Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024


I’m still digging through the massive number of announcements from CES earlier this month, and I found 10 products that set the bar for innovation. These are products that I’ve considered buying because they are cool or address a problem that I find compelling.

I’ll close with my Product of the Week: an app and emergency preparedness kit from Perci that may come in handy for managing the increasing number of weather-related events that hamper our lives during global climate change.

First, let’s talk about the most innovative products from CES 2024. I’ll leave off robots, which I covered in depth last week.

The Revolutionary Nimo PC

Nimo 1 Core spatial computer
(Image Credit: Nimo)

I think the current generation of PCs has run its course, and it’s time to step back and rethink personal computing, given the breakthrough in cloud computing, head-mounted displays, and Bluetooth technology.

The Nimo 1 Core is a PC the size of a mouse. It uses the Qualcomm XR2 solution designed specifically for spatial computing, and it will work with either the Nimo 1 or the Rokid Max glasses. The cost for this tiny computer is $399 without the glasses.

I’d argue that this is the first personal computer primarily designed for cloud applications because it uses a unique operating system.

This solution will compete with the Apple Vision Pro at a small fraction of the price.

With a wireless foldable keyboard and a small wireless mouse coupled with the head-mounted display, this PC provides the potential for a mobile, virtual 50-inch display in a pocket-sized solution.

I think PCs like this are the future. They aren’t the present yet, but Nimo is working to change that.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid

If you are like me, you travel a lot and experience the pain of carrying both a laptop and a tablet. You bring both because you use the PC for work and the tablet to watch movies, so you don’t run out of battery for work, and because there isn’t much room for a laptop flying in coach. In addition, you can continue to use a tablet on takeoff and landing but not the laptop.

This dual-device approach, however, means that even if you are TSA Pre, you must pull out one of the devices because they can’t scan two large devices very well when going through security. You want one device that can do both things.

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid PC does both. It’s a Qualcomm-powered tablet married to an Intel laptop, providing a modular device with solid Android performance in tablet mode and decent Intel performance in PC mode in one device.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid

(Images Credit: Lenovo)

Since it is one device, you shouldn’t have to pull it out when going through security, and you can use the table portion of the device to watch content during takeoff and landing. This design may be the ideal solution for combining the functionalities of both a tablet and a PC without compromising either in one integrated device.

Clicks Creator Keyboard

Back when smartphones first came to market, they had keyboards, so we didn’t have the problems we now have with distracted driving. With keyboards, you could learn how to type by feel.

I got kicked off of the “Today” show during the iPhone’s launch by arguing that kids who have attention issues would get into accidents because they would try to use their iPhones when driving — which clearly not only turned out to be true but applied to adults, as well, resulting in new laws and many accidents.

When added to an iPhone, the Clicks creator keyboard makes the iPhone far safer because it turns the iPhone into a BlackBerry-like device with a keyboard.

Clicks real keyboard for iPhone

The Clicks keyboard frees up to 50% more screen space for apps and content viewing by replacing the iPhone’s on-screen typing area. (Image Credit: Clicks Technology)

Not only does this significantly speed up how fast you can text, but you can also text by feel, reducing the need to look at your phone screen while texting.

You still shouldn’t do this while driving, but if you do, you are more likely to survive the experience than you would with a typical screen phone. It is funny that it highlights that we never should have moved from keyboards to screen phones in the first place.

Current Dual-Zone Electric Grill

Current Dual-Zone Electric Grill

(Image Credit: Current Backyard)

If you are like me, you have a propane grill and must deal with having to rush out to buy propane when you want to BBQ. Not only is it a pain, but the darn tanks tend to roll around when you’re driving and do ugly things to your trunk, the back of your car, or, in my case, my SUV. They are heavy when full, they can explode and represent a fire hazard, and in the winter, they are a real pain to replace. However, electric grills just can’t do the job that a propane grill can — until now.

The Current outdoor grill appears to have the benefits of a propane grill, but it’s electric and has smart features that help make you a better cook. It looks cool, too, which is why it is on my short list of things to buy for summer, and I’m looking forward to retiring my propane grill. It is due out in February, and I’m on the early order list as I want to say goodbye to propane. I like the dual-zone version with the cabinet best.

Barsys 360 Robotic Bartender

I have two robotic bartenders, one from Black and Decker, but the Barsys 360 robotic bartender is better looking than either of them, and it better integrates with a smartphone application.

You load it with up to three ingredients, and based on what you load into the machine, the app will give you a list of drinks you can make. It doesn’t have a carbonator, but the robotic bartender I own that has one was discontinued mainly because of problems with that system.

Here’s the CES demo for the Barsys 360:

Note that it has a built-in mixer, which neither of my existing robotic bartenders has.

I’m on the list for one of these, but given I already have two robotic bartenders, I’m not sure I want or need a third. I expect that if I got this one, I’d lose the two I already have, as it looks a ton better and is more advanced than the ones I currently own. It reminds me a little bit of a newer version of the “Star Trek” replicator.

Skyted Voice Silencer Mask

If you know what you are doing, you can receive and make calls on some airplanes. But if you do, you will annoy the people around you. I once had a guy get very abusive after I did a radio interview from a plane while I was at the gate because my voice tends to carry.

The Skyted Silent Mask allows you to talk on your phone silently so you don’t annoy people around you and don’t share what you’re talking about with people who shouldn’t be listening to your call. This product is currently available on Kickstarter for $249, but the price will eventually increase to $599.

It isn’t a cheap date, but it isn’t as bad looking as other solutions I have seen. It seems to work very well, and it could keep your calls quiet and reduce the chance you’ll get yelled at if you have to take a call in a meeting or someplace else where a phone call would be problematic.

I have one on order and hope it will ensure that the next time I have to do an interview on a plane, it won’t result in another passenger wanting to punch me out (is it just me, or have passengers on planes gotten overly violent?). If they ever enable phone calls on flights, this thing could be as important as headphones are today.

Horwin Senmenti X Electric Motorcycle

I don’t ride anymore, but when I saw the Horwin Senmenti X, I was tempted to buy another motorcycle. Due in 2025, folks who are into anime will immediately recognize this bike as a dead ringer for the bike in Akira.

Electric with twin swing arms (which is what the Yamaha I used to own was supposed to have) and a very low center of gravity, it should be able to corner and stop faster than any other bike on the road, electric or otherwise. This thing looks like it came from the future. I imagine it would pull a ton of interest at motorcycle events and on rides.

If you like motorcycles and want to ride into the future, Horwin had several cutting-edge designs, but the one that excited me was this Senmenti X. Now I want to watch Akira again.

Pebble Flow Electric Car-Focused Camper Trailer

I’ve been watching the Pebble Flow camper trailer like a hawk even before CES, as it is an amazing trailer:

The problem, well, one of the problems with electric cars and trucks is that they lose a ton of range when pulling a trailer. But:

  • What if that trailer was also powered and could not only push its own weight but recharge your car with its much larger potential for solar panels?
  • What if it could make hooking up easier?
  • What if it had every feature of far more expensive camper trailers but was more affordable than many of them?
  • What if it was the most advanced camper trailer on the market?

That is the Pebble Flow, designed for electric cars. This thing is amazing!

You can live off the grid for up to seven days with full power to all of the appliances, heating, and cooling, and it has 3x the electrical capacity of one Tesla Powerwall. This is the world’s first dual-motor electric camper trailer, and it is a sign of things to come. I am so tempted to buy it.

Brelyon Ultra Reality Display

Brelyon Ultra Reality Display

(Image Credit: Brelyon)

I’m a fan of head-mounted displays. While I use them when traveling, I don’t use them in my home office. However, the idea of creating a monitor that uses technology to get the size of the device down to something more manageable appeals to me.

Currently, I use a Dell 49-inch monitor, but it is wider than my field of view when closed, and if I back away from it, everything gets smaller, which undoes the advantage of size. Plus, it entirely blocks any view out of my office window.

The Brelyon Ultra Reality Display is designed to be closer to your face. Similar to a head-mounted display, it employs high resolution to present the experience of a massive screen, eliminating the need for an actual large screen.

You get the equivalent of a 122-inch screen in a 32-inch form factor, so it’s a smaller monitor with more screen real estate than my massive 49-inch screen. At $12,000, it is outside my price range for a monitor but could be ideal for a trader, coder, animator, engineer, or anyone else who needs a massive screen in a small form factor.

It is on my lust list, but I’ll wait until the price comes down.

Rabbit R1

Finally, we have the Rabbit R1, a wearable device (like a “Star Trek” communicator) that, for $199, gives you a body camera (handy for capturing YouTube events around you) and a better voice interface for your smartphone. It is in beta right now, and I think it could use some work on its industrial design as it looks more like a toy than the serious device it is.

I expect products like this will become far more common as AI advances and we use these new, more advanced Siri-like capabilities more broadly. It has a natural language interface, and while initially it will work with most smartphones, it could represent an iPhone-like revolution to the current phone design.

The Rabbit R1 could represent the future of smartphones and is worth checking out. I just wish it looked more like a product from “Star Trek” rather than a product from some kid’s TV show.

Wrapping Up

CES was expensive this year as I saw 10 products that I wanted, and I ended up ordering several. I saw the future of robotics, PCs and monitors, smartphones, grilling, motorcycles, and voice communications at the show. I’m already looking forward to next year, when I expect things will become even more exciting and expensive for me.

Tech Product of the Week

Perci App and Vest Disaster Preparedness Kit

We have a lot of fires where I live. With the current weather, we’re looking at some potential for flooding. There’s also a huge fault line near our border, and we just had a killer snowstorm that made getting around problematic.

As a result, with global warming, we all need to do a better job with disaster preparedness, and the Perci app and vest are an effective way to start.

Perci Vest disaster kit

Equipped with 25 essential items in easily accessible pockets, the Perci app and vest disaster preparedness kit is a comprehensive solution for any survival checklist. (Image Credit: Invicta Ready)

The app assists in rapid emergency preparedness by guiding you to prepare a packing list, establish a family meeting point, and form a trust circle for assistance. It also helps secure your home, create an inventory for insurance purposes, and consolidate real-time disaster alerts to ensure you don’t miss critical updates.

You can order a vest equipped with essential emergency supplies, including medical items, hygiene products like toothpaste, and water purification tablets, providing critical resources needed in a disaster.

With the changes to the weather and other natural or human-caused catastrophes likely to become more common, we all need to become better prepared to run when the need arises. The Perci app and vest address that problem nicely, and it is my Product of the Week.


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