Highlights from Virtual CES

A new GM reveals the future of transportation

GM, following a year when the electric car upstart, Tesla, became more valuable than all of the Big Three automakers, revealed at CES its path for the future. The company unveiled its new division, BrightDrop, designed to provide logistics companies with an all electric delivery van and an electronic pallet platform. In addition, GM’s Mary Barra unveiled a new electric, flying personal taxi drone, called eVTOL which will be branded Cadillac. CNET

dis-rup-shun: These announcements are bold, as it seems clear that GM, the behemoth of American industrialism that foundered for many of the last thirty years, clearly understands that the future is not about fossil fuels, not about people owning multiple large cars, and not about running all over town to shop. The future is heavy with ecommerce, fractional services, gig-economy, and environmental conservation. GM gets it and is acting accordingly, knowing full well that the business model of the legacy carmaker is a path to certain extinction.

CareClever Cutii Robot

This is a useful robot. The friendly looking screen and speakers are on a small but sturdy pedestal on wheels. Cutii is designed to help seniors, by keeping them informed, tracking their movements, escorting them on walks, and coming to their aid if they fall. Cutii is not designed to open, close, lift and cook, but it does offer communications and visual contact so that a senior can request access to information, entertainment and communications from his or her robotic companion. Wired

dis-rup-shun: With many seniors in near isolation during the pandemic, such a device would likely be comforting, convenient and could offer a great deal of safety — enabling loved ones to see if a senior’s health appears compromised. Of course, any device that helps a senior in case of a fall could be a lifesaver.

Toto Wellness Toilet

Japanese manufacturer Toto displayed a smart toilet that analyzes waste, with every use, and provides feedback to an app regarding how you need to tune your diet, and other health indicators. The device will be expensive when released, but for those really into the quantified self, it will offer regular feedback on health. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For several years, we have seen smart toilets that offer massaging, soothing, water cleansing, and now, health assessments. Given the costs of such technologies, it will be years before builders offer these devices as standards in upscale homes, but with the recent concerns over toilet paper shortages during the pandemic, bidet-featuring smart toilets will remove one more concern from daily lives.

TCL Series 6 TV with 8K

Chinese TV maker TCL continues to wow consumers with high quality televisions at sub-one thousand dollar prices. The Series 6 offers 8K resolution support in an affordable package. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The world is only now beginning to expect content in 4K resolution, and it will be at least a couple of years before a great deal of 8K content is available, but if you are about to invest in a television that you plan to keep for 5 or more years, buying an 8K set is wise.

N95 Electronic Face Mask

Game hardware company Hazel has developed an electronic N95 mask that not only lights up with different colors, features re-usable N95 filters, but cleverly is made of plexiglass that enables people to see facial expressions and read lips. Wired

dis-rup-shun: We hope that masks are not here to stay, but they may be, or may be for those particularly vulnerable or uncomfortable with no distancing. If we are going to wear masks, being able to see people’s mouths and expressions will make interaction with masked people far more comfortable and effective.