The week in gadgets: Coolest gadgets of CES 2015

12 Jan 2015

The Gogoro electric scooter

Another year and another CES chock full of gadget wonders, as companies try to find the most appealing ways of cramming new devices onto our bodies and into our homes and cars. Here are some of the highlights.

Gogoro electric scooter

You know you’re on the track to success when you’re being described as the ‘Tesla of …’, and this year’s crown goes to the Gogoro electric scooter that many are seeing as a major boon to environmentally-friendly transport in the near-future.

While e-bikes exist more commonly as low-powered adaptations of bicycles, the Gogoro can reach speeds just shy of 100km/h but its key feature, like absolutely everything else at CES this year, was that a lot of its functions can be controlled through the user’s phone as part of the internet of things.

This includes being able to customise their drive, even as far as changing the colour of the scooter’s dashboard lights as well as monitor the bike’s energy levels.

The batteries alone have been considerably praised for their approach to re-charging by establishing battery replacement stations across various locations giving them as much of a turnaround, or less in-fact, than their petrol-powered cousins.

The Gogoro team have even set their app up to award the drivers with achievements, just like video games, when they perform a new feat such as achieving their longest drive, for example.

No launch date or price has been established yet but the CEO in an interview with Business Insider said their target market is for people between the ages of 18 and 28.

Oculus Rift introduces 3D audio

It seems for the last number of years that the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset makes its annual appearance to reveal a new piece of technology, but refuses to give a date on when we can expect to be able to actually purchase one.

This year, it’s the turn for the developer’s audio technology to get a significant boost as it showcased its latest 3D audio addition that will respond to which direction a person turns their head.

The new technology came following Oculus’ licensing of RealSpaceAudio 3D technology developed by a company called VisiSonics allowing for 3D audio.

First impressions from those attending the event were impressed with being able to hear, for example, a plane flying past you creating the Doppler effect for that extra immersion.

Again, there remains no date on when it’s expected to launch…

Quitbit – the lighter for smokers looking to quit

The internet of things has also found a new market – smoking. One of the products being showcased at CES 2015 in Las Vegas was Quitbit, a smart cigarette lighter that syncs with a person’s phone with the aim of tracking your smoking habit in the hope that it will lead to you cutting down your daily number of smokes.

Lighting cigarettes using a heating coil, the rest of the case acts a s a digital screen showing the time and, more importantly, the last time you had a smoke.

On the user’s phone, they are able to track over a period of time their smoking habit as well as setting targets for eventually never needing the QuitBit again.

While their marketing people might question the longevity of an item designed for its users to stop using it eventually, it has certainly caught the attention of people online.

Connected Cycle – smart peddle

The humble bicycle is just one of the many traditional forms of transport that companies are trying to cram as much technology as possible into from a vibrating saddle that warns of danger, to a helmet that lights up when a car approaches, but one at CES 2015 was the Connected Cycle peddle.

Very much part of the internet of things, the bright-red peddle is packed full of tech from GPS and GPRS sensors that measure everything you could possibly want to know about cycling including your speed, distance, mapping, calories burned and number of times a car cut in front of you without looking.

Ok, maybe not the last one.

The bonus of having a GPS-enabled pedal is that it gives the owner of their fancy piece of equipment the extra protection of being able to locate their bike remotely should someone decide they wanted to steal it. Smart criminals meanwhile would need to cut the entire pedal off if they wished to take it for a joyride as its owner will be the only person to have a key to it.

The Bionic Bird

The sound of silence during a summer’s day is expected to disappear in the coming years, only to be replaced by the buzzing of commercial drones, but who said they can’t look good?

The Bionic Bird is moving away from the classic quadrocopter look that most drones have taken as their design in favour of going for the natural look of a bird.

Controlled through a phone’s app, the bird is much more silent than its noisy counterparts, albeit much less powerful.

Charged by a small magnetic egg, the Bionic Bird’s designer, Edwin Van Ruymbeke, claims that it actually attracts wildlife to it, rather than drive it away.

Capable of performing acrobatic stunts as high as 91m, the bird can travel at a speed of 20km/h.

With shipments beginning in next month, the Bionic Bird will cost €99 from the online store which some would consider quite ‘cheep’.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic