CES, the year's biggest annual technology show, is underway this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. From smartphones to scooters, thousands of new gadgets are on display. Below, check out some of the show's coolest stuff:
Strap on your googles and get ready for a ride — virtual reality is going to take off in a huge way in 2016. The HTC Vive headset is a big reason why. This fully-immersive headset delivers an experience unlike any other, because you don’t just sit and watch while wearing it. Instead, through head-tracking technology and a pair of hand-held wireless controllers, you’re encouraged to interact with your environment, climbing ladders, painting the air, and even shooting zombies.
Tech often has a penchant for nostalgia. But Loop is bringing modern tech to life in an old-school way, with its analog take on the digital photo frame. A gorgeous 9-inch, high-definition display, Loop connects to online photo services via Wi-Fi, streaming your favorite pictures wherever you are. Controlled by a pair of physical dials, the device looks like an old-school television set, making it great for kitschy kitchens and cool offices.
At last, a drone that looks every bit as sleek and terrifying as we’ve been warned unmanned aerial vehicles can be — only for consumers, too! A super-lightweight, fixed-wing craft that can travel up to 50 miles per hour and stay aloft for about 45 minutes, the Parrot Disco is a party in the sky. It also boasts automatic take-off and landing and assisted flying modes.
ili Wearable Translator
Sometimes a device seems so obvious, you can’t believe it hasn’t been made before. The world’s first wearable translator, ili can help two people have full conversations in separate languages, without the help of a smartphone or even an Internet connection. This is great for travelers who may not have mobile data in a foreign country, or who feel that Google Translate it too complicated and clunky to use.
Sphero BB-8 Force Band
Star Wars fans fell in love with the roly-poly BB-8 droid before The Force Awakens even debuted, thanks in part to the magical Sphero app-enabled droid that rocked holiday toy sales. Not content to let this toy gather dust, the company has revealed an upcoming accessory for it: the Force Band. Linking the wearer to the droid, this connected bracelet lets users control BB-8 without the use of the Sphero smartphone app.
Roli Seaboard Rise
Resembling an old computer graphics tablet but sounding like every instrument under the sun (and some yet to see the light of day), Seaboard Rise by Roli is a radical new MIDI musical instrument. The keyboard-like device feels soft and foamy to the touch, allowing it to be used in many ways. Strike its keys like a piano. Or glide your fingers over its frets like a guitar. Distortion controls can synthesize sounds to give them never-before-heard shape and tone.
Everyone’s been there before. You diet and exercise, but still don’t see any results when you step on the scale. Sigh. No, really, exhale into this breath analyzer to see when you’re actually burning fat. When your body is shedding pounds, it’s also off-gassing acetone, which is detectable in your breath. LEVL, which looks for traces of acetone, can help you better understand your activities to make sure you’re not sabotaging your own weight loss efforts.
Revealing itself to the world at CES last year, Gogoro turned a lot of heads. So why is it notable again in 2016? Because the ambitious scooter company has done what most tech startups fail to do — deliver on its promises. In 2015, Gogoro sold 4,000 of its electric scooters in Taipei, Taiwan. The effort meant installing more than 125 battery-swapping stations to facilitate more than 2,000 battery swaps per day. For its next feat, Gogoro is looking to expand its strategy away from Asian mega-cities to bring its app-enabled mopeds to other metro areas around the world.
Fisher Price Code-A-Pillar
All the other great gadgets on this list had to come from somewhere. Fisher Price is making sure to keep the tech pipeline pumping with this toy intended for future programmers. Designed to teach critical thinking skills to tomorrow’s coders, this reconfigurable caterpillar toy lets pre-schoolers re-arrange the body parts of the robotic insect. Each body segment gives the chain a different command (forward, left, right, wait, and more). By stringing the caterpillar together, kids learn how to create a program, telling the robot what path to walk along.