The International Consumer Electronics Show is known for ushering in the technology that, in just a few months, we’ll be wondering how we lived without. This year’s techie gathering began Jan. 7 in the bright lights of Las Vegas, and is showcasing smart forks, luggage trackers, and self-driving cars. From the conference where the VCR and the camcorder were unveiled, here are the newest, coolest gadgets to expect in 2013.
Lexus’s Self-Driving Car
Who wants to steer a car when there are myriad other productive tasks you could be accomplishing on that 40-minute commute? Lexus’s Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle is designed to drive on its own, with no pesky human interference. Lexus general manager Mark Templin was quick to stress that while “machines can handle simple tasks … sensing what’s around you and understanding it is vastly different.” Unfortunately for consumers, right now the car is just a research project.
Availability and price unknown.
HAPIfork From HAPILABS
This gadget sends a buzz through your fork when it determines you’re shoveling food into your mouth faster than you should, which probably is as unsightly as it is unhealthful. The smart utensil tracks how many bites you take, how fast you’re taking them, and how long your meal is. The point? Eating slowly helps you keep trim because you’ll get full faster and will more fully digest your meal. “Your mind doesn’t have to do the work,” says inventor Jacques Lepine.
$99, available in April.
Panasonic Viera TV
A camera built into this smart TV will identify your face and automatically bring up your favorite features and apps on a custom home screen when you turn it on. Peruse the Home Shopping Network, flick photos from your iPad to the TV, video chat, and edit photos on Panasonic’s latest and greatest plasma entertainment device.
Price and availability unknown.
If you’re predisposed to lose things or get on the wrong side of the Transportation Security Administration, this luggage-finding gadget is for you. Just pack it with your checked baggage and the SIM card will transmit location data so that when your suitcase doesn’t appear at baggage claim, you’ll still be able to find it. Track its location with the app, website, or through text and email updates.
$50, plus $13 service fee.
Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses
Watch out, Google, there are augmented reality glasses on your tail, and one company might even be beating you to the punch. Vuzix unveiled a working model of its smartphone glasses, which run on Android, and allow you to make calls, navigate via a computer interface, and watch videos.
Price unknown. Available this summer.
Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi
Because pretty soon every possession of yours will be controlled by your smartphone, you might as well start with your car. Verizon customers will soon be able to track their vehicle’s diagnostics, locate the vehicle, and shut down the engine if the car’s been stolen—all from your mobile device. You might even be able to lock the doors, start the car, and pop the trunk remotely via this technology. Now, for that flying car we’ve been waiting for since last century ...
Pricing unknown, but should be available within the next few weeks.
Horizon 27 by Lenovo
If you’ve dreamed of transforming your coffee table into a giant tablet, this is for you. This 27-inch “interpersonal computer” allows four people to use it simultaneously. Running Windows 8, it also comes with joysticks, air-hockey paddles, and a large die to turn this tablet into a gaming table.
$1,699, available this summer.
Samsung NX300 Wi-Fi Cameras
Get ready for integration of full camera with Instagram, Facebook, and so on. The cameras in Samsung’s new line are all compatible with an Android and iOS mobile app that allows you to instantly push photos to your phone and computer, which will allow you to transfer to friends’ devices or wirelessly upload onto your favorite Internet photo-sharing outlet. A new camcorder also boasts Internet-connectivity features that let you set up live-stream as a home-monitoring system.
Prices vary. Available early this year.
Want a three-dimensional version of your favorite mountain range protruding from the back of your phone? How about a nice profile of your face? Sculpteo snagged this year’s CES Design and Engineering Best of Innovations award for its 3DP Case creation tool that allows you to design your own complex iPhone case (soon to work with Android, too), which the company will print on 3D printers and ship to you.
$24. Available now.
Flower Power by Parrot
For the amateur gardener or well-meaning plant owner without the dedication or knowledge to tend to his or her house plants, Flower Power is a digitally inclined monitor that will test your plants’ conditions against an ideal environment for that type, and keep you posted via an iPhone app.
Price and release date unknown.