[CES 2013] Change channels with the flicker of an eye, and interact with your clever fridge

Here are three of our highlights thus far from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas – a quick pick from some of the most exciting, innovative and just plain crazy launches from the event!

Motion Control Redux

Although motion control has been wowing gamers since Xbox launched its Kinect system and Playstation unveiled its rival Move offering, the move into widespread consumer tech has taken longer. This trend, however, looks set to be finally addressed as CES 2013 is swamped with a variety of products that respond to movements, not remotes.

One of the most fascinating looks to be a new TV from Haier that uses your eyes as the remote. The tech giant has developed working TVs that allow users to change channels with their eyes. The company claims it also has working versions that respond to brain waves alone. Take a second to let that sink in. Even if this technology is in its earliest stages, the possibilities are Orwellian at the very least.

It presents an exciting future for brands looking to push the boundaries of their interaction with consumers, and begs the question: what next? If products are interacting with our very thoughts, how do marketers track this and promote future products to us?

Future-proofing, not just waterproofing, tech

A show of the size and scale of CES is always going to have a glut of new consumer product launches, particularly in the phone and TV sector, and this year is no different. However one launch that has caused a genuine stir is the unveiling of the Sony Xperia Z.

(Image courtesy digitaltrends.com)

The phone itself packs an impressive set of stats, from a powerful 1.5GHz quad-core processor to a 13-megapixel camera and 5” 1080p display. However it is the NFC and waterproofing capabilities that really make this device stand out. The former is so well executed that you can touch the phone to a speaker and the music playing is instantly played through the phone.

Sony claim this device can be used underwater for up to half an hour, making this the first truly waterproof smartphone. Gimmicky or not, advances like this are now too frequent and too widespread to be written off as mere stunts. Given the range of uses that smart devices are now finding in our daily lives, it’s easy to imagine a day in the not too distant future when all smartphones will be waterproof and NFC-enabled as standard.

Connected households

A major theme of this year’s event was predicted to be smart devices, and already CES 2013 is delivering. Samsung caused considerable buzz with the launch of its new T9000 LCD Four-Door Refrigerator, which builds on the previously launched models in a quite a big way. This version comes with Evernote – the popular note-taking app – integrated into the Linux-based OS, meaning the fridge can be used to download recipes, apps, photos and videos.

The LCD also includes calendar and weather apps, amongst others, making this a truly smart consumer device. Although the $4,000 price tag for previous smart fridges prevented them from becoming accessible consumer products for the majority, it seems now to be only a matter of time before every we’ll all be ordering our shopping from our fridge doors.

From the ashes…

The first day of CES was not short on announcements and we could go on for hours about Panasonic’s new smart TVs, Toyota’s driverless cars, Lenovo’s 27” tablet or even the fork that tracks the number of forkfuls of food one is consuming per meal per minute.

However it was an announcement from Polaroid that caused the most nostalgic glee, and not a small amount of excitement. The beleaguered brand, once sadly assumed to be a relic of the 80s, has bounced back and used CES to confirm the launch of its new Android-powered Polaroid iM1836 camera. The device comes with interchangeable lenses, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, touch-screen and even video. Plus it is an affordable £250.

What’s great about this launch is not only the high-spec device at surprisingly low price, but also the fact that Polaroid seems to have successfully turned itself around and positioned itself as a player in the crowded tech space of 2013. Whether people flock to this camera remains to be seen, but nonetheless this is a lesson for brands everywhere in how to respond to a dynamic, competitive marketplace by building on your heritage and constantly innovating.