A batch of CES press bags (and one ringer)

Dern’s CES 2024 Post #1: Ten New Products I Woulda-Seen-If-I’d-Been-There:

From AI Meat Thermometers and Hearing Aids to Water-From-Air and Solar Buggies

By Daniel P. Dern

Due to, alas, last-minute (non-health) scheduling conflicts, I didn’t get to Las Vegas this January for CES 2024 — but, thanks to the hundreds of PR email messages (I’d pre-registered as Media), plus reading news coverage from my favorite tech sites), I have a good ’nuff sense of what I would’ve/could’ve seen and schmoozed/learned about.

Many were exhibitors on the humongous show floor(s) proper, often in the Eureka Park section of The Venetian, which is mostly (possibly all?) start-ups. Many were also or instead in my favorite places to see things – the evening Pepcom and ShowStoppers press/analyst-only events (both of which I’ve been productively attending since these events were founded a quarter-century ago), some at CES’ own CES Unveiled, or in hotel suites or other dedicated areas. Lots of shoe leather and steps! (For those there in person.)

Unsurprisingly, CES 2024 was home to lots of AI, robotics, IoT, health care, kitchen/food, electric-vehicle and power tech (and combinations)… along with the usual gaggle of smartphones, notebooks, desktop PCs, and printers, and humongous or otherwise notable TVs, of course.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the first ten from my mailfiles that have stood out or struck my fancy (so far — I’m still slogging through those email messages): (Note, all photos are from the vendors’ sites.)

  • Apption Labs‘ MEATER 2 Plus wireless smart meat thermometer
  • BlinkTech XBotGo Gen 2 (Smartphone video accessory)
  • Doosan: Intro’ing, Showing AI robots for bartending and mega-lawn-care, energy products and more
  • ELEHEAR Beyond Hearing Aids: Over-The-Counter AI Noise Reduction And More
  • FindMyClinicalTrial: Connecting patients and clinical trials
  • FreeCast: Adding to affordable TV cord-cutter guide/watch tools
  • Genesis WaterCube: WaterCube 100 – Household-level water extraction from the air
  • Navitas Semiconductor: Speeding and greening chargers with GaN and SiC
  • Pebble Flow: Intro’ing all-electric iOS-app-managed RV/travel trailer
  • Squad Mobility: Solar Buggy Special Edition For Urban/Suburban Utility
  • Yoshino Power: Solid-state compacter portable battery packs.

I’ve left in the exhibitor links, because, even though the show’s over, they may be useful if you want to contact them or learn more. (Assuming those links stay up.)

Some, I’d be personally interested in trying/buying, for business (I’m a freelance technology/business writer, in case you’ve lost track) or personal use. Many are likely matches for other people, or companies, buildings, or other entities.

Plus there’s always a few that stand out, as, in the words of the late Jerry Pournelle in his own Comdex, CES and other event write-ups, “The dangdest thing I’ve seen [at this event].”

Disclaimer: I haven’t (yet) seen, tested or tried any of what’s below; I’m simply reporting on what the exhibitor’s email and web site said (along with some answers to questions I’d emailed).

Apption Labs: Meater 2 Plus Wireless Thermometer

(Pepcom; Venetian Tower, Hospitality — Venetian Palazzo Hospitality Suites)

Apption Labs' MEATER 2 Plus and app

Apption labs’ MEATER 2 Plus and app

Apption Labs (meater.com) was showing the MEATER 2 Plus (MSRP $119.95), the newest model in their MEATER wireless smart meat thermometer line.

Features, according to MEATER 2 Plus’ Amazon listing include:

  • Direct Heat Grilling at 1000°F
  • Smart Temp Multisensor technology
  • Bluetooth 5.2 Coded PHY Long Range
  • Waterproof (so you can use it for deep fry and sous vide, and clean it in the dishwasher)
  • You can set multiple custom alerts, e.g., when to remove your meat from heat, how long to rest, and when it’s time to eat.

I’m not sure whether I need one—but offhand, I can think of at least two friends who I’m sure will be interested.

CES exhibitor listing for Apption Labs: https://exhibitors.ces.tech/8_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?exhid=0013000001NAgaOAAT.

BlinkTech Inc: Intro’ing Gen 2 of its XBotGo mount&app for smartphone sports/event video’ing

(Venetian Expo, Hall G, Booth 60837 (Eureka Park))

XBotGo 2

The XbotGo 2 app-controlled gimbal auto-pans and tilts a smartphone to track sports event or other fast-moving focus area

Videoing sports and other fast-moving events well with your smartphone can be challenging.

Blink Tech Inc. (xbotgo.com) introduced, and showed the prototype for, its XbotGo 2 (aka XbotGo 2 AI Sports Cameraman), the next version of its XBotGo app-controlled gimbal (and Android/iOS app) for smartphones, which “turn your smartphone into a professional sports cameraman.”

The Gimbal holds a smartphone, and mounts onto a tripod. The app controls the Gimbal’s motorized pan and tilt, to “intuitively discern the focal point on the field, autonomously track it, and fluidly zoom and pan to follow the action—mirroring the work of a professional cameraperson.” I.e., moving your phone so the camera tracks a fast-moving focal point, e.g., ball and players in soccer or basketball).

There’s also an optional hand remote (or you can use an Apple Watch). Oddly, there’s (currently) no (apparent) way to have a remote monitor, e.g., a tablet, notebook, or another smartphone) so you can watch as well as control when you’re not looking at the gimbal-mounted phone’s display…which could be useful, for example, if you’re using a thirteen-foot tripod. (They also offer a 3.77-foot tripod.)

I don’t currently have an event-use for an XBotGo, but if I did, I’d consider one – but would want to test it and get used to it well in advance.

(The XBotGo 2 is currently expected to start presell on Kickstarter in March 2024.)

CES Exhibitor listing for BlinkTech XbotGo:

Doosan Group: Intro’ing, Showing AI robots for bartending and mega-lawn-care, energy products and more

(LVCC, West Hall, Booth 5941)

Doosan's Oscar The Sorting RobotDoosan Group (doosan.com) introduced/showed an intriguing range of products, including:

  • Doosan Robotics’ “Mixmaster Moodie” AI bartending robot powered by ChatGPT. (Just don’t tell it, “Make me one with everything.”)
  • Bobcat autonomous lawn mower, suitable for city parks, football fields, golf courses, etc.
  • “Oscar the Sorter” AI-powered collaborative robot (cobot) for more efficient sorting/picking, for tasks like order-pickup and for recycling sorting.
  • HyAxiom will be showing its PureCell Model 400 hydrogen fuel cell, and announcing a scalable-sized version of their PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) Electrolyzer (in the megawatt(s) range).
Small Modular (Nuclear Fission) Reactors Are, Per Their Name, Smaller Than Traditional Ones

SMRs will be much smaller than traditional nuclear power plants

What caught my attention in Doosan’s email: I believe this is the first CES-related email to mention/include the phrase “Small Modular Reactor (SMR)” — where small means “power output or no more than 300 MWe” (Megawatts Electric), useful where there’s no central power grid, and tasks like district heating and seawater desalination. Doosan is involved in manufacturing castings and forgings of key components for 77MWe SMRs for use, for example, within the US – initially, the Carbon Free Power Project(CFPP) — and internationally.

CES exhibitor listing for Doosan:

ELEHEAR Beyond Hearing Aids: Over-The-Counter AI Noise Reduction And More

(LVCC, North Hall, Booth 8137)

ELEHEAR's AI-Enabled Hearing Aids

ELEHEAR’s AI-Enabled Hearing Ads

Many over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids aim to dramatically beat the (high, and not well-covered-by-insurance) price of prescription ones – along with incorporating features from headsets/earbuds and smartphones, like app control, and Bluetooth streaming for phones’n’tunes.

ELEHEAR’s (elehear.com) current Alpha and Alpha Pro OTC hearing aids use 32kHz ultra HD speech signal processing to deliver advanced noise reduction & feedback cancellation, along with an AI algorithm that “extracts and enhances human voices from environmental noise.” Additionally, they support Bluetooth streaming, and app-tuneability.

AT CES, ELEHEAR offered a sneak peek at a prototype model for its next model (currently set to launch in mid-2024 — to get that sneak peek you would have had to sign an embargo/NDA), which will offer “significant improvements,” according to ELEHEAR.

I (don’t think I) need one yet—which means now’s the time I should start researching and trying these hearing helpers.

CES exhibitor listing for ELEHEAR: https://exhibitors.ces.tech/8_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?exhid=0014V00003wZSE3QAO.

FindMyClinicalTrial: Connecting patients and clinical trials

(Venetian Expo, Hall G, Booth 62141, Eureka Park)

FindMyClinicalTrial (logo)

FindMyClinicalTrial will prospective patients find trials, and researchers find test subjects

FindMyClinicalTrial (findmyclinicaltrial.org) is “an early-stage software technology company developing a platform for which patients, hospitals, and clinical research sites can streamline trial recruitment.” (Via https://exhibitors.ces.tech/8_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?exhid=001Pp000003iXjJIAU )

FindMyClinicalTrial’s software is intended to help patients find and enroll in clinical trials, and vice versa (helping clinical research sites and trials find and track test subjects). Goals include “increasing diversity and minority populations, and increasing access by community health organizations.”

This looks like a useful and Good Thing. It’s clear from many articles I’ve read that historically—and still—clinical tests (not to mention user testing/training on non-medical products and services, e.g., facial recognition) don’t reach out and include a wider range of people.

CES Exhibitor listing for FindMyClinicalTrial:

FreeCast: Adding to affordable TV cord-cutter guide/watch tools

(ShowStoppers’ First-Look Pitches, Bellagio Hotel, Grand Ballroom – Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 5-6PM)

FreeCast dashboards your OTA and streaming video

FreeCast Home promises to simplify affordable whole-home OTT/OTA TV/streaming

FreeCast (freecast.com) looks like (I haven’t yet tried it/them yet) they solve many of the challenges caused by “cord-cutting” regular cable service (which I recently did), some free, some affordably.

FreeCast products and services including a free aggregating guide/watch app, and, showing at CES 2024, FreeCast Home, a small box ($199 purchase, no recurring/subscription fees — and includes a coupon for an HDTV antenna) that includes a small ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV tuner, streaming player, and DVR, for selecting/watching broadcast TV (via that HD antenna), Internet & streaming, and 1TB DVR (capacity USB-expandable) for OTA (Over-The-Air).

Were I at CES 2024, I’d have chatted them up; meanwhile, I’ll be exploring their free app! (And contemplating a FreeCast home box.)

Genesis Systems: WaterCube 100 – Household-level water extraction from the air

(LVCC, North Hall, Booth 9963)

Genesis Systems WaterCube 100

Genesis Systems’ WaterCube 100 can generate 100+ gallons/day of water from air moisture

Genesis Systems (genesissystems.com) was showing their WaterCube 100, which can extract 100+ gallons of clean water per day from air moisture — enough drinkable water for typical households. providing a sustainable water source (no pollution, nor hazardous by-products) that can be run on- or off-grid, and without relying on traditional water sources like municipal supplies, wells, or drought-prone water bodies.

The WaterCube 100 is household home-appliance sized (also usable for offices) version of their industrial-scalable Renewable Water from Air (RWA) technology that does not generate pollution or hazardous by-products.

According to Genesis Systems, the WaterCube 100’s energy consumption is 12kW Nominal (1 kWh/ gal), and will operates in humidity ranges of >40-100% and ideal climate temperatures of >59 degrees F.

Estimated retail price (not including installation) will be around $20,000; estimated shipping will be 2024 Q2.

How this compares, energy, size, and quality/taste-wise, to traditional dehumidifiers, dunno. Also, I’m guessing they wouldn’t work on Arrakis.

CES exhibitor listing for Genesis Systems:

Navitas Semiconductor: Speeding and greening chargers with GaN and SiC

(Tech West, Venetian Tower (aka The Venetian), Suite 29-335)

Navitas Semi next-gen SiC & GaN for faster, better mobile charging

Navitas showed “how next-gen GaN and SiC technology improve the performance, efficiency and adoption of mobile fast charging”`


Navitas Semiconductor (navitassemi.com) introduced and talked about its GaN (Gallium Nitride) and SiC (Silicon Carbide) technologies, and how components and products using them instead of traditional silicon can “improve the performance, efficiency and adoption of mobile fast charging, EVs, solar, energy storage, home appliance/industrial, and AI data center power. For mobile AC adapters and chargers, the company is working with partners including Anker, Aukey, Belkin, Dell, Lenovo and RAVPower.

As a big fan and follower of mobile devices and accessories — and as somebody who’s bought a GaN AC adapters and chargers in the past year or so, if I were at CES 2024 IRL/F2F, this would have been on my short list of vendors-to-see.

CES exhibitor listing for Navitas Semiconductor: https://exhibitors.ces.tech/8_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?exhid=0013A00001UaVydQAF

Pebble Mobility Intro’ing Flow all-electric iOS-app-managed RV/travel trailer

(LVCC, West Hall, Booth 7023)

The Pebble Flow eRV

Pebble’s all-electric Flow eRV/trailer includes solar panels and app control with feature-filled interior

Pebble Mobility (pebblelife.com) showed the Pebble Flow all-electric, app-controllable RV/e-trailer. The Flow includes a 45 kWh EV battery, capable of providing up to a week’s power for the trailer (or it can be a back-up power supply for your home if need be), and includes integrated solar panels.

Features include panoramic windows, aerodynamic design and convertible furniture.

Current pricing starts around $109,000; including the Magic Pack, with dual-motor drivetrain (for “propulsion assist” and remote-controllable maneuvering, e.g. parking while not attached to the car hitch) and other features, pushes the price to “from $125,000.” (Estimated shipping: “Before the end of 2024.”)

(I don’t know enough about RVs or trailers to have a good sense of this, but if nothing else, the remote-controllable parking looks like it can help avoid a mess of dents.)

CES exhibitor listing for Pebble Mobility: https://exhibitors.ces.tech/8_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?exhid=0014V00003waTDpQAM.

Squad Mobility: Solar Buggy Special Edition For Urban/Suburban Utility

(Venetian Expo, Hall G, Booth 62100 (Eureka Park))

Squad Mobility's Solar Buggy

Solar Buggy, ready to charge’n’roll

Netherlands-based Squad Mobility (squadmobility.com) showed the Special Edition of their Solar Buggy, a compact, affordable four-wheeler with a roof-mounted solar panel, suitable for fleet operations and sharing applications, reducing emissions and traffic congestion.

In the US, for example, the company reports seeing interest “for markets such as golf cart communities, (company) campuses, sharing platforms, hotels and resorts, amusement parks and inner city services.”

Typically, a Buggy’s four batteries provide a range of 62 miles. Depending on how much sun is available, the solar panel can charge/add “up to 13.6 miles extra range on sunny days in the Netherlands and up to 19.2 miles in Las Vegas.” (The batteries can be quick-swapped, or charged via other methods.)

I.e., these aren’t competing with larger, longer-range, higher-capacity vehicles – you won’t ferry a soccer team or do a CostCo run with one. (But if INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY gets a remake, perhaps we’ll see one in a re-staging of the tuk-tuk chase scene. Less likely: in an upcoming Fast And Furious.)

According to Squad Mobility, the Solar Buggy Special Edition will be available in the US in 2025, starting at $6,250 (excluding tax).

CES exhibitor listing for Squad Mobility:

Yoshino Power: Solid-state compacter portable battery packs

(LVCC North Hall, Booth #9873)

Yoshino B330 Power Station

Yoshino B330 Power Station

Yoshino Power (yoshinopower.com) will be showing their latest solid-state portable power products, which “use solid electrolyte lithium batteries rather than the bulky and flammable liquid electrolyte found in traditional lithium-ion batteries,” resulting in lighter-weight power. (Yoshino also sells solar panels suitable for charging its power stations.)

Current Yoshino power products range from their B330 SST (330W/241Wh, $349) through the B4000 SST (4,000W/2611 Wh, $3,299). The smaller/lighter ones sound like good matches for around the house in case of power outage (to keep phones charged and maybe one or two other lower-power devices or lights) or mobile camping/travel. (I wouldn’t want to carry even the B330 SST around all day, though.)

CES Exhibitor listing for Yoshino Power:


Hopefully, you’ll see something here that intrigues you – and if not, and you, unlike me were able to get to CES 2024, I’m sure you’ll found other new products, technologies and trends.

(BIO: Daniel P. Dern is a freelance technology/business/consumer writer, who, except for his feet, somewhat misses having not being at CES 2024.)

“Locking” My Phone’s Home Screen Icon Layout

One of the frustrating behaviors of my smartphone (currently a Moto G5 Plus) is that icons on the home screen periodically move around — switch places, conjugate with other icons and form a group, even simply disappear.

I don’t know how much of this is completely spontaneous, versus responding to contact while in a pocket, glitches in the screen’s touch layer, or space aliens playing icon hockey.

It’s similarly annoying on my desktop Windows computer, but at least I can “lock” the Taskbar to minimize unrequested changes. (Sadly, I have yet to find a setting to also keep the desktop icons where I put them.)

I’d like to find a “freeze icon layout” setting.

Alas, based on a brief web search or three, it looks like the features I want are not available in my phone’s version of Android. (I’m also not seeing it in the various Moto apps in the Google Play app store.) Feh.

Further searches suggest that I might get this feature by changing to a different “Launcher” app… but I’m concernedly cautious about what the downsides might be, such as disabling Moto “gestures” I rely on.

So for now, I guess, I’ll leave it be. I s’pose I should screenshot my home screen for reference.

And when I’m ready to get another/new smartphone, I’ll keep this in mind in my “feature druthers” list.

P.S. I’d also like to know why settings on my phone auto-toggle. Notably LOCATION turning on, speeding battery drain, but also AIRPLANE MODE and others.

Why I’ll Never Buy a Car That Runs Windows, or, Hey Microsoft Are You New At This Business Of End-User Software? :-(

So it’s 3PM Wednesday afternoon, I’m working away on my Windows desktop computer, with the usual dozen-ish windows including a FireFox private-browsing session (which doesn’t save open tabs when closed or crashed), and writing/editing across several files in my text editor (TextPad, FYI)… when ka-plunk, all the windows and background dim or something (things happened too fast for me to remember exactly) and center-screen up comes “Shutting down for system update” (or something like that).

Abruptly. Irrevocably. Not, like my Android phone or my iPad, “System (or OS) update available now, would you like to install it: YES/LATER.” Not, like a shell window to my ISP account which is running some *NIX, “System going down in 5 minutes…” Just, “[MANY EXPLETIVES FOLLOWED BY EXCLAMATION POINTS DELETED] you, Jack, I’m rebooting nyah-nyah-nyah.”

OK, it didn’t say that. But that’s sure what it felt like.

So tell me, Microsoft, how long have you been in the business of writing and selling operating operating systems — less than three months? Or did your entire Windows tech team turn over during the summer, and you replaced them with people who had never coded for users?

Or do you just not care?

Granted, this was probably the update I’d told Update Scheduler to postpone for a month, back in October, when I read about the, ahem, itsy-bitsy-glitch that was deleting everything in the DOCUMENTS directory (not that I let anything go there, as a rule).

I mean, do you show up unannounced at friends ten minutes before the end of a new GAME OF THRONES episode? Turn off the water while people are showering and doing laundry?

If only Windows included some what t6 keep track of the date and time. And had some built-in way to pop up a message to the user. If only.

Realistically, I’m too used to working in Windows and with third-party tools that run in Windows to casually shift OS gears.

But it certainly diminishes my already-ambivalent feelings for your company and products. And makes me even more concerned that if after thirty-plus years, you can still make (what I consider) is a bone-headed, lame, inexcusable, annoying, aggravating, and potentially business-damaging mistake like this, who knows what else you’re doing wrong?

Lucky for me, I only lost a minute or two’s worth of writing. Plus the time to chill out… it was time to take my dog out for a walk out anyway. But I could have been doing something important — and harder to recover from — and expensive or even dangerous to abruptly interrupt.

Like I said at the top, I don’t think I’d want to risk buying any vehicles that run on Windows.

Mmmm, maybe I do want to go take a Linux distro out for a spin… while I’m not in a hurry.

Using my smartphone like an FM transistor radio: Success! And some advice/tips.

Unlike my prior smartphones (an iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S5 and S7), my newish Lenovo Moto G5 Plus smartphone includes an unlocked FM radio chip — meaning I can use the phone as an FM radio, tuning into and listening live to local broadcast stations for free, data-plan-wise.

(And daily listening via wireless data can add up — the NPR app used nearly half a gig during one recent billing period, and as I write this, nearly 300MB so far.)

So over the past month or two, I’ve gotten the hang of using my Moto G5+ as an FM “transistor radio.”

Moto FM Radio app "favorites"

Moto FM Radio app “favorites”

Moto FM Radio app tuned to a "favorite"

Moto FM Radio app tuned to a “favorite”

Short answer: it works, but so far, I’m still more likely to burn data plan bits (i.e., listen via streaming or download), or keep using one of my old but still working perfectly SanDisk MP3/FM players.

If you want to try using your smartphone as an FM radio, here’s what you need to know, and some other tips. Continue reading

Trying To Find Technology In Order To Try Before Buying: The Case of the Unprintable Printer, And Other Stuff

One of the presumed/potential benefits of buying tech at brick’n’mortar locations rather than via online is the opportunity to see, touch, and try before buying (or deciding to not buy). (Other p/b b’s include helpful sales people — particularly at Micro Center, and getting the product then and there.)

Sometimes this works out — leading to my buying, or confirming that it’s not what I want.

But other times, not so much. Continue reading

CES 2016: Tuesday, January 5, Some Nifty Stuff Already Seen

The show floor doesn’t open until Wednesday morning, but thanks to the Pepcom’s Tuesday evening press/media-only event, and also to Discover Blue, the Bluetooth press/media event, ShowStoppers’ LaunchIT, and the general miasma of Press Day (press conferences the day before the floor opens), I’ve already seen a bunch of interesting stuff. Here’s a highlight handful. Prices and other info subject to my having taken notes badly, I’ll recheck when I can… Continue reading

It’s January 2016 — Time To Consume Electronics In Vegas Again!

With New Year’s Day now a few days old, it’s time once again for me (and thousands of my press/media colleagues) to head to Las Vegas for the annual CES (which used to stand for, and continues to be referred to as the Consumer Electronics Show), where thousands of vendors and resellers will hawk new and recent stuff to potential buyers and resellers, and to us press/media types. Continue reading

Trying (Tech) Stuff Ahead Of Time, Always A Good Idea

In part as as part of getting ready to go to CES 2015, and also because having, or being able to do, these things should be part of my “mobile toolkit,” I’ve been trying a bunch of things, and, true to the name of this blog, they’ve been trying, in particular:

1) Tweeting from my phone.
2) Posting to my WordPress blog(s) from my phone.
3) Having a mobile device good for writing in trade show/travel circumstances.

Continue reading

Wrangling Photos: A Picture Gallery from Readercon 25

Digital cameras make it easy to take not just dozens, but hundreds of photos at an event like a graduation, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, reunion, or convention, at, unlike “analog” photography, no “cost per click” for film or developing. Wrangling these batches of photos — culling duds, naming the keepers and batch-naming a collection, turning into a postable set — takes time. I’ve been exploring and experimenting with some of the free/cheap tools.

Continue reading

Off to Consume Electronics! (at 2014 International CES in Vegas)

And so off to this year’s (2014!) International CES, the show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, or, as I refer to it, “Consume Electronics!” I’m packing a camera, my iPad and Asus Nexus 7 tablets — plus, for most of my note-taking, if the AC charger still works, my trusty old NEC MobilePro, which flips open ready for being typed into faster than anything else I’ve got. Continue reading