Best of CES 2017: The Shows 10 Sharpest Designs

For a design lover, CES can be a—how should we put this—challenging experience. Several hundred vendors from around the world fill not one, but two convention centers on the Las Vegas Strip with every gadget you can imagine—and a few you cant. (Like, say, a dental floss dispenser with a microchip. Seriously.) The sheer quantity of stuff on show can make the search for compelling designs feel like hunting for an affordable cocktail at the Venetian. And yet, if you can look beyond the hoard of bright, plastic wearables, theres some legitimately smart designs to be found. Here are the 10 most intriguing products from this year’s show.

Sevenhugs Smart Remote

With its new Smart Remote, Sevenhugs makes a cogentcase for universal remotes. The gadget connects to a proprietary indoor positioning system that triangulates not only its location in space, but which of more than 25,000 connected devices it’s pointing at.Aim it at a lamp and it might pull up Hues app interface. Point it at your TV, and Roku’s UI will appear. That kind ofcontextual awareness could make a fragmented smarthome experience feel more simple and unified—and a little more like home.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

With its new Smart Remote, Sevenhugs makes a cogentcase for universal remotes. The gadget connects to a proprietary indoor positioning system that triangulates not only its location in space, but which of more than 25,000 connected devices it’s pointing at.Aim it at a lamp and it might pull up Hues app interface. Point it at your TV, and Roku’s UI will appear. That kind ofcontextual awareness could make a fragmented smarthome experience feel more simple and unified—and a little more like home.

Neonode AirBar

Using your laptop usually means youre doing one of two things: Clicking a mouse or typing on a keyboard. Now, with the AirBar, you have another choice. The sleek gadget from Neonode attaches to the base of the 13-inch MacBook Air and emits an invisible light field over the screen, turning your laptop into a giant touchscreen. You can tap, swipe, pinch, and zoom like you would on your phone or tablet, all for a fraction of the price of a new device.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Using your laptop usually means youre doing one of two things: Clicking a mouse or typing on a keyboard. Now, with the AirBar, you have another choice. The sleek gadget from Neonode attaches to the base of the 13-inch MacBook Air and emits an invisible light field over the screen, turning your laptop into a giant touchscreen. You can tap, swipe, pinch, and zoom like you would on your phone or tablet, all for a fraction of the price of a new device.

Lenovo Smart Home Assistant

Functionally, Lenovo’snew Smart Home Assistant is a carbon copy of the Amazon Echo. It uses Alexas cloud-based voice services to do things like play music, conduct web searches, and order more toilet paper. Its distinguishing feature:Looks. Lenovo’s three colorful speaker grills give it a serious leg up over Amazon’sstoic black cylinder.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Functionally, Lenovo’snew Smart Home Assistant is a carbon copy of the Amazon Echo. It uses Alexas cloud-based voice services to do things like play music, conduct web searches, and order more toilet paper. Its distinguishing feature:Looks. Lenovo’s three colorful speaker grills give it a serious leg up over Amazon’sstoic black cylinder.

Roli Blocks Lightpad

Roli, the company behind the multitouchSeaboard Rise keyboard, is back with a new and equally intriguing instrument. The Blocks Lightpad is a modular synth system that snaps together via magnets into a variety of configuration. But where it really shines is in its responsive pressure-sensitive controls, which translate the nuances of human touch into music in ways a knob never could.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Roli, the company behind the multitouchSeaboard Rise keyboard, is back with a new and equally intriguing instrument. The Blocks Lightpad is a modular synth system that snaps together via magnets into a variety of configuration. But where it really shines is in its responsive pressure-sensitive controls, which translate the nuances of human touch into music in ways a knob never could.

LG’s OLED W7 Television

Theambition du jour in the perennial arms race between television manufacturersis makingTVs as thin as possible. Case in point: LG’s OLED W7. The company stuck the TV’s guts inside an external sound bar, which lets the 65-inch, 18-pound, 3.85-millimeter-deep displayrest against the wall like a poster. Its svelte form factor will make it a seamlesscenterpiece to any living room, but its also easy toenvision unobtrusivedisplays like this onemigratingto walls outside the home.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Theambition du jour in the perennial arms race between television manufacturersis makingTVs as thin as possible. Case in point: LG’s OLED W7. The company stuck the TV’s guts inside an external sound bar, which lets the 65-inch, 18-pound, 3.85-millimeter-deep displayrest against the wall like a poster. Its svelte form factor will make it a seamlesscenterpiece to any living room, but its also easy toenvision unobtrusivedisplays like this onemigratingto walls outside the home.

Lego Boost

WIRED loves Lego. And for good reason. Since its inception in 1932, the Danish company has built is reputation on making a toy so simple, so intuitive, that anyone can use it. With its new Boost kit, Lego builds on that legacy by givingits toys a little more functionality. Boost lets kids program their creations to walk, roll, flash, and make noise via an app that uses a drag and drop coding language. In a sea of teach-kids-to-code toys, Boost has the biggest advantage of all: Its actually really fun to play with.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

WIRED loves Lego. And for good reason. Since its inception in 1932, the Danish company has built is reputation on making a toy so simple, so intuitive, that anyone can use it. With its new Boost kit, Lego builds on that legacy by givingits toys a little more functionality. Boost lets kids program their creations to walk, roll, flash, and make noise via an app that uses a drag and drop coding language. In a sea of teach-kids-to-code toys, Boost has the biggest advantage of all: Its actually really fun to play with.

Tanvas

The major shortcoming of a touchscreen is that its a screenflat, glassy, cold. Tanvas is a new technology that imbues displayswith haptics to simulate how the things you see on screen feels in thereal world. As Tanvas explains it, all the magic happens between your fingers and the screen. Using electrostatic fields to create friction, the company can simulate different textures like choppy, grainy, fine, and wavy,transforming a touchscreen from something you simply touch into something you can actually feel.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

The major shortcoming of a touchscreen is that its a screenflat, glassy, cold. Tanvas is a new technology that imbues displayswith haptics to simulate how the things you see on screen feels in thereal world. As Tanvas explains it, all the magic happens between your fingers and the screen. Using electrostatic fields to create friction, the company can simulate different textures like choppy, grainy, fine, and wavy,transforming a touchscreen from something you simply touch into something you can actually feel.

Netatmo Healthy Home Coach

Air quality monitors are like fitness trackers for your home—and, like fitness trackers, everyone seems to be making one. The good looks of Netatmos Healthy Home Coach help set it apart. The bronzed cylindrical monitor tracks air quality, noise, temperature, and humidity, and sends that information to an app that helps you make sense of whats happening in your house—but wed be lying if we said this device is on this list because of what it can do. Lots of connected gadgets are proving themselves increasingly useful in the home—a big challenge, going forward, will be achieving a distinctive yet appealing look. Netatmo’s Home Coach wins markson both points.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Air quality monitors are like fitness trackers for your home—and, like fitness trackers, everyone seems to be making one. The good looks of Netatmos Healthy Home Coach help set it apart. The bronzed cylindrical monitor tracks air quality, noise, temperature, and humidity, and sends that information to an app that helps you make sense of whats happening in your house—but wed be lying if we said this device is on this list because of what it can do. Lots of connected gadgets are proving themselves increasingly useful in the home—a big challenge, going forward, will be achieving a distinctive yet appealing look. Netatmo’s Home Coach wins markson both points.

Kuri Robot

Our homes are full of robots that dont look like robots. They play music, order groceries, and keep watch when no ones home. Mayfields Kuri isnt one of those robots. The diminutive bot (its 20 inches tall) looks straight out of a cartoon. It has big blinking eyes and sounds like the Sesame Street version of R2-D2. Its freaking adorable, and thats why its so interesting. Instead of hiding its purpose behind an ambiguously techy design, Kuri fully embraces its role as your robot pet. Whether not you need a bot to take care of menial household tasks isnt the point—this things so cute youre going to want it to.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Our homes are full of robots that dont look like robots. They play music, order groceries, and keep watch when no ones home. Mayfields Kuri isnt one of those robots. The diminutive bot (its 20 inches tall) looks straight out of a cartoon. It has big blinking eyes and sounds like the Sesame Street version of R2-D2. Its freaking adorable, and thats why its so interesting. Instead of hiding its purpose behind an ambiguously techy design, Kuri fully embraces its role as your robot pet. Whether not you need a bot to take care of menial household tasks isnt the point—this things so cute youre going to want it to.

Sony LSPx-s1

Sonys new candlelight speaker isnt the best of either category. You can find better lamps and better Bluetooth speakers, probably for half the price. But combining the two isjust unexpected enough to make the product charmingly unique. Sony housed a dim-able LED inside a glass tube and stuck it atop a 360 degree speaker. The result is a minimalist hybrid product that pulls double duty as a maker of vibes.

Credit: Amy Lombard for WIRED

Sonys new candlelight speaker isnt the best of either category. You can find better lamps and better Bluetooth speakers, probably for half the price. But combining the two isjust unexpected enough to make the product charmingly unique. Sony housed a dim-able LED inside a glass tube and stuck it atop a 360 degree speaker. The result is a minimalist hybrid product that pulls double duty as a maker of vibes.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2017/01/best-ces-2017-shows-10-sharpest-designs/