Watching the news streaming out of CES 2015, it's hard not to be a little jealous that I'm not in Vegas this week. (An anticipated -35 degree wind chill in Chicago may have something to do with this.)
Social media is abuzz with all the shiny gadgets being unveiled in Vegas, where, incidentally, the average daytime temperature will be a pleasant 65 degrees this week. I bet it's even warmer inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where the likes of Samsung, LG, and Panasonic are showing off their latest electronics to eager crowds, none of whom will be wearing parkas and cursing under their frozen breath.
Perched in my icy office here in the Midwest gives me a perspective about the CES product introductions in sunny Nevada. Let's face it, not every one of the 20,000 new products shown at CES will light a flame in the hearts of consumers. Other gadget ideas -- the ones below -- tell me that some product managers don't sit around worrying their groaning furnace is about to conk out and their pipes are going to freeze -- again.
[Connected devices sound great until you consider the privacy implications. See CES 2015: Internet Of Things Not All Shiny.]
So crank up your space heater and consider these gizmos:
The Motorola Scout 5000. Track your pet with this collar-mounted device, which sports a GPS, WiFi networking, and wide-angle camera for 720p live video streaming. But why stop there? With the Scout 5000, you can talk to your pet remotely when it starts barking at a squirrel spotted through the patio window. The Scout 5000, the latest pet product produced by Binatone under the Motorola brand, will be available this June for $200.
The $99 Garden Sensor from Edyn gathers and analyzes weather and soil conditions, then wirelessly connects to your phone with alerts and advice. Pair it with the $59 Edyn Water Valve, which relies on input from the Garden Sensor to... well, you can probably guess. Both items will start shipping this spring.
Smarter, maker of the WiFi Kettle, announced the WiFi Coffee Machine. Like WiFi Kettle, there's an associated iOS and Android app to alert you when your beverage is hot and ready. The coffee machine, which includes a bean grinder, is slated for a March release and will retail for around $150.
The SleepIQ Kids Bed from Sleep Number will programmatically adjust to the needs of growing bodies and spines, according to the company. The $1,000 bed will also monitor breathing, heart rate and movement, scoring these measures in its associated app. The bed will also notify parents when the child gets out of bed in the middle of the night.
The Alert Band from Impecca attaches to a driver's head and "monitors and analyzes brainwaves, sending real-time notifications and alarms to the driver's smartphone, family, and friends, as well as social networks, 3-5 minutes before the driver begins to doze off and fall asleep," according to the company. The Alert Band will be available in May for $250.
Peeple hopes to improve on the ordinary door peephole with a system that takes a picture of visitors and sends it to a smartphone before the door is opened. Peeple's founders hope to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon.
Have a favorite off-kilter product announcement from CES 2015? Tell us in the comments below.
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