In what can only be called the most heated Last Gadget Standing nomination process ever, we’ve considered the popular online vote, our expert judge’s votes, and our time-tested sense of the key trends at CES 2012. Here are the top ten finalists who will present at the live LGS event on Thursday Jan 12, 2012.
Lytro With unanimous enthusiasm the judges felt that this simple box-like camera – that takes the photo first and then let’s you bring the photo into focus – is revolutionary. The secret sauce is a way of capturing total information about the photo so that you can, for example, click anywhere on it and change the focal point.
Playstation Vita Judges felt that the Vita’s sleek design puts it at the current pinnacle of portable gaming systems. The system’s graphics are so fast that they make the iPad look tortoise like. The AMOLED touchpad screen is crystal clear. As if one touchscreen weren’t enough, the Vita has a rear touchpad as well. Add to that six access motion controls, 2 joysticks, and 2 cameras and the number and typesof different games you can play seems virtually limitless.
Autom Robot Dr. Cory Kidd thinks that most diets die a quick death because we quit the programs. But what if the program was Autom, the weight loss robot, engaging you in a dialog about your goals? Not every judge was convinced that a robot would win the diet wars, but we want to see what you think.
Cotton Candy The judges called it Android on a stick. It’s got everything that your Android tablet has at it’s core, but the outer-trappings (like a screen) are gone. That’s why you can grab our stick, take it with you and plug it into any screen via USB or HDMI. Why Cotton Candy you ask? Because it weighs 21 grams — as light as cotton candy.
WIMM One Dev Preview The judges fretted a bit over this choice since it’s still just a developer’s preview, but it represents the Dick Tracy reality we’re about to live in. The WIMM looks like a wristwatch but with the WIMM kit it can be transformed into a Twitter watch, stocks, weather, a phone … whatever your mobile heart desires.
Origami The designers behind this new high tech baby stroller have probably been around the block a few times (pun intended). That’s why this one folds with a single touch (though never when it senses baby is sitting) has a electronic dashboard replete with a pedometer, iPod holder, and recharges itself while it’s in motion.
Swivl These guys brought out the voters in droves. A clever idea, Swivl is a simple iPhone dock that can swivel to track your movements as you talk and walk about. The secret sauce is a green dot that you wear so that the base can always find you.
Basis This is the year of body monitoring and Basis does it like no other. The newest of the breed, Basis not only measures your exercise, but measures everything from body temperature to sweat. Put it on and forget about it, Basis knows when you are sleeping and when you are awake.
And finally, we’re saving two special products that won’t be released until the start of CES in Las Vegas. They each represent the state of the art for the year to come in two of the most hotly contested mobile markets.
Honorable Mentions There was an overabundance of innovation in this year’s contest and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the ones that were so close it hurt.
Looxcie, first debuted at Last Gadget Standing 2011, has become a huge success. The newest version is much improved, with real time video transmission from a small over-the-ear headset. Had they launched this year it would have been a shoe in.
The Telcare Glucose Monitor is the first blood sugar monitor to be able to transmit data via the cellular network. The implications for tracking diabetes patients and helping them comply at the first indication of trouble will help get this ugly killer under control. We’re still waiting to judge the importance of the cellular network to monitor diseases like this but we’re impressed beyond belief.
The Nook Tablet is more than a simple book reader. It’s a carefully crafted, secure system with close ties to its stores and its loyal legions. Some of the best features include the kid’s books area and an intense study nook for older students. Beautifully executed, the Nook deserves a special shout out.