanced Digital Design at Mercedes-Benz, described the company’s new MBUX Hyperscreen as a “milestone”.
With a futuristic design similar to that of Star Trek, the single control panel combines three screens into a sleek vehicle control system that provides the driver with maps and other information in an intuitive way.
It also provides a screen for the front passenger to watch movies or even TV shows in some areas without the driver being distracted. The MBUX will be available in a new all-electric EQS luxury sedan.
Get in touch with investors
But not only established companies exhibit their creations at CES – many other exhibitors are entrepreneurs who want to get in touch with both investors and customers.
Ninu Perfume from Slovenia is one such outfit. The company has developed a sleek perfume dispenser that can be used to customize a fragrance for someone based on gender, body chemistry, mood, or activity level.
“We wanted to solve one of the biggest drawbacks of any perfume in the world,” said Marko Matijevic, the company’s founder. “Not every perfume is suitable for every mood or event you go to, and not every perfume smells the same for everyone based on your skin type and so on.”
Ninu Perfume, based in Slovenia, has developed an elegant perfume dispenser that can be used to customize a fragrance for someone based on gender, body chemistry, mood or activity [Courtesy: Ninu Perfume]The dispenser is operated via a smartphone app and has three types of basic perfumes – floral, oriental and fresh – that can be combined to create a personalized fragrance.
The app also contains artificial intelligence that can change the formulation depending on the season or temperature.
Ninu is in the prototype phase and is planning a crowdfunding campaign in March. The products are expected to be delivered at the end of this year.
The company chose to exhibit at CES, Matijevic said, because they were ready to show their product to the world – and believed the world was ready for something positive.
“We want the perfume to adapt to each user and become a tool that boosts your mood and confidence,” said Matijevic.