Monday , September 20 2021
CES Gadget

CES 2021: Last Gadget Standing

For twenty-one years a staple of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been “Last Gadget Standing.” The tradition continued at this year’s CES which ran digitally January 11-14. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a standards and trade organization representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies in the United States, produces CES, normally in Las Vegas.

“Last Gadget Standing” presents five new products and the audience chooses the one they think “will skyrocket to fame.” Usually, the winner is chosen by applause. This year’s hosts Jennifer Jolly, tech-journalist, and Robin Raskin, creator of “Last Gadget Standing,” used electronic voting to choose the winner. The session also included CES trivia.

CES Gadget
Tech-journalist Jennifer Jolly, left, and Robin Raskin, creator of “Last Gadget Standing”, used electronic voting to choose the winner

Each of the five contestants promoted their product with a video, in which most tried to include a few laughs.

Fold It Up

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold unfolds to reveal a 13-inch screen. The promotional video emphasized how when folded “it can fit in your purse.” When unfolded, it operates in several difference modes.

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Folding offers multiple options for use of the ThinkPad X1

Examples included using the top of the split screen for a call and the bottom for a recipe. You can keep the screen slightly bent with the fold vertical, and use it to view two pages of a book. In spit screen mode you can use the bottom half as virtual keyboard. If you just want to open it up to one large screen, you can use a separate keyboard. It supports 5G, and touch, so you can sketch on it or jot notes.

I’ll Be Mojo

Next, The Mojo Vision took the definition of “smart wearable” to a new level. It is a contact lens that produces augmented reality information that you can see without any additional hardware. Remember how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Terminator could just look at someone and see information about them? Now you can be a Terminator, too.

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The Mojo Vision displays info about things you see

Not only does it provide info about people, but buildings, constellations in the sky, and just about anything else you look at, including sporting events. 

Read to Me

The OrCam Read is another smart wearable. Its purpose: to aid people who are sightless or have limited vision to deal with printed material. It can be carried or clipped to the side of a pair of glasses. The user presses a button which activates a laser to indicate where to start reading.

CES Gadget
The OrCam Read aids people with vision problems

It contains a tiny speaker or can be connected to Bluetooth devices. It works on both printed material and screens and will read entire pages of text.

Hands On

The TG0 VR Hands team presented the funniest video. In it, one gamer tries to explain to another the correct buttons on a game controller to make actions happen in a video game. The second gamer just can’t get the hang of it. Then TGO’s Etee VR Hands comes to the rescue. About the size of rubber handlebar covers for a bike, it maps the motions of each finger on the user’s hand to a game function. It is also pressure sensitive so squeezing harder can also affect gameplay.

CES Gadget
The TG0 VR Hands turns your hands into game controllers

The company claims, “Instead of heavy controllers with buttons sticking out, you get a perfectly-formed control surface that reacts to every brush, curl and touch of your fingers – and best of all that sensitivity can be adjusted to your individual needs.”

With This Ring

Another wearable with an entirely different focus came from ArcX. Rather than connect you to the virtual, its purpose is to keep you connected to reality, especially when you are exercising.

CES Gadget
The ArcX Sports Ring lets you control your phone remotely

The ArcX Sports Ring enables you to use your smart phone while you’re exercising, riding your bike, or even rowing a boat without actually touching your phone. The ring has a tiny combination joystick and button which lets you perform almost any function with your smartphone. Besides wearing the Sports Ring on a finger, you can attach it to handlebars or other convenient objects. In additions to phones, it will control smart watches and any Bluetooth-controlled equipment such as action cameras, speakers, or emergency alert buttons.

And the Winner is…

Jolly and Raskin activated a function in the CES online interface which enabled viewers to vote for their favorite gadget.

Almost immediately, the Mojo Vision went out to a commanding lead which it maintained. I guess everyone wants to be the Terminator.

I don’t really want to wear a contact lens, but it would sure make the next networking event a lot easier. People would be saying, “Wow, he knew my name and I don’t even remember meeting him before.”

CES Gadget
The Mojo Vision can recognize people and give you critical info about them

It’s a common theme to make fun of people with their heads continuously buried in some screen or getting distracted by some device. Now that information can be available while you pay attention to the people around you or that big truck barreling down the street.

More info about the Mojo Vision can be found here.

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About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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