Creatives, dabblers, fitness junkies, and experimenters have had another field day at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). If you’re unfamiliar, CES is a sort of technological World’s Fair – just without the monolithic feats of architecture. Held in a convention center in Las Vegas, tech companies – and non-tech companies that want to do tech things – converge at CES to show the world not just a new product, but their philosophy of how people like you an me will use technology in the future. Sometimes that future is just days away. Other times it’s a decade away. No matter what, CES is filled with exciting gadgets, nostalgic throwbacks, and cutting edge tech that people like you and me can get our hands on… eventually. (Probably).
This year, there was no shortage of news for any aspiring or professional creator with a little something here and there for the health nuts. Here are (more than) a few of our favorites we know you’ll love.
Kodak Brings Back Ektachrome Film
Seemingly just as soon as Kodak pulled Ektachrome from the market in 2012 and released a doomed smartphone, the company has gone back to its original roots as a film producer and re-released Ektachrome. Ektachrome, if you don’t know, is a special kind of color positive film that is best known for its saturated colored and grainy quality. It’s the kind of film used by Super 8 movie cameras – oh! And there’s a new one of those coming too, this time as a digital hybrid.
As an added bonus, Kodak will also be distributing free film to some college students to encourage use of it and keep this vintage tradition alive for another generation. Film is Kodak’s heritage and we can’t wait to see what cinematographers can pull off with this classic film.
Kodak Goes Full Circle Again
Instead of going full circle back in time, Kodak has gone full circle by announcing a newly upgraded 360 camera for VR. That’s pretty neat! What’s not neat is that it’s called the Kodak Pixpro Orbit 360 4K VR. (We’ll just call it the Pixpro Orbit 360 from here on out.) An update to last year’s model, the Pixpro Orbit 360 will cost $499, has a dual lens, and records in 4K as the name suggests. It looks a little bit like a GoPro with two lenses and is compact enough to toss in the small pocket of your backpack.
While those specs are crystal clear good, what’s not as clear is how Kodak will stand out from a pack of increasingly numerous 360 cameras. Regardless, this announcement is symbolic of a Kodak that isn’t content relying on nostalgia alone.
Under Armour Takes A Stand
What if your wearable was just your clothes? What if you didn’t need any special accessory to get the same benefits you already do from a band, watch, or otherwise? Those are the questions that Under Armour has been pondering. “What are we going to do if Apple and Samsung decide that they want to start making apparel and footwear?” said CEO Kevin Plank in his key note address this year. “Great question,” said everyone else. To answer that question, Under Armour announced their ‘Future Girl’ initiative. It’s a line of smart clothing that provide women all the activity data they could need.
But they’re not stopping there. From t-shirts to tennis shoes, Under Armour is using its position as a leader in athletic fashion to mark its territory from the big tech guys – and it’s a good idea. Here’s to hoping Under Armour is successful! Also they brought out Michael Phelps.
The US Gets A Nifty New Nikon
A couple months after it was announced in Japan, the Nikon D5600 is now official in the States. Despite it’s extra fancy looking name, the Nikon D5600 is actually a budget DSLR for mid-level photographers. At ~$700, the Nikon D5600 has interchangeable lenses, a pivoting touchscreen LCD monitor, and WiFi + BlueTooth functionality. It’s also complete with a 39-point autofocus system, full 1080p video at 60fps, and an ISO range of 100 to 25,600. Once you put it all on paper, it’s hard to believe that it doesn’t cost twice as much.
We already know that this camera can take great, sharp shots and – at this price – it’s tough to ignore if you’re itching to take awesome photos on a budget. If you ask us, we’re pretty sure this DSLR is going to become a quick favorite on Christmas and birthday lists this year.
It was only a matter of time before drones made their way from the sky to the sea. The Provision PowerRay is an underwater drone – but it’s not for photographers (necessarily). Instead, the PowerRay is billed as a fisherman’s tool. It can be equipped with a sonar to help you find fish and – whatever. The point is that it goes underwater and has a camera. Though the camera may not be the greatest, this is one of those moments where we’re witnessing the first step into a new possibility for photographers. These glimpses are when CES is most exciting.
While the camera onboard claims 4K support, even more thrilling is the ability to get a live stream through VR. You’ll be feeling a Gungan in no time. There are certainly a ton more considerations to make for underwater photography before our amphibious drones take stellar shots, but the Provision PowerRay should be capable enough for early adopters eager to check out some marine life.
Your Drone, The Personal Photographer
Bringing friends with you on vacations so you can take photos of each other is ~so~ 2016. In 2017, we’ll all have selfie drones that follow us around, snapping Instagram pics for us. Enter the Hover Camera Passport, a compact, foldable drone specifically designed to be your own personal photographer. Using an app, you can control the drone, have it hover to snap a pic, or set it to follow you to get shots that look about a thousand times more natural than anything you can get with a selfie stick.
As an extra bonus, the drone’s blades are always covered in a sort of cage, making personal injury difficult to incur. It shoots video in 4K and images in 13MP. If we had to guess, we’d say that you’ll be seeing a lot more people using drones instead of holding out their cell phones in the next couple of years.
Modular Drones Fly Into CES
One of the most annoying parts of drones right now is that the perfect flying contraption may not have the perfect camera. Having to choose the drone and the camera together has forced more than few compromises we wish we didn’t have to make. Enter the Yuneec H520 – and it’s not a play toy. Marketed to expert enthusiasts as well as firefighters and policemen, the H520 allows you to attach, essentially, whatever camera you’d like to it.
It’s also extremely rugged and bright orange. If that’s not a deal breaker, its surely hefty, TBD price tag might be . If that isn’t, the Yuneec H520 might be for you. Honestly? It’s hard to argue with its specs. It promises to be quite swift and packs a big battery for half hour long flights.
A New Way To Stabilize Any Video
It’s not just giant corporations that have a presence at CES every year; Kickstarter successes can pop up too! The SteadXP is a very successfully funded module you attach to your camera that records all of your jittery hand motions while you record video. Later, once you’re uploading your footage, the SteadXP will use the data it’s collected to stabilize your shots using its own custom software.
Working with any DSLR or GoPro, it can be a valuable tool for anyone without the budget for expensive software or rigs. Frankly, it’s a, “so obvious why didn’t I think of that,” kind of accessory that should be a welcome addition to action shooter’s camera bag.
A Wearable That Uses You For Power
Another crowdsourcing success entered the CES fray this year called the MATRIX PowerWatch. After raising over 800% of its funding goal on IndiGoGo, the watch has a pretty neat gimmick in addition to its good looks: it uses your body heat for power. The technology has a working prototype on the show floor and the company has grand ambitions of using this tech for things from hearing aids to employee beacons.
The MATRIX PowerWatch also does everything you’d expect a top of the line smartwatch to do. It counts your steps, calories, and time slept. It’s slim, stylish, and priced right inline with other smartwatches. Did we mention it never needs to be charged?
Fitbit Launching An App Store For… Something?
And now something for the fitness freaks… Fitbit announced at CES that it has plans to release an App Store for FitBit devices. This is one of the more interesting pieces of news to come out of CES because FitBit devices don’t yet support apps. Could this mean that Fitbit apps are coming to Android Wear and the Apple Watch? Is Fitbit building its own, true smartwatch? It’s impossible to know – but it’s very fun to speculate. Fitbit is a company to watch this year if wearables are your deal.
Star Wars Drones – Because Duh!
There’s been no market more ready for Star Wars-ification than Drones. Thankfully, the company Propel has heard your wistful fantasy and announced a series of drones modeled after famous Star Wars flying contraptions. The models include a Speeder Bike, X-Wing, and Tie Fighter. Priced affordably at $199, these look like the could be fun play things and could make for some convincingly fun photo shoots – especially if you know how to add lasers in photoshop.
Most importantly, however, is that we’re beginning to see the toy-ification of drones. They’re becoming cheaper and easier to produce and, as they get into the hands of younger and younger audience, they’re well on their way to becoming as mainstream as smartphones.
Wearables: Not Just For Humans
If you’re pup at home is jealous of that fancy Apple Watch of yours, he/she is in luck. There’s a smart dog collar now – because of course there is. The American Kennel Club Smart Collar looks like any other leather dog collar, but does so much more. It keeps track of where your pooch is at, tracks activity for a healthy lifestyle, and includes a remote controlled light for finding Fido in the dark. Honestly, we wish that all wearables for humans looked as good as this collar for dogs.
The collar should instill confidence in any animal lover given that its from the American Kennel Club, an organization with decades of advocating for the fair treatment of animals.
Upgrading the Mood Ring
Remember those sweet rings you had in middle school that changed colors based on your mood? (No shame if you still have one) Well, the mood rings of 2017 are a little bit smarter than those – albeit slightly less mystical. Enter the Motiv Ring, a smart ring with a ton of tech packed into it. It will track your sleep, count your steps, tell you how much sun you’re getting, and is complete with a comprehensive app to monitor all of your progress.
As we continue our journey into the future, smaller and smaller wearables should come to be expected. There will come a day when our wristbands will look clunky and the Motiv Ring offers a glimmer of innovation towards that.
As always, the entire Consumer Electronics Show was exciting, but there’s been perhaps no more obvious emphasis on helping people create or track activity. These trends are intrinsic to our experience as humans and companies have once again offered us with exciting solutions to do both better. Here’s to a joyously innovative year, filled with gizmos and gadgets galore! *clink*