In January, it was noticeable that CES 2020 attracted more exhibitors as well as attendees, who had an interest in other than just “consumer” innovations.
- Over 8% of attendees listed their job function as Engineering/Research & Development.
- The highest percentage product category listed for attendees was Artificial Intelligence. Software and Apps ranked fifth; VR and AR (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) as well as Robotics were also in the top ten.
- Industrial and agricultural companies introduced several new products and services, further highlighting the changing landscape of this annual event.
For farmers, last year and again this year, John Deere made a big splash by showcasing some of their latest tractors. While none of their farm equipment is targeted to the consumer market, it is of great interest to the agricultural community.
- Technology and AI are playing a major role in the way crops are planted, nurtured, fertilized and harvested.
- One model tractor added tracks instead of wheels to better protect the soil surface. It also includes many modern-day conveniences that are typically found in luxury automobiles (e.g. an electronic adjustment leather seat; multi-speaker stereo system).
Sharp introduced a drone that carries a camera capable of streaming hi-def 8K video over a 5G network. It can be used to survey local structures such as bridges as well as forests and farms. High quality images can more quickly be sent to evaluate conditions more safely and quickly than by deploying humans to perform such tasks.
The strange looking machine below is a prototype of a robotic product intended to locate and remove weeds. See a demo at https://www.odd.bot/
Named the Weed Whacker, this device is expected to reduce the amount of manual labor and lessen the use of herbicides, thus generating a higher yield for farmers.
This same company is developing another product to help clean the planet. The “beach bot” (below) is intended to detect and remove small litter (e.g. cigarette butts) from beaches. See https://project.bb/
Avnet had its own room at CES dedicated to how it is using AI and IoT devices and applications for the transportation and construction industries:
- Monitoring road traffic in ‘smart’ cities, e.g. fleet data.
- Improving the efficiency of heavy machinery, e.g. crane operation and safety.
Screenshots below illustrate how a crane operator can monitor a number of crucial performance and safety variables.
Feher Research introduced a self-contained, air-conditioned hard hat (see below). A variation of its motorcycle helmet, this headgear cools the scalp, which in turn cools the whole body for better health. http://feherresearch.com/
Robotics was a popular category, with exhibitors showing new products for use in factories and businesses.
Omnicron returned to CES 2020 with its ping pong-playing robot as well as a more traditional pick and place robot to demonstrate its capabilities.
Many other companies demonstrated how their robots could be used in a variety of business settings, such as
- coffee making and bartending,
- washing dishes in restaurants, hotels, etc.
- cleaning window exteriors, carpets and floors.
Dayton, an industrial distributor of general as well as industry specific tools, had a significant presence at CES 2020. This Hong Kong (not Ohio) based company also showcased a number of other product categories, e.g. sports and fitness, consumer electronics, smart watches, that were being promoted to all sorts of attendees.
For more coverage of the CES 2020, see