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Implications of tech at CES ‘17 for the future

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"Technology" and the "future." These two words generally conjure up feelings of optimism, warm feelings and excitement. This year, for the first time I can recall, these words may not mean universally good news. After having attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, the news regarding the future and technology as well as future technology is mixed at best.

The good news is, life is about to get much simpler. The progress made from using landlines to using mobile phones may be matched or even eclipsed with the rise of the "internet of things." Everything we do, every product we use and anything else we can imagine will soon be online. This means we will soon be able to brew a cup of coffee from thousands of miles away while simultaneously cutting off power or gas to the same house in which the coffee is brewed. Many firms presented their takes on IoT, as the "internet of things" is often abbreviated. While the verdict is out as to who will be most successful in getting everything online, what is certain is that this will happen.

Connecting everyone and everything is good news for practically all. A startup I visited at CES called Aira offers users "live agents" that see through the eyes of the visually impaired through smart devices that stream what the user is "seeing." The agent then relays important information about the surroundings to the user through a voice connection. This could be anything from reading street signs to directing a user in an airport to their gate. Seeing guide dogs do a great job in helping the visually impaired negotiate physical terrain and Aira appears to pick up where they've left off. This technology will also lead to greater productivity and increased employment. So an overall win-win-win scenario.

Another startup called Tanvas has added "texture" to screens by stimulating the user's fingers with electrical signals. These signals give the sensation of "touch" to a user navigating an otherwise flat tablet screen. The applications for such technology are endless are include redefining braille so anyone who may not necessarily be able to "see" the screen may be able to "read" it through touch.

CES also showcased many monitoring services that do everything from monitoring blood-sugar levels in real-time, warning diabetes patients, to monitoring baby diapers to........

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