My Top 5 Gadgets and Inventions of CES 2017 that will Change how we use Technology

Alex Cox
4 min readJan 9, 2017

Every year at CES we see a ton of new products and technologies.

While there were a lot of crazy gadgets this year there were also a few groundbreaking technologies and products.

Tanvas — feel textures on your touch screen

1. Most Impactful — Tanvas

Tanvas has made haptic technology that let’s you “feel” textures on a touch screen. It’s pretty unbelievable when you first try it out. As you move your fingers across the screen on different demos you can feel the lurches of the zipper pull or the grains of dots or the thickness of the lines as you pull your finger across the display.

It feels believable and you can actually navigate the screen without looking. The applications are infinite. You could navigate your car’s touch display without taking your eyes off the road. The visually impaired could navigate their phones by feeling and could read braille on a normal touch screen equipped with this haptic tech.

Of all the things I saw at CES this is the one piece of technology that could make its way into almost all the technology we use today and change our lives for the better.

Gif courtesy of sevenhugs

2. Most Useful — Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Sevenhugs has solved controlling your smart home with a simple point and click controller. One the biggest problems with smart homes is needing to whip out your phone and find an app to control each different smart device you own. Sevenhugs solves this problem by interfacing with the devices and creating a 3d map of where everything is located so all you need to do point and click to tell each device what to do whether that’s turning off a light or turning on some music the remote does it all with just a point and click.

3. Most Beautiful — Toyota Concept I

There were a ton of beautiful objects at this year’s show cars chief among them. But in my opinion no one outranked Toyota’s Concept-i for industrial design. Toyota’s futuristic concept of a car that is your buddy and helps you navigate and drive rather than completely taking over for you is a refreshing take on the cars of the future. It’s clean white interior and exterior aesthetic with accent lights in all there right places set it above the design competition at this years show.

Vivint smart home connectable devices

4. Most Promising — Vivint Sky

We saw a burgeoning of smart home devices this year from robot lawn mowers to emotive talking assistants but Vivint differentiated itself with its Sky system. It’s device that integrates all the smart devices of the home into one learning system that automates the home based on your interactions inside rather than on your phone with minimal input from you.

The smart home today is far to cumbersome with different devices barely connecting to each other and needing to open your phone every time you want to do something. Vivint allows everything to work together and talk to each other better than any of the other services I saw this week and does it with some smart algorithms to figure out where everyone is in your home and how the home should act for each person.

Panasonic Smart Table Demo

5. Most Desired — Panasonic Smart Table

Personally I’ve always wanted a smart table since seeing the desk in Michal Bay’s movie “The Island.” Panasonic brought an early prototype with some very cool features like warming or cooling food and drinks, controlling other smart home devices, and seeing notifications from your phone on the table when you set your phone down.

The design is also beautiful and execution is pretty good for a demo. They’re using a display imbedded in the table with a fabric over it with a wood texture on it to blend into the desk and let the light from the tv shine through.

The Panasonic Rep said they expected to start selling it sometime in the next 5 years, guess I’ll be waiting a while…

Those the are the top five technologies and gadgets I saw at this years show.

Alex Cox

Product Manager and designer writing about ideas. Living and working in SF. See more of my projects at