The relationship between car-owners and their vehicles is set to become much more intimate, with several brands showing concepts that analyse the passengers’ vital signs in order to enhance their offer.
Hyundai’s stand featured an experimental, AI-powered ‘Intelligent Personal Cockpit’ that offered what the brand called Wellness Care, a system that detects driver stress using sensors embedded in the seat and steering wheel. The car can respond by changing environmental factors such as lighting and music to calm the driver, or in extreme cases provide access to a video consultation with a doctor.
New automotive brand Byton is launching an even more invasive health-monitoring system in its first model. There are dedicated units that passengers can use to measure parameters such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels, which the car uses to generate health data reports and offer advice.
‘If you set a goal of a certain number of steps a day but you haven’t reached that target, the car might suggest that you park a certain a distance from your dinner reservation to make up that number, also potentially enabling you to get free parking,’ explains Byton’s Dr Petar Strahinja.
For more, look out for our forthcoming Health-conscious Cars microtrend.
Several brands presented voice assistant-enabled appliances that aimed to turn the heart of the home, the kitchen, into a connected hub.
Haier brand GE Appliances showed its kitchen ventilation hood that has a 27-inch large screen, which integrates the control of all other Haier appliances in the home. For instance, users can see who is at the door through Haier’s smart doorbell or tell the dryer to turn on. It also has recipe integration, using recipe providers Drop and Innit, which can display the various steps of the recipes as you cook.
For Samsung and LG, the fridge is the centrepiece of the kitchen and updates to their refrigerator lines included LG’s InstaView ThinQ fridge which connects to the LG oven. Not only will it take over controlling temperatures for recipes but the Alexa-enabled fridge will read recipes out loud. Samsung’s updated Family Hub 3.0 meanwhile uses the company’s own assistant Bixby to connect to third-party devices such as thermostats and lights.
For more, look out for our Connected Kitchens microtrend.
Beauty brands had a strong showing this year, with several launching new devices that are aimed at addressing consumers’ desire for more knowledge around their skin and hair.
Neutrogena announced its Skin360 app and SkinScanner attachment for the iPhone, developed in collaboration with start-up FitSkin. The device uses the phone’s camera combined with sensors and 30x magnification to capture data about a user’s skin. HiMirror also presented the latest iteration of its smart mirror, which assesses a person’s skin quality, and is now equipped with Alexa, so that users can ask for information as they do their make-up or easily order products through Amazon.
L'Oréal offered innovation through the first battery-free wearable in any sector. Designed in conjunction with Yves Béhar, the UV Sense presents a vision of the future of wearables that become a part of your body. ‘The curves of the body is what wearables need to conform to,’ Guive Balooch, global vice-president of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator explained. Miniaturising the sensor and making it battery-free also means that consumers don’t have to think about it. ‘The idea is that it’s not something that has to be taken care of in and of itself, but rather is a part of the body,’ added Béhar.
In the haircare context, Schwarzkopf Professional launched SalonLab, a hand-held device for hair stylists that allows them to measure their clients’ inner hair condition, moisture levels and current hair colour in order to give a more, personalised and accurate salon consultation.
One of the most talked-about booths in the fitness and health hall was Black Box VR, a Boise, Idaho-based company that aims to encourage exercise through gamification. Black Box VR co-founders Ryan DeLuca and Preston Lewis built a customised resistance training machine that is combined with a wireless virtual reality (VR) headset to create an immersive fitness regime. Players enter an arena where they attack incoming fireballs, break through enemy gates and aim to destroy an enemy tower using traditional resistance training movements such as chest presses or squats.
‘Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games where they are effectively levelling up their game characters, but levelling down their actual lives, as they remain glued to the couch,’ says Lewis. With virtual reality, Black Box VR aims to combat the recidivism of most workouts by creating ‘addictive fitness experiences’ and the company has plans to open its first gym in San Francisco in 2018.
Chicago-based start-up Ovie presented its Smarterware, a smart food storage system designed to make consumers more aware of the food in their fridge and when it might go bad. The system consists of a container, a bag clip and a strap, each fitted with a smart tag called Ovie, which tracks the food inside. The smart tags are also sold separately and can be attached to any container to make it smarter. The smart tag works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which will let users know which food is getting close to its expiry date, and offers recipes on how to use the items.
The tag also has a light system that turns from green to yellow to red as the food nears its expiry date. According to co-founder Dave Joseph, the system works first as a visual reminder of what is in your fridge rather than as a way to detect when food has gone bad. ‘Ovie is a reminder about the food – as if the food is telling you to use it. We want to catch you at that mid-stage before the food is too bad to use. If you have the red light and haven’t used the food, we’ve messed up. We haven’t changed your habits enough.’