Category Archives: Art & Design

CES 2014: The Home, Networked

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Technology news has become an above-the-fold mainstay with announcements from Apple, Google and their kin making front-page headlines the moment their new shiny ‘thing’ is revealed. This has put the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in a PR purgatory—what used to be the big event to affirm the newest and greatest in personal and professional electronics has lessened as the major manufactures make entire events out of their individual releases throughout the year.

Photo: @intlCES via Twitter

What was previously a deluge of impressive cellular phones and PC innovations has metamorphosized into a showplace for jaw-dropping prototypes and fringe technology applications.

And TVs. There’s always a bigger (and sharper (and more curved)) TV.

Yet the proverbial silver lining is that this has cleared the runway for the most exciting of new technologies: the Connected Home.

The integration of existing ‘always on’ internet-enabled technology into every element of the home is quickly becoming the hot category, and is revolutionizing how our traditional home structure affects our everyday life.

Here are some of the most exciting new home announcements from this year’s CES:

Mother by Sense

At its simplest, Mother is a motion tracking system. In practice, this is one of the most versatile items announced at this year’s event.

Consisting of a friendly hub and an expandable set of tracking ‘cookies’, the system allows you to capture a near unlimited amount of applicable data:

  • Attach a cookie to the door or window to track when a door/window is opened or closed
  • Keep a cookie on a key chain or bag to see where your family members are at any given time
  • Is the temperature in the living room when you’re out of the house too cold for the dog? Cookies have a temperature gauge
  • Are the kids getting enough daily exercise? Cookies can measure distance walked & steps taken

Coupled with unique applications for each use case, and mobile push notifications to keep you informed at all times, Mother is designed to keep you more informed about your daily life, even as you live it.

Mother by Sense, sen.se

Sleep Number IQ Bed

Finding the right bed for both you and your partner is the most literal pain-in-the-neck of modern living. Sleep Number has long been offering a solid solution by adjusting each half of their bed to the sleeper’s own personal comfort level. But with the IQ Bed, they’re aiming to tell you what you need before you know you need it.

Each bed monitors your own unique sleep patterns, offering suggestions for adjusting the firmness, softness and angle of the bed as you sleep. The accompanying app can also track your out-of-bed activities such as workout time and food/drink intake, detailing what changes you can make outside of the bedroom to help craft a more restful you.

Other features include voice-command functionality, built-in lighting for safely getting up at night and massaging movement to help lull you to sleep.

Oh, and an anti-snoring program which changes the angle of your partner’s head, clearing the airways and cutting off the snoring at it’s source. Yes, please.

Sleep Number x12, sleepnumber.com

Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt

Integrated home security is nearly ubiquitous within the luxury real estate market. However, not all homes might lend themselves to all modern security systems – Historic estates are rarely ideal candidates for extensive rewiring and may require less intrusive systems.

Enter Schlage’s new touchscreen deadbolt. Providing a touchscreen for a four-digit lock and unlock code, the Camelot can be integrated with existing third-party wireless hubs. It also has an integrated alarm system that can provide a local sound and also alert the homeowner via smartphone notifications with multiple levels of customization: eg., one alert if someone fails to enter the passcode 3 times, another if the lock itself senses movement.

A simple yet powerful integration of modern connectivity with long-standing homeowner needs.

Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm, consumer.schlage.com

Super Mega Ultra HDTVs

While 4K HDTVs have seen a big push from major manufactures for 2 CESs running, there were some fringe TV technologies, also developed by two of the big producers, that offer a glimpse into what the future of home entertainment might bring

Sharp’s 8K glasses-free 3D TV is almost absurdly ahead of it’s time. Clearly only at the prototype stage, the TV has a resolution 4-times that of 4K (which in itself is 4-times that of current 1080p HDTVs) and allows for 3D viewing without the use of any glasses. However, the viewable angles for the 3D itself is so limited and the depth of the 3D so constrained, that consumer applications are still far ahead in the future.

Sony’s idea of the future of home entertainment is a dazzling (or dizzying) combination of multiple projectors splashing images on surfaces all over the home and versatile touchscreen panels. The centerpiece of this Life Space UX concept space is a 4K close-proximity projector that could fit into any modern or contemporary home with ease.