[CEATEC 2016] Every year companies try to come up with new and exciting products that they hope will change the world. However competition is fierce which means that what one company thought was a great idea, might trumped by a company with an even greater idea. Over the past few years, Innovation Awards have been given out at CEATEC for products/advancements in technology that have been deemed, well, innovative, and 2016 is no exception.
Health & Household & Grand Prize Winner: Fujitsu
Fujitsu is the winner in the Health & Household category as well as the Grand Prize with the Retissa smart glasses. The glasses aren’t actually new and we have seen the company parade around the technology in the past. In case you’re learning about this for the first time, the goal of the Retissa is aimed at users with poor vision. Through the use of lasers, the glasses will be able to project an image directly into your retina, providing a more hi-tech alternative to traditional eyewear.
Under the transportation category, the winner is Panasonic with their touch panel with rotary controls. A lot of car infotainment systems can be a bit hard to use, what with touchscreens not being sensitive enough, or as you can imagine, hard to navigate while you’re driving. Panasonic showed off how they managed to blend a capacitive touchscreen with physical rotary controls so that when you drive, you can twist the knobs as a means of navigating the screen.
Smart Community: 4R Energy
4R Energy’s Freedom takes the win for the Smart Community category. While solar panels and home batteries can help reduce our carbon footprint, for the most part the energy generated is mostly for ourselves. The Freedom project takes that idea, except that it expands it to the entire community, thus turning a community into Virtual Power Plant where energy is generated and shared.
Digital Imaging: VRC
For the Digital Imaging category, VRC’s Shun’X 3D body scanner takes the prize. While there are various 3D body scanners out there in today’s market, the Shun’X sets itself apart from the competition by offering up faster scanner. The company boasts that it will take about 4 seconds to complete a scan, and the complete image can be processed and generated in under 3 minutes.
Mobile Technology: DJI
DJI might be known as a maker of drones, but this year at CEATEC the company has won the Innovation Award under the Mobile Technology category with its Osmo Mobile gimbal. This is a gimbal designed for smartphones where it will help videographers create stabilized video footage on their phones. Its accompanying app can also track faces as well as a person’s entire body.
Home Entertainment: Aromajoin
Aromajoin takes home the win in this category. The company’s product, the Aroma Shooter, was originally created as a means of delivering smells to users at home watching TV, giving them an added dimension of immersiveness. This year the company returned with a smaller version called the Aroma Shooter Mini which can be worn around the neck, and a messenger app that lets you send other Aromajoin customers smells through emojis/stickers.
It looks like Panasonic has nabbed themselves another win, and this time it is in the Component category. At CEATEC this year, the company showed off a flexible and bendable li-ion battery. Given that li-ion batteries are known to explode when damaged, a flexible version that can be bent without damage is no doubt a great advancement, especially in the field of wearables where flexibility is key.
NEC will be walking away as the winner for the Software category with its Security Guard Support Solution. Body cameras isn’t exactly new, but what NEC has proposed is a system that can stream live video back to HQ, and where the video can also automatically adjust itself based on its surroundings, like if it is dark. There is also facial recognition and when a subject has been identified, security guards can be notified on their smartwatches.
Industrial Design: Honda
For the Industrial Design category, the award goes to Honda for their Variable Design Platform. This concept has been around for a while, but in case you’re hearing about this for the first time, basically it involves creating customized transportation systems for different needs. It features a core, but the exterior is what makes it customizable where a shell can be created for the elderly, for parents with two kids, for home delivery purposes, for public sector use, and so on.