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Our 10 favorite CES 2021 Best of Innovation Honorees

A virus risk indicator, hydropower shower speaker, robot companion, and water bottle that glows when it’s time to drink are among the products that caught our attention.


Image: CES

The annual CES Innovation Awards competition not only named winners in the Best of Innovation category, but also those receiving honoree status for products that score above the threshold set in design and engineering in consumer technology products. The CES 2021 Innovation Awards received more than 1200 submissions in 28 product categories. Here are 10 of our favorites among the honorees.

SEE: Gartner’s top tech predictions for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


AerHome by AerNos

Everyone is concerned about air quality these days and AerHome uses nano-gas sensors, environmental sensors, and AI software to deliver a complete picture of air quality in every room of your house.

AerHome detects toxic gases as well as microdust (particulate matter). Every person in a household can access a home’s air quality using apps and take specific actions preventing exposures resulting in minor to severe health concerns.

As a connected IoT product, AerHome can communicate with other smart home devices, including smart speakers, to automatically instruct other devices to cleanse the air, open up ventilation systems, and alert loved ones or emergency personnel.

Health and wellness

Airthings Wave Plus for Business with Virus Risk Indicator by Airthings

Airthings’ Virus Risk Indicator offers digital capability for its Wave Plus for Business smart indoor air quality monitor. The Virus Risk Indicator combines data from Wave Plus for Business’s sensors that monitor CO2, humidity, temperature, and airborne pollutants into a proprietary algorithm, calculating the risk level of virus transmission in a building.

The Virus Risk Indicator evaluates four factors that correlate with airborne virus spread: Virus survival rate, body’s natural defense, room occupancy, and ventilation rate. The Airthings Virus Risk Indicator promotes indoor environments so people can thrive, and viruses can’t.

SEE: CES 2021: The big trends for business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

HidrateSpark STEEL by Hidrate

Who ever thought drinking water could be so much fun? The HidrateSpark STEEL is a stainless-steel, vacuum-insulated smart water bottle that keeps water cold up to 24 hours. It has a smart LED sensor puck in the base of the bottle that glows to remind you when it’s time to drink and automatically tracks your water intake by syncing via Bluetooth low energy to the free HidrateSpark App.

The bottle creates a customized hydration goal using personal parameters, location, and activity level and syncs with Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other fitness trackers.

Computer peripherals and accessories

ROG Falchion by ASUS

The ROG Falchion is a 65% form-factor wireless mechanical keyboard designed to take gaming to the next level. It has an interactive touch panel, two-way cover case, and it’s the first ROG keyboard with wireless Aura Sync RGB lighting.

The keys feature durable ROG polybutylene terephthalate doubleshot keycaps and German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical switches for precise, tactile keystrokes.

The ROG Falchion utilizes a gaming-grade 2.4 GHz RF connection for a 1 ms report rate and offers up to 450 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Home audio/video components and accessories

Shower Power: Hydropower shower speaker by Ampere 

For those who love to sing in the shower, Shower Power is a hydro-powered, Bluetooth shower speaker. Made from recycled ocean plastic and leveraging a hydroelectric generator, it generates 100% of its power from water.

An internal battery of 2,500 mAh stores more than 20 hours of power so you can continue to listen to music even when the shower stops.

Mobile devices and accessories

BOOST↑CHARGE TrueFreedom PRO Wireless Charger by Belkin

The BOOST↑CHARGE TrueFreedom PRO is a Qi-certified (meaning it has passed rigorous independent lab tests for safety, interoperability, and energy efficiency), multi-coil wireless charging charger that powers multiple devices simultaneously. The TrueFreedom PRO allows users to simply place two Qi-enabled devices liberally on the charging pad to receive up to 10W of fast wireless charging for each device at the same time.

While most wireless chargers require the phone to be perfectly aligned with the internal charging coil, this multi-coil pad will power multiple devices placed on the pad’s greater surface area, making charging easier than ever.


Analogue Pocket by Analogue

If you need to game on the go, Analogue Pocket is a multi-video game system portable handheld. It is a digital audio workstation with a built-in synthesizer and sequencer. Out of the box, Pocket is compatible with the 2,780+ Game Boy, Game Boy Color & Game Boy Advance game cartridge library. Pocket works with cartridge adapters for other handheld systems, such as Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Atari Lynx, and more. 

It is designed for video game preservation with a field programmable gate array and no emulation.


Moxie by Embodied

Parents who are concerned about their children’s development in isolation may find a solution in Moxie, an animated robot companion. Moxie is designed to help children build social, emotional, and cognitive skills through everyday play-based learning and engaging content developed in association with child development and education experts.

Now, more than ever, the importance of technological advancement in at-home learning is paramount. Embodied assembled a team of experts in child development, engineering, technology, game design, and entertainment to develop a robot with machine learning technology that allows it to perceive, process, and respond to natural conversation, eye contact, facial expressions, and other behavior, as well as recognize and recall people, places, and things.

In-vehicle entertainment and safety


VIPER is an intelligent, high-resolution LWIR thermal camera designed to enhance vehicle safety and perception systems to enable vehicle autonomy. The automotive-grade shutterless thermal camera is small and sees and detects what other sensors cannot, day or night, uncompromised by complete darkness, blinding lights, or harsh weather.

By turning night into day, VIPER’s goal is to save millions of lives inside and outside a vehicle.

Sustainability, eco-design, and smart energy

Low Light Indoor Energy Harvesting Solar Cells by Ambient Photonics

Ambient’s Low Light Energy Harvesting Solar Cells provide more than three times the energy of conventional indoor cells, enabling IoT and connected device manufacturers to bring products to market with “forever battery life.”

Now, sophisticated devices can be brought to market entirely powered by the ambient indoor light available indoors. This eliminates the expense, inconvenience, and environmental waste of disposable batteries.

Also see

This post was written by and was first posted to TechRepublic

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