Who doesn’t like the anticipation that comes after those words? Especially when you have a stake in the game. For those at CES this year, there was so much to see and evaluate. What captured my imagination were the winning innovations in sensing and response technologies. There are many ways to acquire data. But it is the integration of the collected information and how it is used to augment what is seen, tasted, felt, or experienced in real time or in post-action analysis that matters. To me, this was the key differentiator this year.
As a spokesman for Bell Helicopter said, “Innovation unlocks new missions for our customers.” It’s the action and initiative taken with an innovation concept that counts though. You are only innovative if the new ideas you have gathered get executed. One of the reasons DISHER invests in CES is to gather new ideas that we can bring into reality with our customers. Each one of the industries that DISHER supports had impressive innovative ideas from forward-thinking companies. From my perspective, here were a few of the highlights.
BELL HELICOPTER – The Nexus was a large and prominent exhibition of technological prowess. Bell has developed a stunning, hybrid-electric, rotocraft air-taxi. It has an incredibly intuitive and safety-enhancing, flight-control system that feels like the future of human-machine interface.
GENTEX– A West Michigan business and neighbor to DISHER is best known for their information augmented rear-view mirrors and HomeLink controls. They announced a furthering of their dimmable glass offering as the chosen supplier for the 777X, the flagship of Boeing aircraft. Gentex continues to bring great new products to market and are a watchlist must.
JOHN DEERE– As a new entrant at CES, John Deere made a huge splash giving firm evidence that they are a forward-thinking technology company with a deep interest in being a responsible global caretaker. Their environmental-stewardship atmosphere was clear and loud. One of the representatives I met had supported a corporate trip to Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to learn how his team could best unlock the potential of small growers. Their attitudes and actions clearly align with their mission.
OSRAM– A lighting-technology company demonstrated how artificial intelligence, vision-sensing robotics, and controls can produce a new harmony and improved yield from greenhouse crops. Their display showed how they were changing lighting and environment very slightly over time. And how they measured the crop’s response to these changes in terms of the quality, quantity, and efficiency of the plant under observation.
CONNECTED GARDEN– Winner of two CES Awards, the Innovation Award and the Climate Change Innovator Award, the Archibald App and Super Sensor IoT Garden Stick determine exactly what plant will best survive the specific soil, light, irrigation situation for the precise location it is in. Once seeds are planted, the sensor evaluates soil conditions, watering frequency, and pairing with this plant type and gives the user real-time feedback. The sensor allows for greater success by the home gardener with less waste.
HONDA– Other than the exhilarating new 2019 Honda Passport, Honda showed off their technology expertise by demonstrating an autonomous ATV workhorse. My second favorite product Honda showcased was their connected-car technologies that assist in collision-free navigation in traffic flow. The autonomous vehicle era is upon us. I was skeptical a few years ago, but I’ve seen the technologies mature. Now I can’t wait for the day when road rage has been eliminated. Let the robots get mad! My favorite Honda exhibit was their R&D area– the Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator. This is the place where their brain trust supports start-ups and inventors in bringing dreams to market.
GHSP– The company known for their shift-by-wire technologies in many current model vehicles produced one of the most beautiful kitchen backsplashes I have ever seen. The backsplash was a huge touchscreen. All comforts afforded by the connected-home technologies are accessible and functional. They partnered with another West Michigan company, UV Angel, to include an ultraviolet light to provide a deep-clean function to let users know when countertops are sanitized and ready to use.
BONGIOVI ACOUSTIC LABS– They were recipients of the Tech For A Better World Innovation Award as well as the 2018 Clio Awards Silver. Bongiovi Acoustic Labs has developed a low-cost digital stethoscope (called Aria) allowing cost-effective telemedicine solutions to be available in the remotest of places. Their designs utilize technologies pioneered by the one of the music industry’s favorite sons, Tony Bongiovi, a genius in the music recording business. Utilizing algorithms developed by the Bongiovi Acoustics Labs team, they have enabled new methods for analysis, trend monitoring, pattern isolation, and irregularity identification. They can give physicians new insights on patient conditions that may have been previously overlooked.
OWLET– This Utah company has set a new standard for pregnancy monitoring. Their vision to provide a worry-free experience through data (on an unborn baby’s heart rate, kicks, and contractions) to the mother at-a-glance has been realized. This product also won an Innovation Award will no doubt be a maternity favorite in the near future.
FURRION– Headquartered in the UK, Furrion was an absolute surprise to me. This luxury-product innovation company had an impressive display of an immense yacht decked out with their latest products. Each offering had exquisite and lavish beauty designed into it.
WHIRLPOOL – Another forward-thinking West Michigan company, Whirlpool introduced innovations into their Yummly app with personalized recipe recommendations based on each family member’s preference. Their app now works with their new hub wall oven allowing preheat based on the app settings and control of the cooking through this smart-oven’s sensing capabilities. It also provides links to free training through videos created by professional chefs. It was an impressive line-up sure to revolutionize today’s kitchen.
HEATWORKS – This company has rolled out a point-of-use, water-heating system that has an innate resistance to scale, rust, and other detractors from operation that are typically found in water-heating systems. They are using heat conduction through graphite electrodes and the water itself to instantly heat water to the precise temperature +/- 1-degree Fahrenheit.
SMOKEDETECTIVE – Another CES 2019 Innovation Award winner, they have developed the ability to detect the specific video signature of smoke. Their product provides a technological platform that turns any camera-enabled smart device into a smoke detector without the need for calibration or additional hardware. This reduces the overall time in response to a thermal event and allows for a faster response due to connected home indications of danger.
LIFEDOOR – This company is focusing on sensing of the audio output of a home’s existing smoke detectors. It uses this information to automatically close your home’s interior doors and illuminate rooms in the event of a fire. Studies show that closed doors save lives in creating a 900-degree difference in the intensity of a fire. Plus, due to widespread use of synthetic materials, furniture, and construction methods, fire spreads much faster now than it used to 40 years ago by 14 minutes. Great to see a company putting life-saving action to the data collected.
OVIE – Their product provides food-expiration indication for food-storage containers, both on the container and by an app. Food poisoning in the household is an avoidable sickness. Ovie has enabled the home to be a safer place to store more leftovers. Their intuitive app helps keep tabs on a refrigerator and enables a user to make use of the food available in recipe suggestions which eliminates waste and increases available resource awareness.
HUMANSCALE – Beautiful, customizable, ergonomic workspaces were demonstrated this year. They were connected through their adaptable M/Connect docking station producing an elegant and flexible workspace environment that adapts to the user’s many needs on demand.
Ergonomyx Technologies Canada – Demonstrating their smart, under-the-desk bike is helping fight the battle of the sedentary work environment in a manner that felt like it would be sustainable. They are connecting the bike to a workplace fitness app and allowing traceability of fitness data to take full control where stasis was taking hold.
In Other Areas
ANALOG DEVICES – AD displayed an impressive autonomous driving simulator that was immersive and thorough. Their high-resolution depth mapping Time of Flight Camera showcased their technology over existing 3D technology. It demonstrated greater accuracy in spatial awareness and an enhanced user experience. They also had medical segment data augmentation in their Vital Sign Monitoring technologies allowing multiple sensor platforms to provide solutions for complex vital sign recording along with an integrated algorithm for many bio-medical solutions.
MICROCHIP – An enabler of many of the technologies listed above, Microchip had an exceptional demonstration of security products, medical technology foundational elements, easy-to-use graphics microcontrollers, and turnkey-touch solutions that are ready-to-go and easy-to-implement in your next design.
In some ways, it felt like any other CES. But in other ways, I saw a maturing of many of the leading technologies, better data collaboration, and accelerated data-driven response. The enablers to a safer, brighter, smarter future are all there for the integrating and interweaving. Many companies like DISHER are rallying around how to best use it to make this world a better place.
DISHER exists to Make a Positive Difference with your company. Through our continued focus to stay on the leading edge; we are ready, willing, and able to come alongside your next project. We make ideas happen. Whether you need help finding specific technical expertise, identifying the next product possibility, prototyping your latest idea, bringing your product to market, supporting you on the factory floor, or working on your business— we stand ready to answer your call. Reach out to one of us. We would love to help you realize the success you deserve so that at next year’s CES, you might hear the words: And the winner is…YOU!
Written By: Joe Pighetti, Electronics Systems Engineer
With 15 years of aviation systems engineering, product engineering, production support, project/program management (think Boeing 787 Dreamliner), Joe has a ton of knowledge to contribute. He has a Masters in Engineering Management from Western Michigan University, a BS in Electrical Engineering from GVSU, and PMP Certification. In his spare time, Joe enjoys cooking, making music, woodworking, and building a beautiful life with his wife & 3 kids.