Imagine an infant car seat that wants to make sure your baby is going to have the safest ride ever. This is just one of the highlights from 2016’s Consumer Electronics Show — the exhibition that defines technology trends and showcases gadgets for the year ahead.
Compared to recent years, the show’s big themes weren’t much different — there was still an emphasis on ideas like the smart home, virtual reality, and fitness gadgets. What was different was a greater push from companies to make these ideas more accessible to the average person with practical gadgets. Other areas of life, like beauty and parenting, broke out more high-tech possibilities than ever before. For instance, this year saw the first-ever Beauty Tech Summit at CES.
Ahead, check out our picks for what we think will define tech in 2016. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself a few months from now thinking about buying a smart fridge or high-tech thermometer.
Kids toys are getting more creative with technology.
Sure, kids can pick up a tablet or smartphone, but the true innovative toys are those that combine high tech and simplicity. The Moff band collaboration with Pac-Man is a perfect example of this. Kids wear the Moff band and swing their arms to play Pac-Man through an app — making them physically active while using a smartphone or tablet.
Women’s health is going high tech.
It’s about time women’s health took the floor at CES. Sure, we’ve had fitness trackers that appeal to women, but seeing products like the Pregnancy Pro stick by First Response that focus on reproductive health marks a step forward. It’s the only test that connects via Bluetooth and offers several features in an app to take you through the steps of using it.
Virtual reality is becoming more accessible.
Whether you’re really into virtual reality or not, you can’t deny it’s going to become part of our lives. While Oculus Rift certainly has most of the world talking, other virtual reality products are making their way to the everyday person. For example, popular smartphone case company Speck announced its own line of Pocket VR ($70), complete with a phone case. The gadget lets you easily turn your smartphone into a way to use virtual reality without hurting your wallet.
Urban commuters are getting better options to move around.
Last year, the “hoverboard” was a hit at CES. This year, we’re seeing the rise of portable electric scooters for urban riders — like URB-E (pictured here) and Xcooter — that are sleek and compact and can be folded up to fit in a small apartment.
Parenting gadgets are getting more impressive.
Welcome to parenting in the 21st century. One of the most buzzed-about products at CES was a modern infant car seat from 4Moms: the device works with an app to help you correctly install the seat by automatically monitoring levels and tensions. It certainly wasn’t the only impressive parenting gadget this year. For instance, the Owlet Baby Monitor is a new infant smart sock that tracks a baby’s vitals.
The home is becoming even easier to automate.
Get ready for several parts of your house to get more tech-friendly. Products like D-Vine, a wine decanter that serves you a perfect glass of wine, just might make your life easier — especially while you’re unwinding. Need another example? Check out Samsung’s Family Hub Fridge. It’s a fridge with a LCD screen that can be used to order groceries.