Posted by Andrew Casden
Filed Under Culture
Astro Studios does CES

Prepared by Andrew Casden & Eric Bergman

There is always a ton of coverage leading up to, and following, the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Here are our favorite trends, products and tech from 2020. Without further ado...

1. AR hardware is getting better… but still not totally there yet.

Here at Astro we see a lot of AR and VR hardware, so we were keen to see the offerings at CES this year. The solutions are getting smaller, but still awkward. We thought this design (Nreal) had a unique architecture until we saw 3 other “brands” selling the exact same hardware under a different logo. The greatest I.D. challenges remain around display and camera placements, dangly cables, connectors, lens base curvature and most of all is managing volume for components like batteries and PCBs.

2. As Millennials are starting families, family tech is growing with them

We saw a lot of buzz and attention around the family tech area this year, with an impressive array of new devices for all life stages of family, from all stages of natal care, to infant health and sleep monitoring, to fun and educational devices for young children, scaled down from the tech mommy and daddy use.

We particularly liked some of the offerings by brands like Baby Brezza and Fanmi, which seem to have taken some cues from other beverage prep tech and applied to baby formula prep. Owlet continues to impress with integrated tech in soft-goods for infants.

3. Autonomous car and drones are part of the Connected City

Cities of the future have long fascinated the public and stimulated the minds of designers, engineers, and urban planners alike. In 2020, we’re finally approaching an inflection point, where the chips are small enough to be embedded in many more devices, autonomous technology in the form of vehicles, drones and robotics are quickly achieving production-ready intelligence, and mobile broadband networks are integrating into dense urban areas, creating the perfect conditions for smart cities to really begin to take shape. Toyota’s woven city showed solutions ranging in scale from helper robots in retail stores to AI managed gardens. Pedestrian safety was the obvious priority with autonomous cars, whereas efficiently coordinated flight patterns were paramount for passenger drones like the Bell Nexus. The Hyundai x Uber collab provided some slick visions of future city transport while thankfully keeping the blue LED light strips to a minimum.

4. eMobilty - Segway/Ninebot leading the way

One of CES’ most anticipated pavilions was US/Chinese mobility leader Segway/Ninebot. This year, Segway unveiled a number of new products that not only caught our attention, but impressed us with a broad range of new offerings, which has grown from the Segway PT to include a full suite of electric mobility solutions; vehicles for the those with special needs, to urban commuters, to toys and recreation.

5. ROBOTS can do

Samsung showcased a smart kitchen complete with under-cabinet dropdown robot arms and Charmin had a cute little bot to fetch more TP in your time of need (and you’re empty-rolled). Omron presented a hulking spidery robot who played ping-pong, and it was pretty damn cool. Need we say more??

BONUS. AI Assistants

Audio assistants like Alexa and Hey Google continue to be everywhere and have infiltrated places you’d never have imagined. Now you can handsfree manage your playlists from the toilet and ask Alexa which Wendy’s drive thru has the lowest speed bumps from your Lamborghini. Samsung claims NEON is not an assistant technology, its a “friend.” putting us one giant leap closer to the scenario from the movie Her.