CES 2019 day three: A superhero helicopter, a bike with Alexa, and a connected kettlebell
The latest news from the Consumer Electronics Show, no visit to Vegas needed.
It’s easy to feel overloaded at the Consumer Electronics Show. There are more than 15,000 products on the show floor and hundreds of thousands of people—all of them trying their hardest to whack you with their giant backpacks. But, this year’s show seems to have a higher concentration of cool products that will actually come to market.
By now, most of the big announcements have already been made, but there’s still plenty of cool stuff to know about. Here are some of the neatest things we saw at the show on day three.
The Bell Nexus looks like a helicopter from the comic books
Last year, helicopter maker Bell showed off a scale model of the Nexus, a hex-copter that’s eventually slated to become one of Uber’s flying taxis. This year, the company has a full-scale model and standing next to it is a decidedly Batman-like experience. The company claims it will be in operation by sometime in 2020. It’s unlikely, however, that you’ll be able to rappel out of it on a rope to fight crime.
Catch up on all the tech buzz words
There are a lot of marketing buzzwords and tech jargon kicking around here at CES. We put together a handy guide to help you navigate all of it. Reading it will really help you disrupt the current paradigm or some other meaningless thing a tech CEO said during a product announcement.
The Cybric E-Legend is a bike with Alexa
In a way, CES has turned into a scavenger hunt in which companies try to find products that don’t have a voice assistant inside and then they cram one in there. The Cybric E-Legend is a bicycle with Alexa integration. Alexa can’t do stuff like pedal for you or do a sweet wheelie to impress your pals, but it can get you directions so you don’t have to use your phone.
Willow made a better version of its smart breast pump
There was a noticeable increase in products aimed at—and often made by—women at this year’s show, which was awesome. The original Willow breast pump was one of the most lauded products of CES 2017 and now version 2.0 has debuted here in 2019. It boasts improvements like a better fit, easier cleaning, and simpler assembly, in addition to its ability to help moms pump breast milk without the need to plug into a wall outlet.
Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is a surreal listening experience
The Sony booth at CES can go either way—some years it’s packed full of every gadget the company makes and other years, it’s more conceptual and focuses on a few demos. This year definitely falls into the latter category and the 360 Reality Audio is one of the most interesting demos in the booth. The system uses a specially shaped speaker that looks like a giant electric razor to make music sound as if it’s coming from every part of a room. it’s like sitting inside an invisible ball of music. The tech will make its way into headphones first as a real product, but this could be a longer-term project for the company if consumers are into it.
Eargo Neo hearing aid
Hearing aids typically require a trip to the audiologist, but many patients are reluctant to make that trip, even when they have some hearing loss. Need proof? Ask my dad. (And be sure to ask loudly.) But Eargo’s new hearing aids are like small, wireless earbuds that come in a handy charging case like Apple’s AirPods. Checking in at more than $2,500, the Neo is very expensive, but it’s available directly to consumers, which is a trend with medical devices here at the show. This trend is either very good or very bad for people like me who are very unhealthy but completely unwilling to go to a doctor for any reason.
Lexar made a 1 TB SDXC memory card that you definitely shouldn’t buy
There are several annual traditions at CES. Someone spills their lunch all over themselves in a hilarious fashion in the press room. A press demo goes terribly—and usually hilariously—wrong. And we get a new memory card with the biggest capacity yet. This year, Lexar has a full 1 TB SDXC card, which doesn’t have an official price, but will likely cost more than the camera you’re going to put it in. It’s impractical as a product, but impressive when you consider that just 15 years ago we got the first 1 GB SD card.
Alienware made a gaming laptop you can actually upgrade on your own
You’re not supposed to go monkeying around inside of most laptops. Even if you figure out how to get the case open, the insides are like a pricey, fragile, electricity-filled game of Tetris that’s tricky to navigate. The new Alienware Area 51m, however, has a full-sized desktop processor and GPU that you can easily upgrade on your own. It has a 17.3-inch screen and weighs roughly 8.5 pounds, so it’s not built for carrying around all day—and all that computing firepower will eat through battery life like a hungry journalist chews through a turkey wrap in the CES press room—but it fits the bill as a desktop replacement quite nicely.
Gillette made a new razor that heats up while you shave
I hear the phrase, “Hey, ZZ top!” quite regularly because of my giant beard, so I’m not exactly an expert on shaving, but I can appreciate that Gillette is trying something new with its razors beyond adding new blades. The $160 (no, that’s not a typo) razor gets you a five-bladed razor that heats up to 113 or 122 degrees F depending on your preference. The company says the heated razor makes for warmer skin, which translates into a smoother shave.
Jaxjox made a smart kettlebell
The price tag of $349 is a lot for a kettlebell, which is typically little more than an iron ball with a handle attached. The Jaxjox bell, however, is adjustable between 12 and 42 pounds and keeps track of workout details including how many reps you do of a given exercise and how long each session takes. The company hopes it will bring users into its subscription-based workout program, which gives you most of the benefits of a group workout setting without the fear of farting in front of a bunch of strangers when you’re concentrating on your kettlebell swing form.