Every year, the newest and shiniest advances in the consumer electronics world are launched at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. For the last couple of years, the hottest items at CES have been virtual reality headsets. And while Oculus Rift stole the show again this year, here are three other things that caught our eye:
Sleep Number “it” bed
You know those apps that measured your sleeping patterns and produced a nice little graph for you the next morning? You probably installed when you got your first smartphone, realised you did nothing with that information and probably haven’t opened them since.
Well, Sleep Number’s new bed, called “it”, takes this a step further by not just measuring your sleep, but learning how you sleep – what times you wake up and what light and temperature conditions get your REM going. Then it takes all that information and sends it to your phone, from which it can control your internet-of-things enabled lighting and heating, and waking you gently when your sleep is in the shallow end, so you don’t wake up in a panic to your phone’s usual inflexible beeping.
Oh, and it’s a good looking bed, too.
Sony's new HX500 turntable
The revival of vinyl records (and therefore turntables) has been talkedtodeath, and we won’t be retreading that well-worn subject here (TL;DR: vinyl record sales have increased every year for the last ten years, through are still well below the '70s-80s heights). But, with the reemergence of records in the age of digital listening has meant the emergence of a slightly counterintuitive practice – digitally recording and archiving one’s record collection.
Sure, of course you could plug any old turntable into a digital recording device and away you go, but Sony’s forthcoming HX500 has an in-built 24-bit analog-to-digital converter that allows audiophiles to easily record in super high quality digital formats.
Why would someone want to do this, you may ask. Well, it may be hard to believe, but not all of the music of the world is available to stream on Spotify or Apple Music. Also, some people like the sound of records better, and this way they can hear some of that analogue warmth (which is actually created by the format’s sonic limitations) on their run or in their car. So if someone wants to go to all that trouble instead of just listening to records as records, who are we to judge?
Oh, and it’s a good looking turntable, too.
Kodak Super 8 Camera
Speaking of analogue, Kodak is set to release a Super 8 film camera, a home recording device that uses real 8mm film cartridges, a technology the company invented 50 years ago.
Kodak has struggled to find a niche after people stopped using film cameras about ten years ago, but hopes that a new Super 8 camera will help spearhead what Kodak is calling its Super 8 Revival Initiative, which will include cameras, film cartridges, film development services and port production tools.
The camera, created by industrial designer Yves Behar from San Francisco-based FuseProject (he's the guy who designed those cool Jambox Bluetooth speakers), features a machined-metal body and a leather trimmed carrying handle. You’ll be able to swap between multiple C-mount lenses and you’ll be able to shoot at frame rates of 9, 12, 18, 24 and 25 frames-per-second. It has a built-in light meter, manual focus and aperture. There’ll be a few different film stocks released, so you can choose just how retro your film looks. Oh, and (just in case you wer thinking Kodak are completely insane) it has digital outputs so you will be able to upload that grainy footage to Instagram relatively easily.
Oh, and it’s a good looking camera, too.