The Latest at CES gadget show in Las Vegas (all times local):
Many companies hope to use robots to deliver food to your hotel room, or packages and sundries to your home. But they still have plenty of issues to work out.
Like safety, for instance. “Now is the time for drone delivery,” said Helen Greiner, the founder of CyPhy Works, a startup that’s testing the use of drones with UPS to make commercial deliveries. But she noted that companies have to guard against accidents — like, say, drones dropping packages on people’s heads, or falling out of the sky themselves.
The drones weigh 15 pounds, not counting the packages they carry, Greiner said at a robotics session at the CES gadget show Friday.
On the ground, businesses not only face safety concerns, but the need to educate consumers who might be shocked by having a robot show up at their front door.
Steve Cousins, CEO and founder of Savioke, is in the midst of deploying 50 robots to various hotels, which rent them for a monthly fee to deliver room service items. Preparing guests for the arrival of their mechanical assistants can be a challenge. Cousins told the story of one surprised hotel guest who slammed the door on a delivery robot — only to reopen it, camera in hand, to take a photo.
Professor Einstein, a miniature educational robot, looks eerily like the genius himself — complete with the crazy wiry hair.
The company behind it, Hanson Robotics, says it’s the first commercial robot with emotive features.
It’s one of dozens of robots on display at the CES tech show, which runs through Sunday in Las Vegas. One can mow your lawn; another folds your clothes.
Professor Einstein is expected to come out in March for about $300. The robot stands more than 14 inches tall and has soft skin. The company says it has 50 realistic expressions. It can stick his tongue out and move his eyes around to follow you.
The robot interacts with an Android or Apple tablet — not a smartphone — to teach science, math and other subjects. It recognizes your voice and responds to your questions. It also can offer weather updates and recite facts about famous people.
Andy Rifkin, chief technology officer at Hanson, says the company’s focus is to offer complex emotions. For those concerned about privacy, he says the robot’s camera tracks your face but doesn’t take photos.
Tired of having to constantly check your cellphone for directions?
French startup Spinali Design has created jeans that will vibrate on your right or left hip to let you know which direction you should head. A chip embedded into the waist is connected to an app. Just enter your destination ahead of time.
Of course, a smartwatch can do that, too, but why get something that can do more? The technological capabilities of the jeans are limited to directions.
However, the company also has bikinis that will buzz when you’re out in the sun too long and need to apply more sunscreen lotion. You enter information on your skin type and SPF level of your sunscreen into an app. The chip then monitors the sun rays.
Spinali says the chip should last four years even with constant use and will turn off automatically when wet to avoid damage.
The jeans cost about $100, and the bikinis about $140.
Amazon’s smart speaker, the Echo, is getting a lot of attention at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week. But it can’t acknowledge your presence or tell one member of your household from another.
That’s where Olly, billed by its makers as the first robot with personality, wants to come in. The gadget resembles a radial tire on a stand that tilts in your direction when it detects you. It can run your household via voice command, looking up information or controlling the temperature (assuming you also have a smart thermostat).
But Emotech, the company behind Olly, says it can do much more. For instance, it can supposedly adapt to the personalities of different people in your home, allowing it to pull off tricks like setting the perfect temperature when you come home from work or go to bed. And Emotech claims it can predict the type of music you like playing at night.
Olly hasn’t been released or priced yet, although Emotech co-founder Chelsea Chen estimates it will eventually cost in the range of $600 to $700.
How about getting a smartphone alert when you might have a concussion?
Neurosurgeons and engineers at the Cleveland Clinic hospital group have developed a mouth guard that’s basically a small computer. Wear it next time you play football, ice hockey or any other sports with the potential for head injuries.
The mouth guard measures the force, location and direction of the impact of each head injury. It sends data to a smartphone wirelessly and alerts coaches and medical personnel when a threshold has been exceeded. A red light on the mouth guard also comes on.
Adam Bartsch, who was one of the designers of the technology, says that “in near real time, what we’re doing is computing the risk of concussion for any single head event.”
The phone needs to be within about 75 feet of the player, though. That means having it with a trainer on the sidelines, not in the locker room.
The mouth guard costs $199 and comes from a Cleveland Clinic spinoff called Prevent Biometrics.
Suffering from stress or low self-esteem? You may not have to pour big bucks on a shrink or hypnotist.
A Danish company called HelloMind has a hypnotherapy app that claims to offer the perfect fix just a click away.
Just download the HelloMind app and choose the area to work on, whether that’s to get rid of a phobia or strengthen a certain aspect of your personality.
If you need immediate relief, you can get five minutes of complete relaxation. Press play for the soothing sounds of a hypnotherapist.
Of course, plenty of people don’t take hypnosis seriously to begin with, so why not do it on an app?
The treatment consists of 10 half-hour sessions. Each session is about $9, or just pay $13 per month.
Henrik Hancke Nielsen, a partner at HelloMind, says many users have gone back for more treatment sessions.
The app launched in Denmark last August and is arriving in the U.S.
It’s one of the products being showcased at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.
Retailers and brands are collecting a lot of data on their shoppers. But how should they use that knowledge to sell more stuff?
Jamie Gutfreund, global chief marketing officer at ad agency Wunderman, says retailers need to look beyond making a hard sell and find ways to make shoppers feel special.
Gutfreund spoke at a panel Thursday on how retailers and brands should navigate a changing landscape. It’s part of the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which runs through Sunday.
Diaz Nesamoney is CEO of Jivox, which provides brands with personalized advertising and marketing. He says one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is pushing a product that an online shopper already bought instead of recommending something that is related.
The landscape is expected to get more difficult for brands to break through as voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home give shoppers the convenience of reordering products they already know and use. Add to that smart refrigerators that send alerts to replenish items already in the fridge. Panelists say these gadgets will put more pressure on brands to further stand out.
Smart devices are everywhere in your home — including your trash can.
Eugene, from the French startup Uzer, attaches to your garbage can. Scan the barcodes of the rubbish as you’re throwing it out to learn whether it can be recycled. Eugene will also build a shopping list of replenishment items.
One problem: For many products like toothpaste, you toss the box when you start the tube, not when it’s empty.
The device is expected to cost about $100 when it goes on sale in the U.S. at the end of the year.
It’s being shown at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week.
Samsung is releasing two mid-range devices as it returns to smartphone releases after the disastrous launch of the Galaxy Note 7.
Samsung recalled the Note 7 phones after they started exploding and catching fire. Samsung executive Mark Notton says the company has done a lot of tests and is confident with the new phones.
Gartner analyst Brian Blau says that to restore trust, Samsung needs to release phones that consumers will get excited about — but the mid-range A phones being released don’t have the same star power as Samsung’s S and Note series.
The Galaxy S8 isn’t expected for a few more months.
The Galaxy A3 and A5 phones will come out in February. As with the Note 7, Samsung is ditching traditional USB ports for a newer type called USB-C. That means new cords and accessories — or adapters.
Everyone’s looking for ways to relieve stress. A U.K. company called Doppel says its wearable band can calm you down, amp you up and change your mood through rhythmic pulses on your wrist.
Founder Fotini Markopoulou says your body will respond to the rhythm — just as fast music gets you going and slow music calms you down.
The rhythm you feel can be adjusted by tapping or stroking the band.
Why turn to a wristband to change your mood?
Markopoulou says there aren’t many methods that are also natural. She says, “I can have a glass of wine that chills me, but I can’t work at the same time.”
The band costs about $180 and will debut in the U.S. in the coming months. It’s being shown the CES gadget show, which runs through Sunday in Las Vegas.
Fashionistas, particularly millennials, like to personalize what they wear.
New backpacks from a startup called Pop-I will let wearers display personal photos right on a built-in digital screen.
Pop-I’s president, Vikram Joshi, says that “with a push of a button, you can completely change the look of your backpack to try to match your style or your emotions or feelings.”
It can be a photo you just snapped, or something from your photo gallery.
The backpacks are among the products on display at this year’s CES gadget show in Las Vegas. They will come out later this year and range from $99 to $399, depending on the size of the screen and the material of the backpack. Leather versions are more expensive than canvass.
Pop-I is looking to expand to other products like clothing.