CES 2019: Cool stuff at Eureka Park

When I go to CES I focus on the Eureka Park, where new companies tout their wares. I look for things that may not be hits today, but point to what could be hits tomorrow. Here's my list from CES 2019.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor on

Welt smart belt

Wearables weren't as big at this year's CES as they have been in the past, probably due to the high bar the Apple Watch has set for the segment. Ordinary fitness tracking just isn't a big deal today. 

But the smart belt from Welt, a spin-off from Samsung, points to a new direction for health and fitness tracking: waist-based, not wrist-based. The obvious benefit is that the belt measures you from a different perspective, your belly. 

Most of the features of the Welt are the same as a fitness tracker. But the fact that it can measure your waist several times a day could be important - if they can document the health benefits. They do reference a short study that found that Welt users lost about ¾ of inch off their waists in a 12 week trial, but I'd like to see data from sustained usage. 

Be that as it may, the wrist is hardly the optimal or only place to gather fitness and health data. The Welt belt points to a new alternative, which I hope will inspire other innovators to look further.

Ceramic 3D printer

The Kwambio ceramic 3D printer uses a porcelain clay mixture that can be fired and glazed, as well as a glass-based material. Today there are printers that print with plastic, metal, and even sand, but ceramics offer a rigidity and durability that plastic can't, with an ease that metal can only dream of. 

3D printing is still in its infancy, so it's good to see the materials palette extended to a new medium, and brought to a consumer-accessible price point. And the Kwambio team is adding more materials, to their palette, including biological materials, though they say little about that now.

Home (and enterprise) internet security

The internet was deliberately launched without security, so we're dealing with all the criminal and nation-state hacking today. I use a VPN and encrypt my data at rest, but most folks find that too onerous. It has to be easy. 

Two companies were showing home internet security products designed to be set-and-forget simple. One is intended for home and business users to buy and install, and the other is aimed at ISPs who want to offer customers greater security. 

The izzbie ONE uses software-defined network tech to establish secure overlays on your internet/intranet with network virtualization over the IP layer. Or, more simply, it offers end-to-end AES 256 encryption plus many other enhancements to secure and speed your network traffic. It's a small box that can be used singly or in a mesh network to provide services from a home to an enterprise. 

The Bitdefender BOX is aimed at ISPs and billed as an IoT security platform. It bundles traditional security features with an AI enabled traffic monitor to detect and mitigate DDOS attacks, among many other features.

Public safety

The Public Safety Communications Research division of NIST was showing what they're doing to apply AR and VR to first responders, and I was impressed. 

Imagine you're a fireman navigating a burning building. It's smoky, hot, and you're wearing 80 pounds of equipment while trying to clear the building and rescue trapped people. A augmented reality display that updates in real time can show you the building's layout, what rooms have been searched, locate other first responders, while also displaying the progress of the fire. 

I hope the shutdown hasn't delayed this important work.

The Storage Bits take

CES is huge, and I only skimmed Eureka Park. But I saw enough to give me hope that despite today's global political and climate challenges, we just might be smart enough to solve those problems and continue to improve the lives of the billions of people through a reality-based application of science and technology. 

One can only hope. 

Courteous comments welcome, of course.

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