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Consumer Electronics Show: New Stuff Everywhere, but Not Necessarily Better

Gyenno spoon

About 180,000 people from around the world visited Las Vegas this past week to attend the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual gadget fest where 4000 companies displayed their offerings.

Visitors saw a wide range of products, from huge TVs to self-driving cars to mechanical robots to more mundane products like phone accessories, earphones, and health monitors. Everyone was looking for the next breakthrough product that will change their lives or the way they do things. But alas, those breakthrough products were rare at the show.

So, what were some of the most interesting new products?

Samsung’s Wall TV proved that Samsung is still the king of large screen TVs. They showed a modular 146-ich wall-sized TV, appropriately called The Wall. It uses a new LED display technology to create displays larger than anything that has ever gone in the home, making it finally possible to have a TV take up an entire wall.

Ford's Ojo scooter was one of many new electric-powered transport systems. It is enabled by lower cost Li-Ion batteries and more sophisticated electronics. The Ojo is a sleek, lightweight electric scooter that’s one of the best-looking modes of transport since the original Vespa. It travels 25 miles on one charge, up to 20 mph, and runs silently. $2150.

In addition to the usual health trackers, there were new products to help those with serious health issues. Relúmĭno smart glasses from Samsung Labs is a headset that helps those with impaired vision see better. It enhances what they see by sharpening what might otherwise be a blurred image, adds outlines to objects to make them stand out, and inverts colors to make text easier to read.

A Los Angeles company, Force Impact Technologies, showed their FITGuard mouthpiece for use by those playing football. The device is used to detect the impact that a football player's head experiences during the game and communicate that information using colored LED indicators on the mouthpiece or through an app. It’s a timely product that addresses the chronic traumatic encephalopathy that’s been found to seriously harm football players, causing alarm among players and medical experts alike. $690.

The Gyenno spoon is a product designed for those with unsteady hands such as those with Parkinson's disease. It uses motion stabilization, such as what's used to take steadier images, and makes it easier for those with tremors to eat. $189.

While the products above seem really useful, here's one that received a lot of ridicule: It's a new LG InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator, which lets owners peer into their refrigerator without opening the door. You knock twice and a 29-inch touchscreen window turns transparent. You can electronically tag food with virtual stickers to display expiration dates and other product information. It also has a wide-angle camera built into the refrigerator so you can check to see what you may need while you're at the supermarket.