CES is more than just a smorgasbord of new gadgets and concepts attractive to consumers. More and more, it is also a place where companies showcase innovations that can actually make the world a better place. At CES 2021, this type of technology – which we call Take for Change – was out of full force. We saw everything from solar-powered remotes that eliminate the need for disposable batteries to machines that draw drinking water from thin air. But of all the world’s changing technologies on display this year, these four innovations impressed us the most:
Blood pressure is a deeply useful health metric. With this single measurement, doctors can assess your risk of developing heart disease: the number one cause of death in the world. The only problem, of course, is that most of us only get our blood pressure checked when we meet a doctor, so high blood pressure can be undetermined for years before it is addressed.
But what if it does not happen? What if everyone could monitor blood pressure continuously throughout the day, and catch any associated health issues before they became problematic?
This is the promise of Valencel’s latest sensor. By shining a light on your wrist, it measures how much it bounces back, and machine learning algorithms make intransense with that data, the company’s sensors can estimate the pressure in your veins almost as cuffs.
Better yet, the sensors are set to debut in wearable devices later this year. If all goes according to plan, we may soon have a powerful weapon in the fight against heart disease.
You know how automakers make their cars safer by adding features like lane-assist, blindspot sensors and auto-braking? Lucy is effectively the same idea, but designed specifically for powered wheelchairs. It is an aftermarket accessory that, once installed, can provide the user with advanced security features such as curb / drop detection, auto-breaking, and obstacle avoidance. In other words, it becomes easier for wheelchair-bound people to go through a world that is mostly not designed for them.
The best? Lucy is not some big, expensive, full-featured wheelchair that only a few people can buy. This is a kit paired with a huge range of different wheelchair models, so users can stick it to what they have already acquired instead of buying an entirely new machine. Very good, right?
Telehealth is a great idea in theory, but in practice it basically means that you talk to a doctor on a tablet. Right now we do not really have the technology to conduct a complete health check-up. But EyeQue is on a mission to replace it.
The company’s latest product, VisionCheck 2, is an exceptionally clever smartphone accessory that allows you to test your vision whenever you want, with the help of some MIT-patented technology and simultaneous application – no optometrist needed Is not. By simply looking into the device and playing a quick game, you can test for proximity, foresight, and asthma. You can also update your prescription and order new lenses with a few taps.
It is stuff like this that makes us excited for the future. What other tests and health tests will we do a few years from now?
Once upon a time, hearing aids were basically just volume controllers that benefit you and do everything out loud – stuff you don’t necessarily want to hear, such as background noise and strangers all over the room sound of. But recently, there has been some revolution in the technique of listening. Nowadays, many hearing aids are equipped with advanced signal processing software that provides greater control over what you hear.
Widex Moment takes this idea a few steps further. The device uses onboard AI to adapt – in real time, with almost zero latency – to whatever environment you’re listening to. Whether you’re in a crowded pub, a quiet cafe, or a movie theater with big swings in the volume. AI will recognize what is going on and only amplify important sounds. Better yet, it lets you fix the output according to your preferences, and learn over time how you like to listen to the world, no matter where you will find yourself.