As 2018 kicks off with the technology conventions, the team from the Escondido-based product design firm Left Coast Engineering hit the road. The LCE engineering staff is always checking to see emerging innovations and resources as they continue to create and apply advance technologies for their clients in research and development.
First stop, last month was the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the watchword. The team saw a variety of uses for AI including learning companions for children, safety companions for elderly, and robotics for home use. There were even robotic toys that could be reconfigured and rebuilt into different form factors and controlled by a wearable glove embedded with low range antenna material in the fibers. Zero UI markets this configurable toy to encourage robotic design in children.
Wearable technology was another highlight of the CES Show with the robotics toys highlighting the advantages of motion and direction being detected from these special fabrics. Several companies are using fabrics with this type of communication ability embedded. For instance, Thread in Motion is using them for gloves and adding QR and UPC code readers for inventory tracking that rely on the fabric to send the info onto the network.
Besides all the Smart Home controls that connect to Google Home and Amazon Alexa to control your lights, outlets, door locks and home automation, the automatic cat litter cleaner, Litter Robot was notable. The Litter Robot Open Air senses and cleans the litter box automatically, hopefully all without startling your cat.
Razor, long known for scooters, hoverboards and skateboards, introduced Turbo Jetts, electric-powered heel wheels. Picture a crossover between Heelies and strap-on skates from days gone by, with an 80-watt gear drive motor added that activates with your first step. The Turbo Jetts strap over your shoes and ride at the similar angle as Heelies.
How about the Rocking Bed which claims to help you “Sleep Like a Baby”? The inventor says he slept so well on a cruise ship that he wanted to replicate that feeling by having the bed move gently back and forth, programmable to your preference.
Can’t forget SOLO technology, Saving Our Loved Ones, a device that prevents pets, children or seniors from being left in the car. Created with an idea from 82-year old Carol Staninger of Florida to prevent deaths in hot cars, the SOLO product made its debut at CES this year.
Apps as we know them have come a long way in the time since Left Coast invented the first one in 1999 for its Park-Tours Cruiser application for theme parks navigation and line reservations. How about a makeup app that applies a variety of makeup looks to your face in the “mirror” without you ever moving? Makes the decision quick and easy for what looks to go for the day, ladies!
LCE’s next stop was at AFCEA West Show in the San Diego Convention Center for a look at technologies serving the military. Some are top secret, and some are commonplace but the standout at West was the Valkyrie/Quality Performance anemometer that uses ultrasonic technology to measure windspeed and wind direction. This is useful for naval ships getting their heading and navigation.
LCE’s final stop in February was the Medical Device Manufacturer’s Show in Anaheim. Left Coast has designed several medical devices, including a recent Alzheimer’s cure that is in patient trial. Heading through the MDM Show, the Left Coast team did a double take at the man laying down with the baby at the Syndaver Booth! They were not real but so believable, it was worth asking to be sure. Syndaver’s mission is to simulate lifelike cadavers so that medical students can use the mantra “practice makes perfect” on these models, available in baby to adult sizes.
And the LCE team wouldn’t leave the MDM Show without a good handwashing so they checked out the Meritech auto handwashing station, which features two hand openings. These automatic portals offer water, soap and air dry all in one stop. Definitely a time-saver and the ease promotes good hygiene.
Located in Escondido and serving clients throughout the United States, Left Coast Engineering is a full-service product design company with a focus on leveraging core radio technology by designing small, embedded wireless systems and protocols to solve a particular problem. The company, now in its 18th year, supports technology and innovation needs for a variety of hardware, software, sensor, RF and wireless applications and helps clients obtain and successfully defend patents. The design team holds 18 patents and has worked on new technologies from high-end audio to GPS trackers and portable medical devices to wireless soil monitoring. More information is available at leftcoasteng.com/capabilities/