CES Award Winners: Where Are They Now?
CES is just around the corner and even though the show is virtual this year, we still hear the same passion and innovation from the inventors, engineers and product managers behind the gadgets and things we love so much. As always, Digital Trends will highlight the best of the best for you in our Top Tech of CES Awards, where we spotlight the technology that is most worth your hard-earned money.
But how accurate are our picks really? Do we always nail it? Are the products we highlight really that great? Before CES 2021, let’s take a look back at last year’s winners and some of the pieces of equipment we’ve highlighted over the past decade to see when we picked the wonders … and when we missed the magic.
HIT: Top Tech of 2020 – BrainCo Dexus arm prosthesis
Jeremy Kaplan / Digital Trends
Last year we shook someone’s hand – and gave them an award. Max Newlon is President of BrainCo and the brains behind the company’s Dexus, a brain-controlled prosthesis that absolutely impressed us. BrainCo specializes in brain-machine interfaces (BMI) and has used this know-how to create a prosthesis that is completely controlled by the mind of the wearer. The company’s innovation was at CES 2019 as a prototype; In 2020, BrainCo brought a working prototype to the show and blew us away. What has happened since then?
“It’s been a wild year since the last CES,” Newlon told Digital Trends. The company has outsourced the prosthetics division into a separate team called BrainRobotics, and worked with the manufacturing team for most of 2020 to prepare for mass production and prepare for filing with the FDA. You are on track to file them and may have approval by the end of March 2021, Newlon told us. BrainRobotics also began testing US amputees, particularly Captain Carey Duval, who lost his right hand in Afghanistan.
“Carey played Jenga, held a book in both hands, played Connect 4, played video games, opened a can of his favorite energy drink, and even hung a wreath (since it was the holiday season) – all with the BrainRobotics prosthetic hand,” said Newlon. Amazing.
HIT: Top Tech of 2019 – Impossible Burger 2.0
Our Top Tech Award for 2019 did not go to a robot butler or a colossal television, but to a modest pile of fake meat. Impossible Food’s latest recipe for plant-based ground beef made a stunning impression of reality. We were exactly right with this product: since its CES presentation, the new Impossible Burger has become a sensation that is popping up everywhere in supermarkets and restaurants. Burger King launched an Impossible Whopper and the United Nations presented Impossible Foods with the Momentum for Change Award for Planetary Health.
Plant-based meat products picked up speed during 2020 as COVID-19 changed the country. According to Impossible Foods, when the pandemic began, the product was available in fewer than 150 grocery stores across the country. Impossible Burger was available in nearly 15,000 stores in six months.
Miss: Top Tech of 2018 – Nvidia Xavier Chip
There were a lot of cool gadgets at CES 2018, but we gave Best in Show a slightly higher concept: the Xavier chip from Nvidia, a processor that is supposed to be the brain of fully autonomous vehicles. Xavier, an extremely complex chip with 9 million transistors and eight cores, promised a future for level 5 autonomous vehicles (no human input required). But did it deliver?
This was apparently more concept than reality. While the platform created by Nvidia – and the technical wizardry behind it – remains incredibly intelligent, one company cannot do this on its own. Automakers have said for years that autonomous cars are just around the corner and they stay … just around the corner. Meanwhile, Nvidia has expanded its vision for the use of chips and the Xavier platform, which it now describes as “ideal for autonomous machines such as delivery and logistics robots, factory systems and large industrial UAVs”. But no cars, let’s assume …
Miss: Top Tech of 2017 – Samsung Chromebook Plus
Our conventional choice in 2017 was the Samsung Chromebook Plus. At the time, we called it “one of the toughest Chromebooks we’ve ever used in an area full of systems that are cheap with plastic components and low-resolution panels.” In particular, we found that it was the first Chrome OS product to support the Android App Store, merging the two separate platforms, and opening up new worlds for Chrome OS.
The final product we checked? Meh. Sure, the platform was decent, but the design of the Chromebook itself was “old-fashioned and better suited to early Chromebook generations.” Even so, Chromebooks in general, and the operating system as a whole, have been a runaway success, thanks in part to the advances that have impressed us so much with this model. Chromebooks dominate the education market and generally sell Apple’s Mac laptops. Not bad!
Hit: Winner 2020 – Damon Hypersport
For two years now, we have been finding the most innovative technology in the automotive sector at CES, not in cars but in motorcycles. Two years ago we highlighted Harley Davidson’s efforts to electrify its pigs, which was a big change for the well-known brand. Last year we singled out the lesser-known Damon who brought technology unheard of before to the cycling world. For starters, there was the change in shape of the bike, which literally transforms from a hunched sportbike to an easy-to-ride upright position under you. It also included key safety features that cars have had for decades: LEDs in the windshield light up when a car is in your blind spot, and the handlebars hum urgently when you’re sailing on an obstacle you don’t seem to notice. And did we mention it runs on Blackberry’s QNX operating system – yes, this Blackberry?
Has the consumer world prevailed? Despite the pandemic crisis, the company is seeing an increase in orders for the Hypersport brand with a growth of 60% in the first half of 2020. In mid-November, Damon introduced two new versions of the Hypersport, an SX model with a 15 kWh battery and an SE -Model with an 11 kWh battery. Can you drive one today Not really. As the border with Canada is closed, the company cannot deliver … but is ready to do so asap.
Hits: Winner 2020 – VR: Pimax 8K X.
People were skeptical when Pimax first announced plans for an 8K VR headset in 2017. They were right to hesitate: we didn’t get our hands on the headset until January 2020 when we were excited enough to give this Hardware a Top Tech of CES Award. The Pimax 8K X offers a resolution of 8K and a field of view of 200 degrees. The specifications are well ahead of the Valve Index or Oculus Quest. Increasing the resolution makes a noticeable difference in image sharpness, while fine text and details that are difficult to see on most VR headsets look crystal clear on the Pimax 8K X.
The pandemic delayed things a bit, but Pimax finally started shipping the headset in September. And true to our practical reviews, the reviews shine – despite a tough price tag of $ 1,300. Even so, despite the continued attention it receives, VR remains a niche market. The Pimax is an avid product in an ardent environment, which means its overall reach and impact on the world as a whole are likely to be small.
Young lady: 2020 Winner – Lenovo ThinkPad Fold X1
Sometimes it takes longer than sometimes to bring a product to the world. Lenovo presented something bold at CES 2020: a beautiful 13-inch 4: 3 display that can be carried either as a tablet in hand, as a laptop folded in half or as a screen on the desk on the stand. It’s a tablet, laptop, and desktop in one. With a magnetic keyboard that makes everything work.
We finally tested the device a few weeks ago when it shipped – almost a year later. Did it live up to the hype? Not really. We have described the ThinkPad X1 Fold as “the kind of laptop I want to love” because of its uniqueness and innovation. It remains one of the most exciting PCs to hit the market in 2020. In between, however, there were moments of frustration, confusion, and disappointment. Too many to make this one that can be recommended to everyone except the most adventurous early adopters. Whomp whomp.