10 gadgets that will change your life in 2016

Image courtesy eHang

Seen at CES | Upgrade

Sure, the hysteria surrounding CES can quickly become absurd – The New York Times’ tech columnist Farhad Manjoo described the event as “a noisy parade of puffed-up announcements that usually amount to nothing.” But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything to get excited about. Check out 10 of our favorite tech debuts from the convention floor.

cota battery tower

Compare the original iPhone with the iPhone 6s and it’s hard to imagine that both models are separated by only eight years. Compare the battery life of those phones however, and not much has improved. That could change very soon. Cota, a device ten years in development from Washington’s Ossia, is a small tower that can wirelessly charge all of your devices from up to 30 feet away. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing a consumer model of the device for another few years.

Speck Pocket VR
Speck pocket VR

We’re excited for VR, but we’re not really $1,499 excited. Unfortunately the entry-level Google Cardboard rig often feels flimsy at best. The Speck Pocket VR seeks to remedy that, offering a sleek combination of the company’s CandyShell cases and foldable VR viewer. The case will retail for $70 in the spring.

Ricoh Theta S
Rich Theta

All that VR gear means there’s going to be a serious need for content. One problem – shooting 360° video requires seriously expensive, often unwieldy equipment. Enter the Ricoh Theta S, which records up to 25 minutes of 360° HD footage (as well as still images) from a 5-inch device that costs less than $350.

LG Display
LG OLED screen

It’s unclear when (if ever) LG’s OLED screen that can be rolled like a newspaper will ever hit the market. But we want one. Now.

Ili translator

Before lending its name to a mediocre-at-best online translation app, the babel fish was the fictional creation of Douglas Adams. Thankfully the dream of seamless international communications didn’t die there. Ili is a tiny device worn around the neck that claims to offer instant, accurate translations. Despite a name that sounds like “I lie”, and a supremely creepy video that features a dude trying to kiss Japanese women, the product appears to live up to the promise.

Portal Router

The Portal is a router that makes some very big claims. Claims like, “the biggest breakthrough in wifi in 15 years”. The device promises up to 300x current wifi speeds by using more of the 5GHz spectrum – you can find out for yourself when the product hits markets later this year.


Horribly named, but beautifully designed, the xcooter is a foldable electric scooter with a promised range of 15 miles and top speeds of 17 mph. The 42-pound ride is available for preorder for $1,499.

Picobrew beer brewer

Picobrew is a Keurig-like machine that wants to help you brew beer at home using PicoPaks, branded packets of yeast. Similar to the previously featured MiniBrew, the device allows users to adjust bitterness and alcohol-by-volume with the turn of a dial.

eHang 184
ehang passenger drone

Typically, we’d be terrified by the phrase “passenger-ready autonomous drone” but the eHang 184 looks really fun (if a bit terrifying).

6SensorLabs’ Nima Sensor
Nima gluten sensor

Yes, all those gluten-free types make an easy punchline, but for people suffering from celiac disease, the consumption of gluten can lead to life-threatening damage. The Nima Sensor is a portable device that can detect gluten protein in up to 20 parts per million. The Nima Sensor is available for preorder for $199 now.

Now go forth (and prepare for the future).