Column: CES 2015 had a plethora of ‘solutions searching for a problem’

PHOENIX — Q: What kinds of interesting things did you see at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas?

A:  The world’s largest electronics trade show always has lots of interesting things to discover somewhere within the 2 million square feet of exhibits.

As in the recent past, this year’s show was long on evolution and short on revolution, as just about everything was an improvement on something that already existed and, as always, there were a plethora of “solutions searching for a problem.”

Since so many companies ran with what was hot last year, this year’s show seemed like the biggest “me too” display that I can remember.

The main categories that I saw were the Internet of Things, do-it-yourself home automation, the connected car and wearable technology.

As the cost and sophistication of small sensors that can communicate via Bluetooth improves, just about anything you interact with will talk to your smartphone and the Internet.

Smart yoga mats that can tell you whether your “upward-facing dog” yoga pose is correct and basketballs with sensors that can point out better mechanics for making shots were just a few items in the health and fitness areas.

Most of you will see your smartphone become your life’s remote control as you slowly adopt these technologies.

In my mind, if you’re forgetful or lazy, many of the products being offered at this year’s show will be just what you’re looking for.

Window-washing robots, 3D food printers, self-watering flowerpots, pacifiers that automatically monitor a baby’s temperature, a belt that automatically tightens and loosens as you eat and exercise and a host of boards and skates so you don’t have to walk anymore — they’ll make your life so much easier!

If you’re a cord-cutter, Dish TV’s Sling streaming service may be a solid option at $20 a month for 20 channels, including ESPN.

One of the more interesting prototypes was Intel’s jacket for the hearing-impaired, which can sense the surroundings and provide feedback.

Last year, the 4K TV display was all the rage, and this year is no different, but some new advances, including the use of ‘quantum dots,’ should help improve the image and lower the cost.

And in order to justify a 4K TV, you can now get lots of  cameras and smartphones that can shoot 4K video.

You’ll also start seeing a new generation of smart TVs that integrate services such as Roku, Direct TV and Amazon Prime Video right in the display.

If you’ve been thinking about a smart watch and don’t want to look like a tech geek, a lot of companies, such as Withings and Guess, are offering beautiful traditional designs with lots of smart-watch features.

I’ve posted several libraries of images from the show on the Data Doctors Facebook page  with lots of other very interesting gadgets.

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