‘Empathy’ Electronics at CES 2020

  • POV’s
  • January 7, 2020
  • Jill Kelly
Empathy is both the motive and outcome, as CES kicks off its 53rd year.

Federico Casalegno, Samsung’s Chief Design Innovation Officer, best summarized CES 2020 and its focus on health & wellness when he said, “The goal isn’t to add more devices and products. It’s to live better with more intuitive and simplified technologies.”

When CES debuted in 1967, items on display included the latest pocket radios and TVs with integrated circuits. The press described it as: “The very first Consumer Electronics Show wows visitors with dazzling new gadgets.”

Fast forward a half a century later and the conversation and language are different, elevating from “gadgets” to “human first,” “pro-person products,” and, I’ll add, empathy electronics. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the fastest-expanding category at CES is health, fitness and wellness, which now takes up close to half the real estate at Tech West. After a decade of showcasing technology, electronics and screens that, some would say, have made people unhealthier because of the immobile, addictive characteristics, the new wave of wellness products are mounting a defense to help undo the past decades of, well, gadgets.

The future of technology lies not in the big and the bendable, the flying and shining, but it will be inspired by perhaps a nobler, preservation mission: helping humans manage and navigate their current condition, conditions influenced by the triple vectors of sustainable wellness, health (across all generations), and individual and tribal prosperity.

From the clever to the cute to (arguably) creepy, empathy electronics are making their debut at CES. And each are inspired by an understanding—empathy—for a specific human condition. Whether it be ‘robots for good,’ such as Tombot to help seniors with dementia, to getting game obsessed youth to keep moving (while playing) with the CyclePath (a 2020 Innovation Award Honoree), to a smart bathroom mat—Mateo—with non-intrusive body and posture analysis, to the adorable Pillo that brings healthcare directly into the home, we have faith for a future generation of humans living better.

Happy 2020 fellow humans.