I’ve been going to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every year for some time, and I get the same question from family and friends when I get home: What is the coolest stuff you saw? It’s impossible to name just one item. Here are a handful that had people buzzing at the 2017 CES show, which took place in January.
A Bike, To-Go
The URB-E Sport GT was one of the slickest gadgets at CES. You can take the 30-pound motorized bike up to 14 miles per hour on a single charge of lithium-ion battery, which gives you about 16 miles per charge. When folded up, it measures 39.5 by 15.5 inches, and expanded, it is only 36 by 26.5 inches; the seat is 29 inches off the ground. The bike features a race car-inspired pushrod suspension system. A built-in kickstand helps park it nicely, and leather carrying straps are incorporated into the overall design. You also get Eddy, a powerful removable battery that can charge five devices simultaneously via four USB ports or a single USB. Pre-orders are being taken for $1,099, with a late March delivery; www.urb-e.com/sportg/.
Now Hear This
Custom Utopia by Tournaire over-the-ear headphones are marketed by Focal as the most prestigious and expensive headphones in the world. Costing more than $100,000, it’s a good thing they produce great sound. The headphones are crafted with 18-karat yellow gold mounted with a total of 6 carats of diamonds. Every bit is 100 percent hand-crafted in the Tournaire jewelers’ workshops. Exclusive Focal technology provides the high-fidelity headphones’ amazing sound. The speakers are housed in genuine lambskin leather ear cushions. Only eight are scheduled to be produced, and it will take about four months to receive yours, because each one is assembled by hand. $120,000; 1-844-FOCALNA or www.focal.com/en/utopia-tournaire.
Tune Back Time
Capitalizing on the new-millennium vinyl resurgence, Crosley has gone retro with the release of the Rocket Vinyl full-size jukebox. This is the only jukebox manufactured within the past 25 years, according to Crosley. It will hold 70 seven-inch records for a total of 140 selections with the A/B sides. It has all the beauty of the jukeboxes of yesteryear but with modern updates, such as a remote control. The sound comes from a D4 digital amplifier using two independent stereo channel outputs. If records aren’t your thing but you want the cool look of the jukebox, just pair your Bluetooth smartphone with the Rocket Vinyl or use the auxiliary input to broadcast your personal playlist. The first shipment of 16 jukeboxes will be available for order in April. $11,995.95; www.CrosleyRadio.com.
SolPad takes personal power to a new level, allowing you to not only charge any portable electronic gadget, but to make a frozen margarita beachside. The world’s first fully integrated solar energy solution is designed to use anywhere: home, apartment, dorm room or outdoor recreational area. The back of the panel has two standard AC power ports along with three USB ports, which all can be used at once. When the panel is in direct sunlight and charging up, you’ll get unlimited charging. The SolControl app lets you choose when a device (light, TV, appliance, etc.) runs off of the stored solar power. Even more fun is when the SolPad talks to you with alerts for how much power you’re using and reminders to turn connected devices off. It is expected to cost $1,395 when pre-orders are taken, with delivery in the second half of the year; solpad.com.
If refrigerators can be called things of beauty, the new LG Signature 31-cubic-foot InstaView Door-in-Door Refrigerator is a supermodel.. This fridge has voice control, remote viewing and built-in Wi-Fi-enabled features for a streamlined and powerful food management system. The front right door has a 29-inch touch LCD setup, which turns transparent with two knocks of the screen. The Smart Tag menu allows users to add stickers and tags on the screen to indicate expiration dates on items; the refrigerator then will issue reminders when foods need replacing. Inside is a panoramic super-wide-lens camera so you can view remotely (via smartphone) what you have or don’t have while shopping. Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service is integrated as a personal assistant for Prime-eligible ordering from amazon.com, searching recipes, setting timers for cooking, playing music and more. $8,499; www.LG.com.
Klipsch is a premier speaker company founded by Paul W. Klipsch, an audio pioneer and genius who has been recognized in the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame. Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the legendary company has announced it will make one of the best models even better in 2017 with the Forte III Floorstanding Speaker. It’s built with multidimensional, crystal-clear sound. Inside, the Forte has a highly efficient horn-loaded tweeter and updated, larger mid-range driver and new titanium diaphragms. The old-school-style speaker has a slim design to house a powerful 12-inch woofer and a 15-inch passive radiator inside a narrow hardwood finish frame. It is also handmade in the U.S. It is expected out in the third quarter. $1,800; www.klipsch.com.
Walk This Way
A company called Digitsole introduced the first-ever complete collection of connected, “smart shoe” footwear and showcased 10 new models. This includes a full functional auto-lacing smart shoe, which sends data via Bluetooth to a smartphone app. From the outside, the shoes are as fashionable as any, but it’s what’s inside that makes them a gem. Just a tap of the app heats the insoles to 113 degrees, tracks steps and distance, counts calories burned and automatically tightens the fit. Some models will analyze walking and posture while others will control the height of the telescopic heel. Models include women’s high heels, men’s dress shoes, athletic shoes and kids’ shoes. Each shoe has a rechargeable battery, good for about 500 charges. They are expected out in September with prices of $149 to $349; www.digitsole.com.
Gregg Ellman is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed gadget geek.