The Good (Sports Wearables) & The Ugly (Drones & 3D Printing)
Every calendar year is kicked-off with two constants – college bowl games and the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual global tech pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just concluded and this year’s show was the BEST in many, many years. Unlike many of the recent past shows the emerging technologies this year are ready for prime-time. This year at the 2016 CES show we got up close and personal with actual products that will make their way to your local retail or online store in 2016. The question is which do you want to hear about first? The Good or the Ugly? Let’s save the Good for the end so we can wrap up on a high note.
How many of your recall this chant from when you were younger, in high school or college.
– U-G-L-Y! You’re Ugly! You’re Ugly! You ain’t got no alibi! –
Well, that pretty much describes the world of drones and 3D printing. These technologies in past years fell into the category of the aforementioned ‘emerging technologies’. In 2016, drone and 3D manufacturers presented purchasable products for your home and office, across a myriad of price points. But, the fact of matter is they are hideous looking. The 3D printers are square or rectangular plastic boxes. Even for office electronics they are considered ugly.
Of the 3D printers, our favorite on display was Shapify. For starters, it is a service and not an actual device you purchase. The company ships you a 3D printed portrait of you or you and your significant other. You simply scan your image over to them and within 5 minutes you will have a 3D preview. Within 14 business days your 3D printed Shapie (their term not ours) shows up on your doorstep. Choose from plastic or ceramic figurines, and pricing ranges from $20 to $299 plus shipping and handling.
On the drones’ front, you may recall you are now required to register your device with the FAA if it exceeds specific size dimensions. These guys grow in size every year. One manufacturer had on display a taxi drone that could transport two people. What is with the public’s fascination with drones? It goes up and it comes down. If you are into aerial photography we can understand the purpose of owing a drone but otherwise, why?
As we just mentioned every year they grow in size and with that growth they just get less and less appealing. However, there was one little guy who got our attention, Onagofly. These guys have a crowd sourcing campaign underway to bring their product to market. You control this fella with your mobile iOS or Android device and primarily use it snap aerial selfies. You can also capture 1080p full-HD video. This could come in handy on Kandy location shoots. At a price point of under $200 you have to decide how important those aerial selfies to you. Also, its flight time is currently only 12 to 15 minutes so make sure you have a portable charging source handy. The company says the first units will be shipped this March.
There were so amazing things about this year’s CES show that we could dedicate two full issues on the products and technologies that were on displayed. For the purposes of this column let’s focus on the emerging sports technologies that will improve your swing (tennis) and stroke (golf). Here is a look at a couple of the technologies and gadgets that were on display at CES.
PIVOT – Tennis Wearable
The Wearable – a pack of wearable sensors (ranging from four to fourteen) attached to different parts of the body or clothing
The Benefit – instant biomechanical feedback to master the swing on the court and guard against injuries without wires or expensive cameras.
Availability – an IndieGoGo campaign just concluded and the company is projecting a ship date of August 2016.
mobitee and PIQ – Golf Wearable
The Wearable – attach the 18 NFC Club identification tags to the corresponding clubs, clip the sensor to your glove and you have an instant caddy, a Caddy in the Bag – so to speak.
The App – Mobitee features over 35,000 golf courses worldwide and the app automatically detects the course and then displays hole-by-hole yardages based on the golfer’s proximity to the green.
The Benefit – PIQ will display on your sensor the distance to the green and collect to analyze your swing.
Availability – Now