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I won’t lie that I am a gadget/electronic junkie. At an arms reach I have a couple of Raspberry Pi units, an Anker mobile battery, and an iPod Classic. (Don’t ask.)

Shortly after the Holidays have ended, the tech world merges in on Las Vegas for CES, the Consumer Electronic Show. This show sets the tone for what we will see trending in the world of electronics for this year and perhaps the few years to come. Not all things that trend necessarily last (looking at you 3D televisions) but it shows the overall interests between manufacturers and the general populace.

While the big guys like Google, Amazon and Sony battle it out with their flagship electronics and logos for future video game consoles, I like to keep an eye on the smaller innovators coming up with the truly unique ideas. Those are the ones to watch and if their product does well, may become the next big name in electronics and a future purchase the next time you swing by the electronic store. Items like item tracking Tile and doorbell monitoring Ring started out small before becoming big names or bought out by even bigger names.

Netatmo is one item that caught my eye. It is a lock that uses NFC, near field communication, to unlock itself. The fun part is that the NFC keys look like tiny keys and can be programmed to open specific locks on the fly from an app. Imagine using them in a business where you can easily allow new hires access to area that are allowed in and change their access when promoted or… otherwise. If a key is lost, you simply remove it from the app and it no longer has access to anything. Keys can be ordered and added as well.

Meet Lovot. Love Lovot.

It’s hard to say no to robots and Japan is no stranger to embracing robots and using them as companions for both young and old. The Lovot looks like a penguin and a owl had an offspring and has all sorts of sensors and displays to know when the user is giving affection and tell the difference between humans and other objects. The robot is design pickup on your emotions and help make yourself more positive when you are not feeling yourself. You can dress them up like Build-A-bears and will likely be the next big thing in interactive learning robots this year. Move over Furby.

Cools things fast. No ice needed.

Not yet on the market as it is just a prototype called Juno. It is being advertised as a “reverse microwave” and can chill drinks and other items in 2 minutes. You can place items like a can of coke inside and it whirs and does its thing. While this definitely would be a “luxury” item for possible future owners I can see myself a little jealous once the Texas summer gets here and I am stuck without any ice. No one likes a hot Dr. Pepper…

My inner child is jealous…

OK… one last thing from CES. The PIX Backpack adds everyone’s favorite light source, LEDs to a backpack. While young ones are going to love designing things on their backpacks like a Light Bright using an App, it has started making me wonder what other everyday items could be enhanced with LED technology. LED Briefcase for the adults… anyone?

While some of these may be silly, it’s the smaller or single owners in some of these companies that come up with the cool things that the bigger companies don’t and, like many of our favorite tech companies, are the ones that start at home, in the garage or perhaps a local MakerSpace.

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