Tag: CES

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#CES2024 – Products for a Better World?

The Consumer Electronics Show took place this week in Las Vegas, and one of the main talking points of this year’s show was Tech for Good and how technology can help solve the world’s problems.

Las Vegas at night - home of CES

We’ve been thinking about how we can incorporate ‘Design for Good’ into the products we develop.

What is ‘Design for Good’ and why should we care?

We all have a responsibility to look after the planet and make as minimal an impact as possible. Design for Good is creating products that solve a problem in a sustainable and UX driven way.

Designing products with Circular Economy (CE) in mind – choosing materials for their longevity and recyclability to keep them in use for as long as possible. Single use plastics are no longer acceptable. At Methven, we were one of the first in the bathroom industry to introduce CE on a stainless steel range of tapware that could be recycled/or re-machined the next time the customer wanted to renovate their bathroom to reduce the number of components being disposed of.

I recently bought a Smeg coffee machine – a fantastic example with minimal waste and plenty of recyclable packaging. The product is extremely well built, has easy to clean and service components, and is designed to be energy efficient. We chose a bean to cup machine rather than pods to cut down on waste. It’s an investment to last years rather than low-cost, “disposable” FastTech which has sadly become more popular in recent years, despite the WEEE directive. One such example is the growing number of disposable vapes, which is having a huge environmental impact as a result of the amount of single use plastics as well as lithium batteries being incorrectly disposed of.

Disposable vapes

To help with product life longevity, user interfaces now tend to be frequently updated, which means we don’t need to upgrade our products so often. Over-the-air updates mean products, like cars for example, can be updated at a reduced cost via Wi-Fi and with an increased rate of adoption as you no longer have to drive it to a garage.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is at the forefront of our minds, ensuring that products are usable by as many people as possible, particularly marginalised groups, but essentially thinking about any person’s ability to use a product, regardless of age, gender, culture or language.

For example, smart glasses, while still in the early adopter phase, are becoming more popular with brands such as Ray-Ban launching fashionable ranges that no longer look like they belong on a set of Star Trek. Plus they’re equipped with technology that can be understood by even the least tech-savvy consumer, and allow users to make and receive calls, livestream on socials, listen to music and capture precious photos. Will they replace our phones in the future?

Ray-Ban smart glasses

Smart glasses can assist users with visual impairments, such as adjusting colours for users with colour blindness or providing text-to-speech capability for reading labels and other printed materials for anyone with low vision. People with mobility issues can see real-time information about accessible routes and facilities, as well as visualise and interact with digital maps and directions. Users who are hard of hearing can see translations and directions.

This tech will move over into sportswear, with distance runners, for example, able to easily see their splits and mile markers without taking their eyes away from the route.

Look out for innovation in healthcare. With mental health a key subject in our societies, keep a close eye on manufacturers using virtual and augmented reality to address social isolation, and look out for discreet ear buds that double as a heart rate monitor, removing bulky medical units worn around the wearer’s neck.


The AI issue is well-discussed on many platforms, particularly the potential risk to creative jobs. But as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I envision a world where AI doesn’t remove product design jobs but rather is used as a tool to help designers learn about users to further improve future designs. Some examples include learning thermostats that have revolutionised the way we consume energy at home, self-driving cars and customer service chat bots.

Google Home Mini

Our homes are (normally) our biggest investment, so companies are responding with a wave of new AI enabled smart tech to help us customise our homes. Top trends are energy efficiency and automation to help homeowners save time and money, whilst also thinking about security and wellbeing. It’s estimated that 19% of US householders now own a smart appliance (fridge, washing machine, dishwasher…) and this number will only continue to rise as AI improves its learning into how we use products to optimise its function.

We’re excited to see what technology emerges from this year’s CES, and we’ll look forward to discovering products designed for a better world.

Key takeaways from CES 2022

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the most influential consumer products shows in the world, showcasing the newest technology used in physical as well digital products.

Held every January in Las Vegas, this year saw a return to an in-person event after being paused for 2021. As product specialists, we are always intrigued to see what new technologies and products are featured at CES each year, so here are our key takeaways from #CES2022:

1. Robotics

Robotics played a massive part in this year’s show. Everything from fully humanised service robots to assist people at the airport or supermarket.

Through to cute robot animals that nibble your fingers for pleasure (whatever floats your boat!)

Ameca Humanoid Robot

Our thoughts:

Robotics technology will start to be used more frequently, particularly in applications that are dangerous for humans, such as firefighting, conflict areas and perhaps even to avoid spread of viruses in future.

2. Invisible technology: colour changing cars

Undoubtedly stealing this year’s show, BMW’s E Ink is essentially an invisible layer of technology that can change the colour of the car from white to black, as well as add patterns.

Invisible technology has been emerging as a concept for the last few years. Automated and customised products are rapidly becoming more popular (we only have to look at home automated products to realise how ingrained they have become in everyday life), and now BMW have taken it one step further with E Ink colour changing technology.

BMW E Ink colour changing car

Our thoughts:

We see this technology moving beyond simply changing a car’s appearance. It could also signal warnings to other road users, such as an accident or hazard ahead, or perhaps even highlight if a car has been stolen. In terms of customisation, your car could develop a personality linked to wearable tech, so that if perhaps stress increases your heart rate, the car could calm you by changing to a soothing colour or giving you an uplifting message, for example.

3. Invisible technology: smart audio

Following on the hidden technology theme at CES is a smart audio device which is like wearing a pair of invisible headphones. Noveto has developed the Soundbeamer 1.0 sound bar that uses facial recognition to target projected sound to the area just in front of your ears. You get a fully immersive sound experience while others around you will only hear a whisper.

Noveto’s “invisible headphones”

Our thoughts:

We think this technology would be fantastic for long haul flights, eliminating the need for throwaway or reusable headphones, as well as in office spaces where Zoom calls are the new normal. 

4. Stylish wearable tech

Smart ring technology has been around for a few years, but at a considerably high price point. The Movano smart ring aims to undercut the price of its main competitors, including market leader Oura. The ring will gather and provide accurate data on customers health metrics including sleep monitoring, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration levels, temperature, blood oxygen readings, step count, and calories burned. What’s more, the ring will make suggestions to improve a user’s quality of life; perhaps suggesting that your heart rate increased after drinking a few glasses of wine.

Movano smart ring

Our thoughts:

While health monitoring has been dominated by smart watches, we believe smart rings may overtake watches in the wearable tech space. The discrete nature of a ring means its more versatile and is easier to match with any attire. A smart watch doesn’t always provide the right “look” when going to a business meeting, for example, and if the watch isn’t being worn no health data is being collected.

What did you think of CES 2022? What products stood out most for you?

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