Ready or Not… Here Comes our Children’s Future

by Warren Buckleitner

There’s no escape — our children will grow up in a world that is very different than the one we grew up in due to new technology. These new innovations will seep into every aspect of their lives, which is why those of us with a background in child development need to stay on our toes.

How do you do that? By connecting the dots of new innovations. There’s no better place to start than the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held each January in Las Vegas. The event is huge, with over 4,000 exhibits and 250 sessions that draw 170,000 attendees from 160 countries. As you roam the endless halls, you encounter tens of thousands of new products.

Because there’s no way to see everything, I like to visit one hall that houses a collection called the CES Innovation Awards Showcase. It’s a gym-sized room with back-lit displays, highlighting the 200 new products that the industry says are the most innovative.

There’s a men’s dress belt that detects falls, a fingerprint activated door lock, a pinhead-sized microprocessor that is Amazon Alexa enabled and hydrogen powered drone the size of a child’s swimming pool. There are smart fabrics with sensors and batteries and IOT (Internet of Things) appliances. You’ll see window blinds that purify the air, coding blocks for blind children, a robotic tractor that can harvest a field without a driver and a pillow that can detect snores, and adjust the angle of your head accordingly. If you missed the show, don’t worry. I made a video of every product that includes a small information card with a URL so you can learn more. Here’s the link → https://youtu.be/_FTjSlQ2Pq8
Here are some other noteworthy products I spotted.

ELECTRIC CARS. The days of petroleum powered transportation are numbered. Lithium-based batteries are becoming safer and more powerful, and you can find them in Ford’s Mustang Mach-E (aka the Telsa killer). It’s an all electric SUV that can go up to 300 miles on a single charge. You’ll be able to buy one for about $45,000 this fall. Here’s the video → https://youtu.be/2NG_IhhgI_w

FLYING UBERS. The Hyundai Urban Air Mobility vehicle that is part of an urban transportation platform that includes fast charging landing pads and ride sharing capabilities that are being created in partnership with Uber Elevate → https://youtu.be/icXnrYpTl1o. There’s also the Bell Nexus 4EX, with just four electric powered propellers, for vertical and horizontal travel → https://youtu.be/ezD0m_jdXN8.

SEE THROUGH DISPLAYS. The 70 inch Sharp 8K Interactive Museum Display is giant touch screen designed for use in public spaces. The bright image is made out of 33 million pixels, and the effect is awe inducing, especially when you touch and zoom into artifacts or paintings. Here’s my video — -> https://youtu.be/ZEXNijIXEMk. Also noteworthy Sharp’s See Through Display that can switch between transparent and white screen mode for AR effects in such things as storefront windows. See it work at https://youtu.be/O4uwQNm5AXM.

BETTER, CHEAPER VR SYSTEMS. The stand alone $400 and up Oculus Quest, reviewed in this issue will help to reinvigorate a specialized app market, in part because it is backed by Facebook. In the video above, you can also find a pair of glasses for people with dyslexia, and these clear AR glasses → https://youtu.be/uvWk-74HGgU

Watch this year’s Hall of Innovation video, at → https://youtu.be/_FTjSlQ2Pq8

… is an industry sponsored, curated showcase to recognize innovation. The program is open to USA products released in the past year. This is a “pay-to-play” event, with an entry fee that can be as much as $1000 per product.

To get an award, a panel of industry judges reviews applications in each product category based on specific criteria. See the entire list at
https://www.ces.tech/Innovation-Awards/Honorees.aspx

This article is reprinted from the mid-winter issue of Children’s Technology Review. Warren Buckleitner is the editor. Learn more at www.childrenstech.com.

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