Smart shirt, robot pal attract interest at CES 2017

Article By : Junko Yoshida

iPal is a 3.5-foot robotic playmate that encourages contact with human pals. It’s also touted as a handy companion for elderly shut-ins.

« Previously: Sensor tastes fluid to gauge glucose, lactose levels

Xenoma's "e-skin" is a personal trainer you can wear. It's a smart shirt with 14 separate sensors to monitor not only your vital signs but tells you when you're faltering in your workout form. Knees higher Stretch farther Straighten up It even keeps track of you while you're sleeping and allows you to control a game character using your whole body. You'll never be alone.

[Xenoma e-skin (cr)]
__Figure 1:__ *You can feel fit in e-skin*

iPal, AvatarMind's robot for kids

Parents too busy? Meet iPal. This 3.5-foot robotic playmate is way better than an imaginary friend (or even a real one—no noogies, no wedgies).

[AvatarMind iPal (cr)]
__Figure 2:__ *AvatarMind’s iPal*

It talks, dances, tells stories, plays games, leads calisthenics, encourages contact with human pals, connects ****-free to social media, teaches languages, science, technology and babysits. It's also touted as a handy companion for elderly shut-ins.

MACH-2K for Virtual Reality

Australian start-up Immersive Robotics (IMR) aims to create the world’s first wireless solution for PC VR headsets using a proprietary compression standard and an aftermarket hardware solution called the MACH-2k.

[IMR Mach-2K (cr)]
__Figure 3:__ *Mach-2K, wireless solution for PC VR headsets*

“We approached the problem of wireless by creating our own compression standard for VR,” said CEO & co-founder Daniel Fitzgerald. “It’s the world’s first compression standard with less than 1ms latency and no visible image degradation.”

The MACH-2K is designed as a plug-n-play accessory for current users of the HTC Vive who want an untethered VR experience. It contains an FPGA responsible for running full compression on one end and decompression on the other, yet remains small enough to be worn on a belt at the user’s back. The device attaches to USB, audio and HDMI, and a transmission device attached to a PC that permits wireless transmission and streaming over 802.11ac Wi-Fi (5GHz) & the latest 802.11ad WiGig (60GHz) standards.

While currently restricted to 2160 x 1200 resolution at 90Hz, IMR claims the data streaming in its algorithm is scalable to higher resolutions and was initially conceived to handle 4k resolutions per eye at 120Hz. As soon as higher resolution screens are available, it’ll support them. A live demo wasn’t available at CES Unveiled, but Fitzgerald invited us to stop by IMR’s booth during CES for a live demo.

Smart Remote

With “Smart Remote,” controlling tens of thousands of devices has never been easier. Acting as a master key to the IoT smart home, Smart Remote not only consolidates control over every Internet-connected device into a single unit but automatically adapts a control scheme to whichever device it’s pointed at. What stood out was how easily Smart Remote streamlines the user experience of operating the IoT as you’ll no longer need to juggle a separate app for each Internet-connected device.

[SevenHug smart remote (cr)]
__Figure 4:__ *SevenHugs’s Smart Remote*

Set up is as easy as placing the three indoor positioning sensors near the devices you wish to control and syncing them with the Sevenhugs smartphone app. Thanks to a combination of indoor position sensors, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and ambient light sensor, the remote detects and operates items by simply pointing at them. “You sync things, set location, and simply point. The room sensors allow us to know where the remote is pointing and instantly gain control,” said Matthew Brown, head of marketing at Sevenhugs. “Setup takes minutes.”

So far, Smart Remote is compatible with 25,000 different devices including Samsung Smart TVs, Philips Hue, LIFX smart bulbs, Google Nest thermostat, and the Sonos speakers, but you can train it to control new devices using with infrared.

IoT OS for smart buildings

Continuing the trend of streamlined IoT, French start-up Ubiant has announced Hemis, an IoT-purposed OS for smart buildings that seeks to simplify the act of installing, monitoring, and remotely operating smart devices using a single mobile platform. “Adding new objects to the network is as simple as scanning the device and plugging it in to create an overarching network,” said Saber Mansour, Ubiant’s CTO.

[Ubiant Hemis (cr)]
__Figure 5:__ *Ubiant announces Hemis, an IoT-purposed OS*

Hemis works in conjunction with a proprietary set of Internet-connected outlets, thermostats, smoke detectors, and light bulbs labeled as Quickmove-certified, which are also produced by Ubiant. Once the devices are installed, Hemis lets you operate your central heating, ventilation, and lighting system from your smartphone, as well as monitor and predict energy consumption cost. Track by day, week, month and year, or total kWh consumed.

While we’d like to see the broader integration of third-party products within a unified platform, 2017 demonstrates that the industry is finally thinking about streamlining its approach to managing the dozens of IoT devices making up a home network.

The A speaker

Developed by Akoustic Arts, one of the many French startups presents at CES unveiled, the “A,” a unidirectional speaker that emits sound in a highly-targeted beam so that no one but the intended person hears it. The propagated sound wave is so narrow, that you’ll hear it up to 10 meters away, but beside you shall not.

[AkousticArts Aspeaker (cr)]
__Figure 6:__ *Akoustic Arts’s uni-directional speaker*

The secret how this is possible “lies in an array of 37 transducers and the ultrasonic frequency,” said Myriam Marcetteau, Akoustic Arts’ commercial director. Unlike conventional speakers, the A doesn’t emit ordinary sound waves with a single moving electromagnetic coil and cone, but instead, generates high-frequency ultrasonic waves and converts them into audible sound waves.

The primary beam is generated by transposing the audio signal into the ultrasonic domain, before it is emitted by the loudspeaker, propagating in the air and self-demodulating into an audible audio signal.

The “A” speaker features a 3.5mm jack, allowing it to be used with conventional audio equipment.

Helixee, art cloud storage, part network drive

Part cloud storage, part network drive, the Helixee provides the best of both worlds: it’s easy to install and automatically backs up content, yet remains localised. Developed by Novathings, Hexliee is a connected hard drive with the privacy of a network drive but the simplicity of the cloud, automatically backing up and unifying the photos, videos, or important documents spread across all your devices.

[Novathing Helixee (cr)]
__Figure 7:__ *Novathings’s Helixee*

“Helixee uses its own private Wi-Fi connection so you can stay connected without an internet connection,” said Christophe Guionet, CEO of Novathings. At the same time, content may also be accessed remotely through a web application. It also offers remote sharing, multi-user account access, and multi-OS access.

Helixee is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz dual core processor, 512Mb SDRAM, and a 5V power supply, and is compatible with Wi-Fi 802.11 (b/g/n). Helixee may also connect to a 2.4GHz WLAN. Units are available with either one or 2.5TB drives.

This article first appeared on EE Times U.S.

« Previously: Sensor tastes fluid to gauge glucose, lactose levels

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