CES 2024: ShowStoppers Press Showcase
Article by Angie Kibiloski
Show Stopping Products
After the exhibit halls closed on Tuesday night, the official opening day of CES 2024, the final major Press-exclusive event of the show occurred. ShowStoppers, held at Bellagio, pulled together just under 100 hand-picked companies to exhibit their shiny new tech. This isn’t always the most successful evening for my target coverage, but this year ShowStoppers really delivered a high percentage of top quality products to fit my interests. As with the other product showcases, I’ll only be highlighting 5 of them, but others will feature in reviews across the next few months. These are the top standouts of the night for me, either for their awesome tech or the stories behind it.
Puppy Power for a Good Cause
When I heard RCA would have their new mascot puppy at their ShowStoppers booth, I made a beeline there as soon as I arrived. What I didn’t know was that adorable puppy, Pixel, would grow up to be a companion for a veteran through K9s for Warriors, the service dog organization that RCA has partnered with. I also didn’t know that RCA made pet products, or that $1 of every purchase in their pet product line will go to fund the K9s for Warriors program. Expect a full article on this worthy partnership and the full line of products, but for now here’s a brief rundown.
RCA‘s pet tech line begins with their Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder, which allows you to portion feed and monitor your pets through the RCA Smart Home app and HD camera, with night vision and real-time two-way audio. If you want to interact a bit more with your pet, grab the Treat Dispenser model instead, and launch yummy snacks across the room for your pets to catch. There’s also a Feeder model without the camera and audio for the budget conscious who still want long-distance control over their pet’s meals. These products aren’t quiet out yet, but will be available on Amazon when they hit the market.
One Dad’s Mission to Teach
Founder and CEO of Edsoma, Kyle Wallgren, did not start out in tech or education, he was just a dad who wanted to help teach his daughter to read, long-distance during the pandemic. He launched into extensive research on what options were available, and decided they simply weren’t enough. He formed education and technology partnerships with Lexile and MetaMetrics, and even landed a huge collaboration with Shaquille O’Neal, who is hugely passionate about education. What resulted was an AI-assisted teaching platform that tailors lessons to each child’s specific literacy needs.
The Edsoma platform is aimed towards grades K-4, but could be used for younger or older kids depending on their reading levels. As a child reads a book aloud along with the app, the AI detects any pronunciation errors or missed words and gives corrections. It also tests reading comprehension with fun activities, and recommends books from the extensive library of 12,000 titles, depending on which will best suit each child’s reading level. There’s a video chat feature so students and parents (or teachers), can read together from anywhere, and a reading report to keep track of progress. The platform is cool, and it’s grown impressively in a short time, but what struck me most was that it all came about because a father wanted to be more involved in his daughter’s education, and stepped into an unknown field to make that happen.
Cute Cubey Console
The Nex Playground is a cute little game console cube, featuring controllerless, motion-sensing technology, to get gamers of all ages off the couch and actively playing hands-free. The Playground has a super wide-angle lens, so even users with a very small space can get full range of motion controls. You’ll control the games through body movements and hand gestures, with the single remote control only being used to select titles and certain system settings. Once you’re in the game, it’s all about being in the space, along with up to 3 of your roomies.
There are currently 20+ games in Nex‘s library, with more on the way, most accessed via an affordable quarterly or annual subscription, with 3 signature titles included on the console without a subscription. Game titles are offered for a wide range of ages and genre preferences, and include, racing, fitness, puzzles, word games, adorable collaborations with kids’ favorites such as Peppa Pig, and so much more. You can pre-order your Playground now before its February release.
Get Closer to the Stars
I love stargazing, and I love Celestron, a leading company in astronomical technology for over 60 years. At CES 2024, they debuted their Origin telescope, a model that makes admiring and capturing images of the most amazing celestial wonders accessible for even a novice user. Touting it as a smart home observatory, Celestron puts the power of the pros in your backyard, to view and capture images of our nearest celestial neighbors and deep space objects alike.
If you’ve ever tried navigating the skies through a manual telescope, you’ll know how frustrating it is to locate and focus on objects of interest. The Origin takes the guesswork out with their integrated AI-assisted app and on-board software, which not only tells you what objects you can find in your sky each night, it’ll orient itself and focus on those objects without your interference. You can even set it to function while you sleep, selecting multiple subjects for it to find throughout the night, so you don’t have to wait up for hours for those once-in-a-lifetime astronomical sightings.
Celestron‘s state-of-art lens, sensor and camera system captures crisp, detailed, stunningly images, even through urban light pollution. These images can be sent to your phone, tablet, or computer, and even live streamed to your smart TV for an at-home planetary experience for your friends and family. If you want to be educated on the space stuff you’re viewing, the app can supply interesting audio presentations on the objects you’ve focused on or captured in the past. The Origin does have a high-end price tag of $3,999.00, but if you’re serious about at-home astronomy, you can’t go wrong with Celestron.
Every Artist’s Dream
If you took a poll of all the digital artists you could find, I’m willing to bet most of them use a Wacom art tablet for their digital drawing and painting. Whether it’s a small starter tablet like the One line, or a full touchscreen PC like the Mobile Studio Pro that I have, Wacom is likely to feature in their art tool kit in some way. The newest models to hit the scene are the 17″ and 22″ Wacom Cintiq Pro, joining their big 27″ brother that was already on the market. The 17″ is closest to what I’m used to drawing on, but the expansive 22″ is very tempting. They have all the same specs as the previous model, but give a user a variety of size options to suit their preference and needs.
There are many incredible features onboard these tablets, so I encourage you to take the full tour on Wacom‘s site, but here’s a few notable specs. The programmable hotkeys stashed around the back edge, and the fully customizable Wacom Pro Pen 3, make your drawing experience comfortable and totally personalized. The 10-point multi-touch functionality of the screen allows you to work fluidly between pen and fingertip controls. The color gamut and color accuracy of the display screen are the best in the industry, earning both Pantone Validated and Pantone SkinTone Validated certifications. Both new Cintiq Pro models are available now, starting at $2,499.95.
Don’t Stop the Show
Considering there were less than 100 companies exhibiting at ShowStoppers 2024, I was impressed by the number and variety that peaked my interest and met my target coverage. This was just a very brief overview of 5 of those products, and I very much hope to deliver full reviews on these and others that I’ve not mentioned here. If you want more juicy coverage while you wait for those, head over to my 2 previous CES 2024 articles on CES Unveiled and Pepcom’s Digital Experience, where I highlight 5 more cool products from each event. Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming coverage on the nifty things I found on the show floors of the Venetian Expo Center and Las Vegas Convention Center as well.