The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year featured some impressive offerings of new products from giants like Audi (laser beam headlights—as if they’re not blindingly bright enough already) and LG with its stylishly curved TV screen. These product innovations seem to offer more of a “cool factor” than any useful improvements to the products. The real innovation at CES 2014 could be found mostly among the startups and smaller exhibitors who managed to combine cool and useful. Here’s a list of our favorites:

10. iSonea’s AirSonea Wheeze Rate Monitor

This small, hand-held device syncs to your smartphone to help asthmatics better monitor their condition. When placed against the user’s windpipe, the AirSonea uses proprietary Acoustic Respiratory Monitoring technology to assess wheeze rate. The data collected is sent to the user’s smartphone and to the user’s physician, who can quickly direct the user to take the appropriate action. U.S. Market introduction planned for Q3 2014. http://isoneamed.com/

Handscape makes data entry easy.

Handscape makes data entry easy.

9. Handscape

All computer tablet and smartphone users know the challenge of holding their device and quickly entering data, typing messages and playing games. Handscape places a touchpad on the back side of a user’s device that enables them to enter data from any hand holding position and to see their operating hands on current task view without using camera or imaging devices as if it were see-through. Users can expect to see this exciting technology in stores late 2014. http://www.handscape.com/

8. Teddy The Guardian

He looks like a normal plush teddy bear, with big ears and a squishy nose, but he’s much smarter than he looks. He packs technology that enables pediatricians, care givers and parents to remotely monitor a child’s vital signs, including pulse, body temperature, oxygen saturation and stress levels. When a child holds the bear close and interacts with him, readings are sent to a tablet, smart phone or a web application making pediatricians job easier, results more relevant and children less stressed in a hospital setting. http://teddytheguardian.com

A really smart tablet.

Easily transfer notes and drawings to your tablet.

7. ISKN’s iSketchnote

It’s a smart iPad cover that combines digital technology with the convenience of an old-school notebook. Place any sheet of paper or notebook on the inside cover. Then, using one of the special pens included with the iSketchnote, the notes and drawings you make are immediately transferred to an app on your iPad, which can be stored in the cloud or shared with others. http://www.isketchnote.com/

6. AIRTAME

With the AIRTAME HDMI device, about the size of a flash memory stick, you can display the contents of your computer screen on your TV, projector or monitor.  At $89, it’s pricier than Google Chromecast but has valuable features that its competitor lacks. AIRTAME can easily mirror the image on your screen with the computer screen of others wirelessly. It can also mirror your screen to multiple screens at one time, making it a valuable presentation tool for businesspeople and educators. It can also extend your computer desktop, enabling you to simultaneously run a presentation on a monitor and keep your presentation notes on your own computer screen. http://airtame.com/

Who's there?

Answer your door with your phone– anywhere!

5. TIE: Doorbot and Skybell

Both gadgets are high tech doorbells that send an alert to your smart phone or tablet computer when the bell is rung. The integrated camera shows you an image of the visitor and enables you to speak with them wherever you are. Both retail for $199 and are DIY products- easy to install. Important differences exist though. Doorbot can be linked to the Lockitron remotely controllable door lock so that you can let friends and family into the house while you are away. Skybell has an exclusive motion sensor, which is great when you receive a delivery without an accompanying bell ring. It also sports on-demand video access and infrared LED so that you can see visitors in low light. http://www.getdoorbot.com/, http://www.skybell.com/

Track down your keys with FIND by SmartGiz

Keep track of your stuff on your smartphone.

 

4. Find by SenseGiz

If your keys, phone or wallet have ever unknowingly slipped behind the couch cushions sending you into a panic, the Find is for you. Measuring 1 ½” square and ¼” thick, the Find easily attaches to your key ring, luggage zipper or slips into your wallet and can then be tracked by the Find App on your smart device using Bluetooth technology. If your device or even your dog leaves a nearby radius up to 160 ft. (adjustable and set by you), the app sends you an alert, helping to prevent theft and loss of your stuff. The app can track multiple Find devices, is waterproof and retails for $41.95 for a set of two. Avalible in February 2014. http://www.sensegiz.com/find/

3. Cool Energy Island

Manage energy consumption in your home or business while tracking your energy consumption and costs without having to re-wire your property. By plugging in Cool Energy Island adaptors to any and all outlets in your living or work space and connecting them wirelessly to its cloud-based app on your smart device, you can turn on or off power to the outlet, schedule it to switch on or off at any time of any day, and see how much power the outlet is drawing in real time. Great for improving home security, reducing power consumption and seeing if the kids are playing video games in the basement until 2 am. Available now. http://www.coolenergyisland.com/

FINsix adapters are lightweight and small

A smaller and lighter power adapter.

2. FINsix

Road warriors rejoice- the world’s smallest, lightest laptop computer power adaptor has arrived. The new 65W brick is four times smaller and six times lighter than its conventional counterparts. Not only will it power your laptop, it comes with a USB port alongside the laptop plug. Look for it to be available on Kickstarter in March and available for about $90 retail by mid-year 2014. http://www.finsix.com

1. Ilumi

Ilumi LED bulbs are controlled by your smart device

Make light magical with Ilumi.

No proverbial dim bulbs here. The Ilumi is the smartest lightbulb we have seen to date. Both the small and large size bulbs screw into any standard light socket and can operate like your basic white bulb. But when you connect it to the Ilumi app on your smart phone or tablet, you can switch it on remotely and let the fun begin. The app allows the user to change the bulb’s brightness and color from light green to deep purple to warm orange and any color in between. The larger of two available multicolor LED bulbs generates the equivalent of 100 Watts but sips only 15 Watts of electricity. The bulbs are controlled by Bluetooth and the app can control several bulbs independently or in concert with one another. The adventurous user can sync their music to the bulbs to create their own in-home disco. Estimated ship date: March 2014. Price: small size $84, large size $94. http://ilumi.co/