CES 2015 live updates: Window-cleaning bot, electric skateboard and drones

The big deal at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is the “Internet of Things”: consumer goods — such as tennis rackets and pet food dispensers — that can connect to the Internet. Nine hundred Internet of Things exhibitors are showcasing their wares in Las Vegas this week, the largest-ever such display. Which products and services will be hits? Tech analysts say the successful ones will not only provide information but also recommend new behavior.

Check out some of the highlights below.


The latest in electric skateboards

ZBoards aren’t street-legal in California yet, but we got to take a ride on one at CES.

The electric weight-sensing skateboard reaches speeds up to 20 mph and is easily controlled by pushing on the front sensor, or reversing with the rear sensor.

Riders can also turn on a dime by leaning forward to go right and back to go left.

The project, started as a class project at USC, can be found and backed on indiegogo. Donors can purchase a board for $800 to $1,200.

--Stacey Leasca

3D printing with a pen

Made by 3doodler 3d printing pen. Took 50 hours to make. #ces2015 #showstoppers A photo posted by @peard33 on Jan 1, 2015 at 8:12pm PST

3Doodler is showcasing its 3D printing pen. It works like a glue gun, but instead of glue, it heats (and immediately cools) plastic.

3Doodler’s lead designer Faraz Warsi says it’s like a manual 3D printer where your brain is the software.

--Tracey Lien

Neil Young reinvents the mp3 player

New mp3 player created by Neil Young called Pono Player has great sound output. But my god why is it a big ugly trapezoid. They say it’s for ergonomics. $399 #ces2015 #showstoppers A photo posted by @peard33 on Jan 1, 2015 at 8:37pm PST

A robot that cleans windows

It’s OK if you don’t do windows, the Winbot will do them for you.

The Winbot by Ecovacs Robotics is perfect for anybody with windows who doesn’t have a lot of time.

Spray a little cleaning solution on the pad underneath the Winbot, set it and leave. The machine will stay in place thanks to snail-like suction.

The machine will automatically perform four-sided cleaning, although Ecovacs does recommend that users do an initial cleaning before deploying the Winbot for the first time.

Price: $300 to $500.

--Stacey Leasca

One more gadget for the kitchen

Anova is at CES showing off its $180 Bluetooth-enabled at-home sous vide cooker, with samples. Tech I can get behind.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 7, 2015

Smartphone case for camera geeks

Case for the camera in your pocket with wide-angle, fisheye, zoom and macro lenses from CA company @iZZiGadgets. $69— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 7, 2015

Fashion comes to CES

The biggest sign (to me) that tech is becoming more fashion-conscious? Reps from Chanel and Neiman Marcus are at CES scoping out the trends.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 7, 2015

Is this your next skateboard?

Loving @zboard, local #LA startup making electric skateboards. #ces2015 great design, meets tech, meets function— Stacey Leasca (@SLeasca) January 7, 2015

Megan Smith on women lost to tech history

Tracey Lien

Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer for the United States, spoke at CES about how the histories of women in technology are being lost because of an unconscious bias. Women are being erased from the media we consume - they’re absent from films about the histories of technology companies, they’re absent from television shows about science and math - and it’s sending the wrong message about women in technology.

--Tracey Lien

Intel shows off depth-sensing drones

Intel CEO playing “drone ping pong.” They have depth-sensing cameras so they automatically avoid collisions #ces2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 7, 2015

Now the drone with the depth-sensing camera flies itself (w/out human control) thru an obstacle course #ces2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 7, 2015

Intel keynote begins

Starting this spring, Intel plans to bring wireless charging stations to Marriott hotels, Hilton, SFO and Emirates Airline #CES2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 7, 2015

HP uses Intel keynote to showcase 3D printer that made chainlink in 30 mins weighing < 1/4-lb. & able to lift up to 10,000 lbs. #CES2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 7, 2015

Intel’s facial recognition login system didn’t work the first time either on a tablet or on a home front door #oof #CES2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 7, 2015

A 3-D world

There’s an entire 3D printing marketplace at CES this year. This Robo 3D device is making a toy castle in 8 hours.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 6, 2015

These candies were made with the $20,000 ChefJet Pro 3D food printer, which can print 100 candies in an hour. Tasted OK, a bit like tart Smarties. #CES2015 #tech #3Dprinting #candy #Vegas #reporterlife A photo posted by Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) on Jan 1, 2015 at 3:35pm PST

Oh, shiny

Who said activity trackers couldn’t sparkle while you sweat? @swarovski as a series that look like jewelry. #CES2015— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

The @swarovski activity trackers are interchangeable and waterproof. (Not all bands are, though.) Coming in March.— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

‘The Interview’ teaches CBS a lesson

AFP/Getty Images

That the online release of “The Interview” worked out well for Sony was the biggest learning moment in the last few months for Christy Tanner, a CBS Interactive Media Group senior vice president and general manager.

Speaking at a panel at CES, she said it was “remarkable” that consumers navigated through all the confusion about how the controversial film would be released.

“It shows consumers are willing to go many different paths to get the content they are interested in,” Tanner said.

--Paresh Dave

Gadgets to help the kids sleep better

A smart bed for kids? Track restlessness, turn off lights remotely and scan for pesky monsters under the bed #ces2015— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

Bedtime routines have gotten a bit techier. Sleep Number unveiled today its SleepIQKids bed. The head is elevated to encourage bedside reading and help clear nighttime stuffy noses. Underneath the bed, there’s a built-in nightlight that illuminates when they are out of bed and shuts off when they lie down. Parents can remotely turn off the lights using the app.

To help get the kids into bed in the first place, there are age-appropriate rewards for routine -- stars for brushing teeth and reading.

As an added bonus, the app sports a monster scanner (and squasher) for the little ones on high alert in the middle of the night.

It will be available later this year starting at about $1,000.

--Michelle Maltais

Razer’s Forge TV for games and shows

Like Google’s Nexus Player, Forge TV hooks up to the television and allows users to download mobile games and other apps such as Netflix and Food Network. But Forge TV also will display computer games on a TV screen when both devices are connected to the same home network. Razer built a laptop keyboard, mouse and mousepad to control the games when played on a couch.

The $99 Forge TV is expected to go on sale sometime in the next couple of months. Razer, which after a recent investment from Intel Capital is reportedly worth $1 billion, has built a booming business selling gaming-related computer accessories. But as the definition of “gamer” expands to include people who toy away at more casual games such as “Angry Birds,” Razer is branching out to new screens and audiences.

--Paresh Dave

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We’re wild about ‘Phablets’

The growth of so-called phablets has hurt sales of tablets, according to mobile industry analysts. But survey results released Tuesday at CES by Frank N. Magid Associates about usage and ownership of phablets suggests the devices are working out great for content creators and app makers. The most popular phablets include the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the Google Nexus 6.

“We’re finding the super-smartphone consumer, or the most premium segment, is moving toward phablets,” said Magid researcher Andrew Hare. “People who want the best experience on their phones are okay moving toward these.”

Phablet owners are more likely to watch video, stream live TV through apps and shop on their smartphones than users of devices with smaller screen sizes.

About 40% of phablet users say they watch video on their smartphone daily compared to 29% for others. There’s similar gaps for shopping and streaming live TV content. Phablet users also said they are slightly more regular users of fitness, travel and productivity apps. The Magid survey found phablets users tend to have higher incomes and mostly fall into the age range of 25 years old to 44 years old.

Hare said he expects that as appmakers improve the shopping experience on phablets, many consumers may start questioning the need for laptops, desktops and tablets.

“Phablets don’t spell doom and gloom by any means for everything else, but this could become an ideal factor and we have to ask is this the extent of what most people need?” Hare said. “Otherwise, what does the next iteration of tablets look like?”

--Paresh Dave

Dancing waters? Try dancing drones

Dancing drones from Parrot captivate the crowd at CES.

--Michelle Maltais

Take a thermal selfie

Us taking a “thermie” (thermal selfie) #CES2015— Stacey Leasca (@SLeasca) January 6, 2015

FLIR 2, or forward looking infrared camera, will be available this spring for $249.

The iPhone compatible attachment allows users to view the world thermally. FLIR representatives say the attachment is perfect for contractors, families, outdoor enthusiasts and more. The FLIR even allows users to take a front facing “thermie” or thermal selfie.

--Stacey Leasca

Looking for fireworks

This CES has felt so tame compared with last year’s. I think we need another @michaelbay meltdown or @JohnLegere party crash. Just sayin’.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 6, 2015

Record a podcast with your iPhone

The Shure MV88 microphone is designed to plug and play with any iOS device to record 24-bit 48 Khz audio.

The mic also comes with a free app that let’s you record and share your work.

Price: $99 to $199.

--Stacey Leasca

Instead of doing this at the doctor’s office ...

Hate peeing in a cup at the doc? Soon you can do your own urinalysis at home, with the Scanaflo and smartphone camera— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 6, 2015

Are you happy?

This watch can read your emotions. It told me I’m optimistic and authoritative today. #CES2015— Stacey Leasca (@SLeasca) January 6, 2015

The Salvador Dali smart watch can not only read your heart rate your emails and your texts, it can also read your emotions.

The watch, which retails at $500, will tell users exactly how they are feeling using voice analytics.

Beyond telling users if they need to put a little pep in their step, it also takes photos, videos and connects to social media.

--Stacey Leasca

Has the ‘Internet of Things’ gone too far?

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The 2015 CES Innovation Award-winning Axxess CE Air2 floating Bluetooth speaker levitates over its base.

It’s cool, but would you buy it?

Tech analysts said the Internet-connected products with staying power will not only provide information but also recommend new behavior. Products also benefit when they can adapt to events that have yet to happen. For instance, a new sprinkler system that connects to the Internet to find out when the next storm is on its way, and adjusts its watering output accordingly.

--Andrea Chang

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Take a shower with your iPhone

Catalyst says its waterproof cases and sleeves can protect iPhones and tablets in water more than 16 feet deep.

With the case on, users can still make calls or even sing along to their favorite songs in the shower.

The iPhone 5 case retails at just under $65.

--Stacey Leasca

A machine will feed your dog

The Petnet(io) smart feeder manages feeding times and portion sizes for your pet and even orders more food for you.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 6, 2015

Exactly how high did you jump?

Phillip Payne demonstrates for media members how My Vert wearable jump rate monitor works by measuring how high he jumps and was among several wearable technology products featured at the 2015 CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. #CES2015 A photo posted by Allen Schaben (@alschaben) on Jan 1, 2015 at 2:28am PST

Woof! A smartphone for dogs

Binatone is looking to change the way you interact with Fido with its new smartphone for dogs.

The company’s Scout 500 collar features live video streaming and GPS tracking in case your dog escapes your yard. And you can tell your pooch to “sit” and “roll over” remotely with the device’s voice system.

Price: just under $200. Available this summer.

--Stacey Leasca

Play ‘Simon Says’ on your shoes

Skechers’ light-up Game Kicks sneakers, available in children’s sizes, come with an electronic Simon Says-like memory game embedded on the side.

The game runs on a small battery designed to last the life of the shoe, or about six months. The shoes will be widely available Jan. 25.

--Stacey Leasca

When helmet hair is a good thing

The iGrow hair growth helmet. You wear it on your head for 25 minutes a day, four times a week. $695. #CES— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 6, 2015

Mercedes’ self-driving car of the future

Here’s the future: @MBUSA shows off the #F015 #concept at #CES2015:— David Undercoffler (@LATimes_driven) January 6, 2015

Better than a Segway?

Robin Lee shows off the InMotion sensor-controlled vehicle at #CES2015 #Digital Experience at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. A video posted by Allen Schaben (@alschaben) on Jan 1, 2015 at 8:08pm PST

Do you know where your dog is?

Binatone offering GPS video communication system for the family dog. (Live model posing for photos) #CES— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

Hong Kong-based Binatone says its pet monitoring systems help you “monitor, train and keep connected with your pet.”

Binatone also has smart baby monitor coming, with analytics on sleep and breathing. Launch possible in Aug. Will retail about $400 #CES2015— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

A ‘tablet on your head’

Nima Shams shows off the unreleased ODG consumer-oriented hands-free, head-worn computer glasses with impressive optics. #CES2015 #digitalexperience A video posted by Allen Schaben (@alschaben) on Jan 1, 2015 at 7:53pm PST

Making coding fun for kids

Wonder Workshop is an app-robot pair to help teach kids ages 5-12 to code. Getting a demo. #CES2015— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 6, 2015

Thin is in

This Sony 4K TV is 3 mm thinner than my smartphone. #ces2015 A photo posted by @peard33 on Jan 1, 2015 at 6:51pm PST

The latest in light-up shoes

Skechers showed off its latest Game Kicks shoes at CES.

Sony Walkman gets an update

Sony’s latest Walkman (the NW-ZX2) is at least twice as heavy as my smartphone. I couldn’t imagine running with it even if the sound quality is amazing. It’s an Android device so it runs all the usual apps. #ces2015 A photo posted by @peard33 on Jan 1, 2015 at 6:11pm PST

Tennis rackets gauge your swing

Red thing on bottom of tennis rackets are Sony sensors that measure where you hit ball and how fast. Can sync to video recording of your play taken by mobile app. $200 for sensor. #ces2015 A photo posted by @peard33 on Jan 1, 2015 at 6:31pm PST

Sony CEO breaks silence at CES

Sony Corp. President and Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai broke his silence on the cyberattack that crippled the company’s film and television studio, calling the hacking “vicious” and “malicious.”

Hirai hailed those who stood up against “the extortionist efforts from the criminals that actually attacked Sony Pictures and its employees.”

--Ryan Faughnder

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Toyota follows Tesla in offering patents on hydrogen fuel cell tech


“At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” Bob Carter, senior vice president at Toyota. “The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration.”

Toyota will make 5,680 patents available to automakers to build and sell their own fuel cell vehicles. Parts suppliers, energy companies and bus manufacturers can also use the patents, which remain royalty-free through 2020.

And 70 patents are directly related to hydrogen fueling stations, a move both Toyota and analysts say could spur the wider adoption of hydrogen electric vehicles.

The announcement echoes a similar move by electric car maker Tesla in 2014, when Chief Executive Elon Musk made Tesla patents available to all, hoping to spur innovation in the electric vehicle world (and, perhaps, to draw publicity.)

--David Undercoffler

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Samsung TV comes with curves

Samsung shows off the S9W 106" Curve SUHDTV during a press conference at the 2015 CES Convention at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times) #CES2015 A video posted by Allen Schaben (@alschaben) on Jan 1, 2015 at 3:59pm PST

The NFL wants to know where you watch

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Now that it’s established that consumers have no problem watching shows, movies, games or anything else on their smartphones and tablets, content owners want to know more about the context of that viewing.

As it turns out, some of the big places for watching National Football League highlights on mobile are hospital waiting rooms and supermarket lines.

“That just wasn’t something we had thought of,” Tyler Slocum, head of mobile product for the NFL, said at a discussion Monday. The insight came from a survey of fans.

Knowing when, where and why a consumer is choosing to view something on a tiny screen could help content providers improve those experiences and their revenue-generating opportunities.

“For us, it’s about how do we bring content to the forefront that matters to folks,” Slocum said.

Discerning where viewers are located and distributing parceled-out content to them is becoming easier because of some of the technology being showecased at CES this week, including mobile beacons that can track when someone enters a certain location.

--Paresh Dave

Beyond 4K TV

Samsung unveils its SUHD TV, which is 2.5X brighter than and has 64X the color expression of conventional TVs.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 5, 2015

What does a $9,000 oven do?

Dacor, a Los Angeles based company, is celebrating its 50th year in business by bringing the latest Android technology to the market.

Its new IQ Range allows chefs to preheat their ovens via a mobile app, look up cooking demos and even add their favorite recipes directly to its digital library.

This new technology doesn’t come cheap. The 36-inch range will set consumers back nearly $9,000.

--Stacey Leasca

How to make money in the music business

Can the music business continue to make money?

Yes, according to Leo Rodgers, a senior vice president at Universal Music Group.

“The music revenue pie is the same size,” he said at one of several “Digital Hollywood” panel discussions Monday. “The slices have just shifted a bit.”

Rodgers said going on tour is the big revenue generator for musicians as the broadening slate of streaming music cuts away at sales of pricey physical albums and digital downloads. He encouraged young acts to jump into a van and hit the road rather than focus on building social media fan bases alone.

But touring isn’t the only way for young artists to get their names out there. At a separate discussion, Sony Music Vice President Brad Spahr said he’s found success distributing singles created by emerging artists through a mobile game Sony Music published called “Pinball Rocks HD.” The game draws in thousands of users who can then be pushed to listen to new music in a “fun and engaging way,” Spahr said.

“We look at gaming as a particular area of interest,” he said. “The repeatability of games creates repeatability of music and hopefully turns players into fans.”

--Paresh Dave

Universal Music’s Leo Rodgers: The $ in music today is via touring. But old acts not young pop stars who are most cashing in #CES2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 5, 2015

Sony Music VP Brad Spahr: Such a rush in reporting to be first, that it’s unbelievable how much information out there is incorrect. #ces2015— Paresh Dave (@peard33) January 5, 2015

Stay tuned for Toyota hydrogen fuel cell news

At the @Toyota press conf at #CES2015. Toyota says it’s about to announce big hydrogen fuel cell news. Story soon.— David Undercoffler (@LATimes_driven) January 5, 2015

Hollywood studios, tech brands team up

Samsung announced that a sweeping coalition of leading Hollywood studios, consumer electronics brands and content distributors are teaming up to support new video entertainment technologies.

Samsung said that the UHD Alliance is “focused on helping consumers benefit from a seamless, integrated and high-quality Ultra HD ecosystem from end-to-end” and that premium Ultra HD content and devices will be clearly identified so consumers can easily recognize them in stores.

Companies including DirecTV, Dolby, LG, Netflix, Panasonic, Sharp, the Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. Entertainment are participating.

--Andrea Chang

Tricked-out pinball

Stern’s new line of Pinball machines is upping the ante on the bells and whistles.

Its new integrated computer system allows for better graphics, higher quality sounds and more flashing lights than ever before.

--Stacey Leasca

Lines, lines, lines

For reporters, so much of CES is about waiting in line. Especially for free food.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 5, 2015

Monitor your temperature in real time

@mmaltaisLA That’s awesome!— Amber Britton (@arb_123) January 5, TempTraq is a wearable Bluetooth thermometer that monitors temp in real time and sends it to mobile device. #CES2015— Michelle Maltais (@mmaltaisLA) January 5, 2015

Dish’s Sling TV bets less is more

Dish Network

Hoping to attract more customers by offering less TV, Dish Network executives announced Monday that they will soon launch a slimmed-down -- OK, emaciated -- online TV service for $20 a month.

Dubbed Sling TV, it marks the first time that a major company will offer a multichannel video service without the benefit of its own distribution system. Cable and phone companies transmit their television services through their own wires, and Dish and DirecTV use their own satellites. Sling TV, however, will piggyback onto the networks owned by Internet service providers and mobile phone operators.

--Jon Healey

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For artists who love the real feel

ISKN, a Kickstarter- funded company from France, debuted its first consumer product.

The Slate allows artists who still love the feeling of drawing with pen and paper to instantly digitize their work and share it to social media.

The Slate will begin shipping to customers in the coming weeks.

--Stacey Leasca

It’s all about fashion

One of the big trends at CES: wearables are becoming as much about fashion as functionality. Thank the Apple Watch.— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 5, 2015

Google Cast: Use your smartphone to stream audio at home


Google unveiled Google Cast for audio on Monday, a new service that streams music to home audio players via smartphones.

The audio service uses the same technology behind Chromecast, a small device that plugs into televisions and lets people access digital programs such as YouTube and Netflix. With Cast, people choose a home speaker with the same embedded technology and use their phone to send music to it.

The launch of Google Cast pits Google against Apple’s AirPlay, which has been able to stream audio and other content wirelessly from Apple’s mobile devices to Apple TV and other AirPlay-enabled devices. It also will compete against the popular Sonos audio systems.

--Tracey Lien

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A food printer for home cooks and professionals

CES 2015 focuses on the improved

This year’s International Consumer Electronics Show focuses less on the new and more on the improved.

The advancements include better integrated and more fashionable wearable devices; cheaper 3-D printers and ultra-high-definition televisions; upgraded phablets (phone-tablet hybrids); new uses for virtual reality; and self-driving cars that will seamlessly connect with your smartphone.

--Andrea Chang and Tracey Lien

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Many will ultimately fail

Andrea Chang / Los Angeles Times

The important question for developers at the Consumer Electronics Show today is not whether they can digitize a product, but whether they should, said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Assn., which organizes CES.

“We have for a long time come to CES to see what’s technologically possible, what’s technologically feasible,” DuBravac told a crowd of reporters at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. “But we’re now shifting, and no longer is the focus on what technologically can be done, it’s what is technologically meaningful.”

With so many competing Internet-connected products vying for attention, many ultimately will fail.

--Andrea Chang

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Here’s a sneak peek at the new Chevy Volt

.@Chevy dropped a sneak peek of its new Volt at #CES2015 ahead of its Detroit debut next week.— David Undercoffler (@LATimes_driven) January 5, 2015

Make tea from your bed

WiFi kettle, anyone? You can program it to start boiling water by using your phone while you’re still in bed. #CES— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) January 5, 2015