A new year always brings new expectations, and every year more than 150,000 technology experts come to Las Vegas to learn about new trends and innovative products at the Consumer Electronics Show.
This year, one of the most interesting trends was reflected in the significant growth of family- and child-oriented products: MommyTech TV, The Bump Best of Baby Tech Awards Show, Kids at Play Interactive Awards, Family and Tech, Kids and Tech, Education and Tech Marketplace and Eureka Hall showcased hundreds of new devices for modern parents. Here are some of the new gadgets which will be available in 2016.
Thermo is a digital thermostat which can produce a color-coded temperature reading in less than two seconds when held next to your child’s head. It employs an array of 16 independent infrared sensors to measure heat. Thermo uses an app to connect with your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so you can create a temperature diary and add relevant comments regarding medication and symptoms. Sharing the information with your doctor takes just one click. (Withings, $100)
Parents with sick children can benefit from Fever Scout, a soft wearable thermometer patch that continuously monitors temperature and wirelessly sends that information to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Temperature readings and their colors are plotted along the clock to give you a quick overview of your child’s condition. You can see the trends or temperatures at a specific time, add notes and share data with your pediatrician. The app will also send alerts to your phone in the case of sudden temperature changes. (Vivalink, $59)
Our grocery stores carry countless imported foods, and many drugs are manufactured in unregulated plants overseas, entering the U.S. with no inspection. Parents who want to make sure their loved ones don’t get sick from eating mislabeled foods or taking bogus drugs would be relieved to learn about LinkSquare, a portable spectrometer (infrared scanner) that analyzes products at the molecular level and provides instant information about their authenticity to your smartphone. Planning a vacation in Mexico or a Caribbean cruise? LinkSquare can save you lots of trouble. The device will be available for presale at $199 in June.
Those who enjoy spending their time in the kitchen can look forward to many new smart appliances that claim to make your life easier. Perfect Company has already introduced two products: Perfect Bake and Perfect Drink. Their latest addition is Perfect Blend, which combines an interactive recipe app and a wireless smart scale. The app suggests a nutrition program based on goals, offers a weekly meal plan and automatically builds a shopping list. It features more than 200 recipes for smoothies, soups, dips, sauces, milkshakes, doughs and baby food. The database includes sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan recipes — and allows you to add your own meals.
The robotics industry is another exciting area of technological innovation. Some experts suggest using drones to watch your child on a playground. Others dream about a robotic personal servant. This year, you are going to see an increasing number of toys that teach children the elements of programming, architecture and math or language skills. Additionally, be on the lookout for new smart robot companions that play with kids, read books to them and even give out hugs when a child feels sad or lonely. Some parents have found robots to be useful in creating a peaceful, creative environment for siblings.
Take a look at Chip, the "world’s first lovable robot dog,” available this summer for $179. While I still prefer my hairy, nosy best friend, there are many families who cannot own dogs because of allergy problems, their housing situation or other factors. Chip is an interactive robotic pet that recognizes its owner, can follow commands and learn new skills. You can even change its behavior and personality. It comes with a smart ball and a smartphone “translation” app, so your child and pet can communicate. No need to feed, walk outside in cold weather or clean up after your new family member! Plus, Chip knows when it’s time for bed to recharge for a new day of play!
If you are like me and have a child who commutes to school on their bike, you are probably constantly worried about them getting hit by a car. New Orfeo Bluetooth earphones will be a great gift for both you and your kid. Their SoundThru technology, which can be turned on and off through the smartphone app, supports awareness of your surroundings while listening to music. At the same time, Orfeo has an in-ear microphone for easy communications in noisy environments, such as public transportation or a sporting event. The headphones also feature Accudio technology to reproduce hi-fi stereo sound and simulate various audio devices whether you are enjoying music or playing games in virtual reality.
Our kids are growing up in a new world filled with smarthome gadgets, mobile devices and connectivity. These new products arriving in 2016 should make your life as a parent a little more convenient and a lot more fun.
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