CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, attracts more than 150,000 people to Las Vegas in the second week of January every year. This year, it has brought together more than 4000 exhibitors, including global brands and startups, industry professionals, media and government leaders.
“No other event in the world connects the full ecosystem of the tech industry like CES,” says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which hosts the event.
The organisers recognise the year’s hottest products through the CES Innovation Awards, an annual competition that honours outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. From several hundred honorees, we have narrowed the choice down to our 20 top picks of CES 2024. The first ten, in no specific order, are:
Best agricultural gadget
AirFarm, from Midbar
AirFarm makes a remarkable claim: not only to being “the world’s first inflatable farm”, but also that it “enables food production anytime, anywhere”. Without heavy and costly steel frames, this farm is designed to be sturdy but lightweight. Once in use, it converts moisture from the air into water, and recirculates the moisture produced by crops back to the roots. That also makes it “the world’s first farm that operates without water infrastructure”. If it lives up to all its promises, it will slash water requirements by 99% versus traditional farming and 90% against “vertical farming” competitors. Setting up AirFarm takes half a day. That means it is ideal for immediate food production in disaster-stricken areas, refugee camps, and areas where it can contribute to food security for vulnerable populations.
Best sleep gadget
T11 Pro Smart Mattress, from DeRUCCI
The DeRUCCI T11 Pro is described as an Artificial Intelligence of Things, or AIoT, digital health smart mattress. It features AI technologies with 23 flexible sleep/health AI sensors that track subtle changes in position, body temperature, heart rate, and health, and then adjusts to the individual’s health. It is claimed to warn the user about potential health issues before they themselves are aware of them. It uses 18 flexible support air bags that respond to movement and position, supporting the head and spine. It combines big data, AI software algorithms, and sleep monitoring to make smart software and hardware adjustments, and can be connected to other AIoT home appliances.
Best gaming gadget
Phantom, from Afference
The Phantom was developed by Afference, founded by world-leading neural engineers who are translating decades of research in neural interfaces into “spatial computing” – the currently fashionable term for virtual or augmented reality, ever since “metaverse” fell out of favour. The Phantom is a wrist-worn electronic gadget that provides a mobile and wireless interface to any spatial computing headset, glasses, or mobile device. It provides haptic feedback at finger level, meaning that it enables the feeling of touch when one is in a virtual environment. Self-aligning rings provide a transparent interface, which claim to allow for seamless transitions between the digital and physical world.
Best gadget for visually disabled
GUIDi AI smart belt, from AI Guided Limited
The GUIDi is an AI smart belt empowering the visually impaired by combining AI with MEMS, or micro-electromechanical systems – tiny machines that contain both mechanical and electronic components. The device includes dual wide-angle cameras, a customised edge AI module with sensor integration, a haptic navigation system, and voice command. In combination, it gives users a personal and highly intelligent navigation system independent of the internet or GPS. An accompanying mobile app features voice command support and over-the-air updates, allowing continuous improvement and cutting-edge functionality.
Best gadget for physically disabled
Wheely-X, from Kangsters
Wheely-X is a wheelchair treadmill that allows users to remain in their own wheelchaisr while taking part in interactive games, encouraging physical fitness and cognitive health. It offers personalised workouts to enhance endurance, strength, and flexibility. Stimulating games boost memory, focus, and problem-solving abilities.
Best display technology
TriClarity nScreen, from Nano and Advanced Materials Institute
The biggest selling point of the TriClarity nScreen is that it is “Wrinkleless”. If you’ve never thought of a screen needing to be wrinkle-free, you haven’t used fold-up screen. The nScreen is a flexible, high-contrast display that makes it possible to claim “the world’s only collapsible, large-size, and portable display/TV”. The screen displays a 24-inch diagonal image with 2K high-resolution that expands and folds away in seconds. The whole display/TV can be collapsed down to the size and weight of a book.
Best audio technology
Naqi Neural Earbuds, from Naqi Logix
Naqi Neural Earbuds are claimed to be “the next generation of human-machine interfaces”. If they operate as advertised, the neural earbuds will allow users to command, control, and navigate computers, digital devices, smart home IoT devices, robots, and wheelchairs without voice, touch, screens, or cameras. They are describes as everyone’s “earbud superpower” that can control almost everything in the digital world — appearing as if the user had telepathy. It remains to be seen whether they live up to a claim that they will redefine how users interact with technology, but it has the potential for creating a new, silent and invisible input methodology for the disabled, the elderly, gamers, e-sports professionals, and first responders. As such, they would be a great, non-invasive alternative to brain implants.
Best safety gadget
Noline, from anfire korea
NoLine is a wireless fire detector with advanced multifunctionality, using six sensors that detect heat, smoke, temperature, humidity, dust, and carbon monoxide detection. Thanks to advanced algorithms, anfire promises, false alarms are eliminated. A data transmission range of more than 900 metres enables deep collaboration with fire departments, making it a communication-driven device that facilitates two-way data transmission and leverages big data.
Best high-end power gadget
Solix F3800 Portable Power Station, from Anker
With a high AC output power of 6,000W and a dual-voltage output of 120V/240V, Anker SOLIX F3800 is claimed to be the first portable power station to support home power cycling with AC coupling and a home power panel. The Anker SOLIX F3800 provides a clean, quiet, alternative solution to generators, capable of powering an entire home.
Best low-end power gadget
Prime 6-in-1 Charging Station, from Anker
The Anker Prime 6-in-1 Charging Station is a 140W portable unit with 2 AC outlets, 2 USB-C ports, and 2 USB-A ports. The USB total output is 140W, allowing it to charge a MacBook Pro 16″ to 100% in 75 minutes. Incredibly slim, at just 0.7 inches thick, it is easy to carry in a bag or backpack.
* CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, is one of the most influential tech events in the world, serving as the launchpad for several thousand new products every January in Las Vegas. It is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and features every aspect of the tech sector.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee