Health tech has long been a dominant focus of CES, but over the last few years, in particular, the category has really ramped up. In fact, health tech products have been, for the most part, relocated to the Sands Convention Center because the category is growing so much. CES 2021 is entirely virtual this year, with everything being showcased via the world wide web. And this year more than ever, health tech devices are geared more toward preventing the spread of germs and promoting mental wellness. Nonetheless, health and wearables is still as big a category as ever.
I covered a few interesting products that fall into this category in an article on mobile accessories at CES 2021, including the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 waterproof armband heart rate monitor, MaskFone face mask and wireless earbuds combination, and the TCL wearable display. But there was plenty more from the show in this space.
What’s new in health tech from CES 2021
As noted, in previous years, health tech focused mainly on wearable devices, products that assist those with mobility issues or the elderly, and items for tracking vitals. Health tech at CES 2021 took a different turn into devices and technologies to help reduce the spread of viruses and germs.
Targus UV-C LED disinfection light
A perfect addition to the home or remote office, this UV-C device periodically disinfects high-touch surfaces, like a keyboard and mouse, as you work. Running on AC power, the light will go on for five minutes every hour to disinfect the workspace using automatic settings and motion sensors. When the light comes on, it’s also a great reminder to take a quick break, get up and stretch, or get some steps in. If you are deep in the throes of an assignment, the light will detect motion in the safety zone and try again in another five minutes, or clean outside of the active area until you’re done.
Scosche MagicFogger portable antibacterial sanitizer
Keep a bottle of this solution in the car or in your purse, briefcase, or backpack, and spray whenever you want to kill germs and viruses from a surface. It releases a fine mist of a solution made from HOCL Electrolyzed water that Scosche calls MagicFog that attaches to then attacks germs and viruses, killing 99.94% of microbes. But the best part is that it’s 100% organic and thus safe for both humans and the environment. The bottle has a 1.5-ounce reservoir and comes with an eight-ounce bottle to get you started. It runs on a 3,200 mAh rechargeable battery and will come in either black or white.
LG mini air purifier
Now, instead of hoping the venue you enter has air purification, you can sport your own mini air purifier to plop on the table at a restaurant or keep on your desk at the office to clean the air around you. LG’s PuriCare mini air purifier weighs just 530 grams and can run for up to eight hours per charge, which is long enough for a full day at work or a few weeks’ worth of visits to the gym. The device is certified by Intertek and the British Allergy Foundation to help remove up to 99% of harmful substances from the air around you, in your own personal space. It has a rapid clean mode and dual inverter motors that draw in allergens and ultra-fine dust while the twin tornado dual fan sends out the clean air. It operates at a quiet 30 dB so it won’t be distracting either.
Operate it from the Bluetooth app, where you can monitor air quality; you can also monitor by eyeballing the unit’s four-colour smart display with PM 1.0 sensor: green, naturally, means the air quality is good, red means it’s bad. A fitted holder makes it easy to mount the device in the car or handlebars of a bicycle or baby stroller.
GoSun Flow portable solar-powered water purifier and sanitation system
Adventurous folks will appreciate this set-up that can purify water on-the-go using just solar power (it also has a USB outlet when electricity is available). Made by the makers of the popular GoSun solar-powered outdoor grille, you can throw this into your backpack before setting out on a hike or camping trip, then use it to filter out 99.99% of pathogens from water, making the H20 not only safe to drink but also for washing hands and even showering (with the separate shower attachment).
What’s new in wearables from CES 2021
While wearables used to refer to just smartwatches and activity trackers and other similar devices that track everything from heart rate to blood pressure, the category has exploded over the last few years to include much more.
Razer Project Hazel mask
Generating a lot of digital buzz at the show is Razer’s Project Hazel, which the company calls the “world’s smartest mask.” Just a prototype at this point, it includes a surgical N95 respirator and a detachable ventilator to regulate airflow. It can filter out at least 95% of airborne particles. Using the auto-sterilization function and included charging case with UV light, you can both recharge the mask and kill bacteria and viruses at the same time so it’s ready to wear for your next outing. Because the design is transparent, you can also comfortably talk with others while they can see your mouth moving and your facial expressions. It also has an interior light that illuminates when it’s dark out As if that weren’t enough, the mask includes a built-in mic and amplifier, using patent-pending technology to amplify your speech so it doesn’t sound muffled. It uses replaceable filters and is waterproof and scratch resistant.
AirPop Active+ smart mask with Halo sensor
This smart face mask protects your face while also tracking air quality and your breathing rate to let you know when it’s time to replace the mask’s filter or provide biometric data that can come in handy during sports and other activities. It works alongside the AirPop Android or iOS app, which uses data collected by the sensor to provide information on breathing cycles as well as pollutants the mask has blocked. When placed in Active Mode, the mask tracks detailed metrics like breaths per minute and pace, viewable via the Activity tab in the app.
The snap-in filters block about 99% of PM0.3, including dust, allergens, particulate matter, and microbial particles. It comes with four filters, each of which comes with a unique QR code that can be scanned for registration, and to confirm that it is a legitimate AirPop filter. The mask itself is washable and has a 360-degree medical-grade soft touch membrane. The sensor connects via a coin-cell battery that lasts up to six months before it has to be replaced.
Amazfit Neo Retro smartwatch
It was technically launched in late 2020, but this smartwatch stands out among the pack thanks to its four-sided screen and retro design. Navigate menu items using the four multi-function buttons. Running for up to a month per charge, you can get basic activity data as well as continuous HR monitoring (and alerts if high heart rate is detected), sleep tracking, and a PAI health assessment score. Lift your wrist to wake up the always-on screen so you can easily stay on top of your metrics and other pertinent information. It is water-resistant up to 50 metres, so you can wear it 24/7 without worry.
Findy by Foxsmart
This clever device is like a Tile Bluetooth tracker for eyeglasses. Technically, you don’t have to use it just for eyeglasses. But it comes with pre-cut double-sided adhesive strips and is perfectly sized for placing on the side of your eyeglasses frame. Can’t find your glasses (again!)? Check the Findy glasses finder app (Android and iOS) to locate them. If they’re up to 100 feet away, a buzzer will sound. If they’re not within range, such as if you left them at the office or the coffee shop counter, you can use the app to pinpoint the last known location on Google Maps. It’s great for the forgetful person. A nice touch: the app has large icons and text to ensure you can read it without your glasses on. To use Findy with something else, like your backpack, camera strap, or headphones, just use the free adapter.
While it’s not quite as easy to navigate CES 2021 as it is being there in person, these hidden gem products caught our attention as being among the most interesting at the show in the health and wearables category. The area of tech is rapidly changing, and this year, it might look much different than usual. Nonetheless, health, fitness, and wearables remain top categories in tech.