Positive Change Led by Emerging Electronics
The DISHER mission is ‘Making a Positive Difference’. The differences made by many of the companies I visited with were what really impacted me this year at CES. These companies were aligned on using electronics for the betterment of all.
The first area I visited, and ended up spending a significant amount of time at, was Eureka Park. This area was full of start-up and supporting companies, over 800 in number. The very first booth I visited absolutely captured my heart. As I walked up to the booth, I was greeted by a friendly animatronic duck. A quick survey of the booth indicated there was alignment with Aflac. I didn’t expect them to be at CES; I was intrigued. In just a few moments, I melted. Hannah Chung, Sproutel’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, described the purpose, the why, behind the duck. Ms. Chung informed me that Aflac had worked with them to develop a highly interactive, learning, animatronic duck that is designed to comfort kids with cancer. It has disks that allow the child to express their emotions. Smiling or frowning, facial expressions incite the duck to respond appropriately to the child’s mood. And the last feature, oh the last; this one was the clincher. The duck has a tiny port, shown in the picture, used to receive chemo while the child is going through it, too. The child now has an empathetic friend all the way through the process. Their story, along with their amazing, highly developed product, was extremely inspirational. It’s no wonder they took home a CES 2018 Innovation Award.
The last booth I visited on the first day was a company called Holor. Their product is a wearable safety device called STY(X). They purposed the device to sound an ear-piercing alarm and flash a strobe light while alerting 911 of the wearer’s location. Kanthi Yalamanchili, CEO and Founder of Sty(x), after having encountered two horrific back-to-back events, went on to dedicate her life’s work to making a positive difference. Her efforts have paid off and are “empowering women and changing the way we think about personal safety.” Thanks for the inspiration, Kanthi!
The following booths are only a small glimpse of all the good that is being done with electronics. There is a system, Signall, which was invented to aid in accessibility for the deaf in interpreting sign language – breaking down communication barriers. I then met Sajjad Ahmed, Director of Engineering for UnaliWear. His company developed a smart device that is geared toward the geriatric with fall detection, medication reminders, the ability to detect their location, user-friendly guided assistance at home, and many other independence extending functions.
Another company, ROAR, had a different, yet still attractive, take on the safety assisting wearable. This one, called ‘Athena’, has an app that links your location to those you love, as well as provide your location to 911 operators. There were innovations in Virtual Reality by Revinax, using goggles to give more sensory information in a training scenario – I witnessed brain surgery for the first time with augmented reality. Needless to say, I’m very thankful for those surgeons out there!
Speaking of medical, I also met Mélusine Pigeon from AxLR. She is the RF Engineer that developed the BoneTag. This product really piqued my interest. They have developed an RFID system, about the size of a SIM card, to place in prosthesis to allow for evaluation of the core temperature at the site of the surgery – an early warning system for infection or loss of adhesion to the bone. It also allowed for a sensor that indicates pressure, giving information to health care professionals they didn’t have before. Along with this, it is available over the lifetime of the prosthesis. This device has the potential to revolutionize design and use for the 2.5 million knee prosthesis that are implanted every year. Excited to see what’s next for this group of highly talented individuals!
If you’ve been clicking my links, you may have noticed the other piece to Eureka Park that gave me a great feeling about the state of innovation. The sites I shared have a strong international presence. The interconnectedness of the technical world truly shined this year. There was representation by France, Israel, Wallonia, Canada, Australia, China, Italy, UK, Croatia, the Netherlands, Taiwan and many more, all converged in Las Vegas. It was great to see that all is well with innovation worldwide and that we are all much more connected than we know.
Overall, the convention was exceptional for making some excellent new acquaintances and continuing to build on existing relationships. Discussing and discovering how electronics are being used for the betterment of mankind was very exciting.
This year’s CES truly hit the mark for ‘Making a Positive Difference.’
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.