Trade shows are excellent places to learn, see what’s new, and uncover the innovations you’ll be seeing.
I’ll admit it... I’m a trade show junkie. Why? Well, having insatiable curiosity, trade shows are an easy “fix.” They’re great places to immerse yourself in what’s new and on-trend in whatever industry you’re in.
Recently I attended the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Always a treat, but this year was more fascinating than ever. Some of it left me feeling overwhelmed, but also excited by all the new advances. Here are some highlights, some you’ve seen on the news already, and some not so much:
- Many of the products were presented in new, different, and unique ways. One of the more compelling demonstrations centered around haptic technology. Haptic feedback creates the sense of touch by applying force, vibrations, or motions. I tested a system that used ultrasonic sensors and emitters to simulate touch. I played pong with only my hand, no wires or other hardware attached - and actually experienced the sensation of hitting the ball. It was very cool!
- There were a lot of mainstream innovations that seem to be featured in the media such as drones and driverless cars, but one thing that caught my eye was a little less glamorous: a better mousetrap. Instead of a spring, it uses a shock to kill the mouse. Since the trap is electrified, it can then emit an alert when the trap is full.
- Another area that I found very interesting were the advances in 3D printing. It's now possible to make 3D prints using Kevlar and carbon fibers. Transparency of the materials has also improved dramatically. There were also some impressive 3D printers that built structure using sheets of paper. Desktop 3D scanning is also becoming mainstream with a very user friendly and highly accurate device hitting the market at $600.
- There have also been some great advances in wireless charging. Several consortiums are emerging, and more widely deployed systems will soon be cropping up from Starbucks to Best Buy.
Trade shows, in general, are great places to learn, and every industry has their own CES. Whether it be the pet industry, housewares, golf, or packaging; getting out and seeing what's new by competitors or start-ups, is great inspiration.
What trade shows have you been to lately? What new products got you excited?
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