Cars, Wearables and Drones, Oh My: CES 2015 Highlights

For its 48th year running, International CES 2015 did not disappoint, drawing 3,600 exhibitors and more than 160,000 people to the desert of Las Vegas for flashy product launches, parties and keynotes. It’s undoubtedly one of the most exhausting weeks of the year leaving us with aching feet and much less hydrated than when we arrived. But it’s worth it after witnessing the year’s most mind-blowing technology firsthand.

Undoubtedly, 2015 will be remembered as the year we build a more connected and mobile world. Cars, drones, wearables, 3D printers and smart-everything captivated our attention and the attention of show-goers judging by the conversations we overheard in the crowded halls of the LVCC and the Sands.

The best keynote of CES 2015, according to The Verge, was delivered by Intel CEO Brian Krzanic who opened with a concept that precisely sums up the show: “We’re going from a two dimensional world, to a three dimensional world. This additional dimension will change how we experience computing.” While he included no mention at all of the much buzzed about “Internet of Things,” there were plenty of theatrical demonstrations of “autonomous drones, intelligent doorways, and sight-assisting jackets.”

Here are some of the highlights that caught our attention:

Cars. Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle, Mercedes-Benz self-driving prototype, Audi’s self-driving A7. If we didn’t know better we’d say we were at a car show. In fact, CES is now being called the most important car show of the year. With a record 10 automakers at this year’s CES, Krzanic’s statement rings true – the way we experience computing is changing and that includes in our vehicles. One announcement we’re particularly excited about: Toyota will grant access to its intellectual property, a move that we hope will help to build the fuel cell infrastructure for a growing hydrogen economy in 2015.

Wearables. We saw smartwatches in all shapes, sizes, colors and styles. It’s clear that designing accessories that blend in to look and feel like regular jewelry is top of mind for companies. CNET noted “Misfit’s Swarovski Shine solar-powered fitness jewelry looks like Swarovski jewelry. A crystal-studded necklace, a crystal pendant. You’d never know someone was wearing a smart device just from looking at it.” Not a wearable per say but we also got a sweat on testing Tao, a tiny gym in your pocket, which looks like a computer mouse but allows you to work out anywhere using body weight. Importantly, dogs made a major showing at CES this year – we saw a smart collar for your pup called Tagg that tracks location, activity and body temperature of your pet. And topping it off, a smart belt that automatically compensates for your giant dinner.

Drones. Drones aren’t new to CES but this year they seemed to be more prevalent and not surprisingly, more intelligent. The main uses for drones are military and photography controlled by remote but last week several autonomous drones made an appearance including the Airdog, Hexo+, Trace and Ghost. With a “follow me” feature, “the drone locks onto you and flies anywhere you go.” DJI’s new drone, the Inspire 1, was one of the most popular products thanks to its stabilizing 4K camera, but possibly topping all drone showings was the choreographed drone dance performed by Parrot.

Julian Hughes, Intelligent Energy’s Corporate Business Development Director, demonstrates Upp™, the company’s portable hydrogen fuel cell power solution for USB-compatible devices.

Julian Hughes, Intelligent Energy’s Corporate Business Development Director, demonstrates Upp™, the company’s portable hydrogen fuel cell power solution for USB-compatible devices.

Rounding out a great week, we were thrilled to be named a CES Innovation Award Honoree for our latest fuel cell innovation named, Upp, the portable power solution driven by a hydrogen fuel cell to power up USB-compatible devices. Between Toyota’s fuel cell Mirai and the Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion, which is powered by a fuel cell and a battery, fuel cells were a hot topic at CES 2015. As we enter the New Year, we’re excited to play a role in the hydrogen economy and bring new forms of energy mainstream to enable today’s always-on connected consumer and world!

Julian Hughes picks up the 2015 CES Innovation Award.

Julian Hughes picks up the 2015 CES Innovation Award.