CES 2019: A HIGH-TECH SPIN FOR THE OLD-SCHOOL PEEPHOLE

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The CES 2019 gad­get show is revving up in Las Ve­gas. DING-DONG, THE PEEPHOLE IS RING­ING

Ring is giv­ing the old-school peephole a high­tech spin.

The com­pany un­veiled a new in­ter­net­con­nected video door­bell that fits into most peep­holes. The new de­vice is aimed at apart­ment dwellers or col­lege stu­dents who want a video door­bell, but may not be al­lowed to in­stall one next to their doors.

Ama­zon bought Ring last year, giv­ing it a shot at com­pet­ing bet­ter with Google’s Nest, which also makes cam­eras and door­bells. Pri­vacy ex­perts have long sounded the alarm on Wi-Fi con­nected cam­eras and how video is stored.

Ama­zon re­cently filed a patent ap­pli­ca­tion for a fa­cial-recog­ni­tion sys­tem in­volv­ing home se­cu­rity cam­eras, which would al­low mul­ti­ple cam­eras to cre­ate com­pos­ites of faces to iden­tify peo­ple who may be try­ing to bur­glar­ize a house. It doesn’t ap­pear Ring uses fa­cial recog­ni­tion yet, as Nest al­ready does, though Ring may add such fea­tures over time. Ama­zon did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Ring’s Door View Cam will go on sale in March for $199. Ring’s new de­vice will still act as a peephole, but will also send alerts to user’s smart­phones when the door­bell is pressed or some­one knocks the door.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER?

The mak­ers of a ro­botic “personal mas­sager” for women won a pres­ti­gious CES award. Then or­ga­niz­ers took it away.

Its maker, the startup Lora DiCarlo, was also banned from ex­hibit­ing on the show floor (though it’s in Las Ve­gas at a separate me­dia event).

The show’s or­ga­nizer, the Con­sumer Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion, said in an email to Lora DiCarlo that it re­served the right to dis­qual­ify any en­try “deemed by CTA in their sole dis­cre­tion to be im­moral, ob­scene, in­de­cent, pro­fane or not in keep­ing with CTA’s im­age.”

An in­de­pen­dent panel of judges had se­lected Lora DiCarlo’s Ose vi­bra­tor last fall to win a CES 2019 In­no­va­tion Honoree Award in the ro­bot­ics and drone cat­e­gory. Gary Shapiro, CTA’s pres­i­dent and CEO, apol­o­gized in a separate let­ter and said the com­pany should have been told it’s “in­el­i­gi­ble for en­try.”

CTA de­clined to pro­vide fur­ther com­ment to The As­so­ci­ated Press on why the prod­uct was in­el­i­gi­ble.

Ose’s mak­ers say it’s sex­ism, not­ing that “a lit­eral sex doll for men launched on the floor at CES in 2018.” Lora Had­dock, the CEO of Lora DiCarlo, says that makes for a dou­ble stan­dard at the tech show al­ready un­der fire for not in­clud­ing enough women.

SHADES THAT TEXT

Smart glasses haven’t been a hit, but at least one startup still sees them in our fu­ture.

A com­pany called North will be de­liv­er­ing its $999 smart glasses to cus­tomers in the com­ing weeks. Called Fo­cals by North, they pair with a smart­phone and show text mes­sages, weather and map­ping di­rec­tions on the glass that only the wearer sees.

Users also need to wear a ring with a joy­stick on their in­dex fin­ger, so they can flip through mes­sages or re­spond with their thumb. It can also be con­trolled us­ing the built-in Ama­zon Alexa voice as­sis­tant, but the joy­stick has to be pressed down for it to start lis­ten­ing.

Get­ting peo­ple to buy smart glasses has been a chal­lenge — Google fa­mously stopped sell­ing its smart glasses to the pub­lic about four years ago.

Aaron Grant, North’s co-founder, says his prod­uct is dif­fer­ent be­cause they are de­signed to look like reg­u­lar frames. And prescription lenses can be added.

But there’s a small pro­jec­tor on one side, and the frames on the side are slightly thicker.

FRESH BREAD, NO BAKER

That smell waft­ing through the CES show? Freshly baked bread.

Wilkin­son Bak­ing Co. un­veiled a 22-square­foot ma­chine that can bake 10 loaves of bread ev­ery hour — no baker needed. But a hu­man is needed to dump the in­gre­di­ents into the ma­chine, which then mixes them, forms the dough and starts bak­ing. Some­one also needs to slice the bread, al­though the com­pany says it’s work­ing on a way for the ma­chines to do that, too.

The Bread­Bot, as it’s called, is be­ing pitched to su­per­mar­kets as a way to de­liver fresh bread to shop­pers who are in­creas­ingly wor­ried about the in­gre­di­ents in their foods. The ma­chine is cov­ered in glass, so cus­tomers can watch bread get made. They then se­lect the loaf they want on a touch screen, sort of like a vend­ing ma­chine.

Three lo­cal su­per­mar­kets are al­ready test­ing it. The com­pany says a cou­ple of big chains have agreed to try it out soon, but it won’t say which.

SMART BRA

Is your bra dumb? An un­der­wear com­pany is pitch­ing a so­lu­tion to an age-old prob­lem for women: find­ing a bra that ac­tu­ally fits.

In the past, women could get help from an ex­pert hu­man in find­ing their right size. A sim­ple mea­sur­ing tape wouldn’t do, as it doesn’t re­flect other fac­tors such as the shape of a woman’s breasts. But these old-school “bra fit­ters” are hard to find these days.

To ad­dress that, a com­pany called Soma has added some cir­cuits to a brassiere and con­nected it to an app.

The Soma In­nofit has four lines of cir­cuitry hooked up to a cir­cuit board in the back, which then con­nects to an app via Blue­tooth. The smart $59 bra then rec­om­mends a bra — from Soma’s line, of course.

The smart bra isn’t meant for reg­u­lar wear­ing, though it could be used again if sizes change be­cause of preg­nancy or other fac­tors. The com­pany says peo­ple who don’t want to buy one can use it at a Soma store.

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