CES 2023 is bouncing back.
The tech-focused trade show, held Jan. 5 to 8 in Las Vegas, was 70% larger – in terms of square feet of exhibitor space – than last year’s show.
There were more than 115,000 attendees this year, a huge jump compared to the roughly 45,000 who came to 2022’s event. That’s still below pre-COVID numbers (in January 2020, there were over 171,000 attendees), but organizers were enthusiastic about the numbers signaling that trade shows are back in a big way.
“CES 2023 was the great reconnection and rocked by every measure – from attendance to the keynote stage to press conferences and product debuts on the exhibit floor – showing the entire world that in-person events are back,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the group behind CES.
CES 2023 Stats
2.2 million net square feet of exhibits
As always, CES delivers an abundance of forward-thinking tech – ranging from useful and time-saving to the more outlandish and head-scratching. Not everything featured during the trade show ends up on store shelves. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on the trends that come out of CES. With that in mind, here are a few of the gadgets that have people talking.
1. The Ballpoint Pen Gets a Makeover
The Nuwa pen can turn your words and drawings into digital text and images, without the use of special paper or wires. The refillable smart ballpoint pen uses three cameras and infrared light to track pen strokes, sending them to a synced smartphone app. When the battery dies, it can be recharged in 15 minutes via the portable charging case. For $3 a month, the app will automatically convert handwritten notes into text. Nuwa’s product is available for preorder now and expected to ship in August.
2. Health Tech Goes Down the Toilet … Literally
Connected health company Withings debuted the U-Scan, which is dubbed a “breakthrough in-home biomarker analysis platform.”
In effect, the device is a “miniaturized health lab” that goes into your toilet bowl to analyze a user’s urine. A heat-triggered pump automatically draws in a urine sample, sending it through a “microfluidic circuit” to a cartridge filled with three months’ worth of test pods. (Supposedly, the gadget can differentiate between users based on their stream.) Via a connected app, the U-Scan can measure things like fertility cycles and daily intake of water and nutrients. The device is expected to debut in Europe with two consumer-health cartridges. Medical versions are to follow. US availability will come after the product receives FDA clearance.
“The ability of U-Scan to perform daily urine analysis from home will allow Withings to take its mission to help consumers fully utilize urine data to an entirely new level,” said Mathieu Letombe, Withings CEO. “It’s one of the most exciting and complex products we have ever announced.”
3. Work – and Workout – From Home
Many workers sing the praises of remote and hybrid work, but one common pitfall of such flexible arrangements is finding ways to stay active in a home office. Acer’s eKinekt BD3 desk/exercise bike is one solution to this modern lament. In addition to keeping your heart rate up during your 9-to-5, the smart bike includes a built-in electric generator, allowing you to charge devices with the power generated from your own body. According to Acer, pedalers can fully charge an iPhone in 1.5-2.5 hours.
4. That’s No Watch – It’s a Nowwatch
Bucking the trend of smartwatches packing info onto tiny clockfaces, the Nowatch is a screenless watch that provides real-time feedback about movement, sleep and stress – if not the actual time of day. Dubbed an “awareable” by the company, the Nowatch features an attractive gemstone face and monitors the wearer’s stress levels, measuring changes in sweat gland activity via skin conductance. Data on things like mood and stress are collected and sent to the connected app, but the watch itself will vibrate to alert wearers to their stressors and emotions so they can “reconnect to the present and restore balance.”
Nowatch CEO and co-founder Hylke Muntinga discovered in 2019 that he has a rare genetic condition, PXE, which will eventually cost him his eyesight. Inspired by his diagnosis, he created the Nowatch to help people get the most out of every moment. “People are more stressed than ever and need simple but powerful solutions that help them stay mindful of their emotions and health,” Muntinga said. “Nowatch is easy to use so it doesn’t become another distraction or obstacle for the wearer and is a powerful tool to help people stay grounded in the present and achieve well-being.