Latest Tech and Gadgets Showcased on Eve of CES

[youtube] Here’s a look at some of the products on display at CES Unveiled, a preview event for media on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Video by Tami Nguyen/BU News Service)

By Claire Tran
BU News Service

A smart mirror that pinpoints imperfections on your face. A T-shirt that’s a game controller. A robot that snaps family pics for you. Beauty products, new gaming controllers, health and smart home products, were on display by 200 companies at a press preview ahead of the opening of the annual trade show and conference.

Liberty Mutual use colors to determine the road and quiet scores of Boston buildings during CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2018. Photo by Tami Nguyen / BU News Service.

One company is helping potential Boston homeowners make smarter decisions. Liberty Mutual’s Solaria Labs innovation center measured livability for every home in Beantown. Users can type in any address to the Total Home Score website to see driving behaviors and noise levels in the area.

“This is where the red line literally runs beneath Beacon Hill,” said Adam L’Italien, vice president of global consumer markets innovation, while pointing to a dark red streak on a heat map of Boston. “If you were going to an open house, you may not realize your house is sitting on top of the MBTA. You’d want to know that before [you purchase].”

The HiMirror Mini is one of the many beauty products presented during CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2018. The device works with Amazons’ Alexa to display news stories, weather, and makeup tutorials on its screen. (Photo by Tami Nguyen / BU News Service)

Beauty is going high-tech with new AR hardware and iPhone attachments. Attendees shrieked as HiMirror Mini, a smart mirror, circled every single pimple and dry spot on their face. Neutrogena introduced its Skin360 App and SkinScanner iPhone attachment which users hold up against their faces to detect hydration, wrinkles, and pores.

“I noticed out of nowhere my pores just blew up. I would’ve never paid attention but now I’m obsessed,” said Molly Garris, senior manager of digital marketing at Neutrogena. “It’s really interesting to see how does my skin compare to others and how can I improve it?”

3dRudder showcases a foot motion controller for VR experiences during CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2018. (Photo by Tami Nguyen / BU News Service)

If what’s on display here is an indication of what consumers will be able to buy soon, gamers will be able to toss out their chunky controllers and instead opt for smart T-shirts or foot boards. Ichiro Amimori, CEO of Xenoma, jogged in place in a shiny black shirt as an avatar on a television matched his every move. E-Skin, a line of machine-washable smart clothes, can monitor user’s bodies for gaming, fitness, and health factors. At the 3dRudder booth, the team showcased its circular foot-powered motion controller which lets users walk, hover, and fly by tilting in different directions.

Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri home robot smiles after telling a joke during CES Unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2018. Photo by Tami Nguyen / BU News Service.

Kid-friendly robots will soon be making their way into hospitals and homes. Families can react to the expressive eyes and friendly demeanor of Kuri, a 20-inch motorized rotund robot that reacts to voice commands, dances along to music, and even reads the kids a bedtime story. When Kuri detects a special moment, Kuri’s built-in 1080p camera automatically starts recording.

“Here’s my favorite shot that she captured just this morning,” said Michael Beebe, CEO of Mayfield Robotics which created Kuri. “That’s me kissing my two little boys goodbye as I left for the airport. Without Kuri there, I would’ve missed it.”

Aflac reveals a robotic companion for children who have cancer, called My Special Aflac Duck, during CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 7th, 2018. (Photo by Tami Nguyen / BU News Service)

Though known for its insurance, Alfac teamed up with Sproutel to develop the My Special Aflac Duck, an interactive robot to help children cope with cancer. Kids tap emoji disks against the duck’s chest to help them identify and express emotions during treatment, like fear or sadness. Aflac is covering all manufacturing and shipping costs to deliver the cuddly companions to hospitals for free.

“We’re excited to see our duck in the hands of the children,” said John Sullivan, director of corporate communications for Aflac. “The duck shows the child ‘Hey, it’s okay, I’m scared too, but we’re going to get through this.'”

CES, a trade show for the tech industry, officially opens on Tuesday. Some 170,00 people from more than 150 countries are expected to attend the show this year, including 7,000 members of the press who got an advance look at the latest innovations on Sunday night.

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