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Tech innovation has a broader reach

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The Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA’s) big event, CES, returned to Las Vegas this month after COVID-19 forced an all-digital show last year. The embrace of the in-person event — CES 2022 drew about 2,300 exhibiting companies — in the face of a lingering pandemic may suggest that there are limits to the kinds of human experiences digital technologies can replace, even for tech enthusiasts.

At the same time, the show’s exhibitors demonstrated how technology is transforming all aspects of regular people’s lives, including such seemingly mundane everyday activities as brushing their teeth, washing their clothes and dyeing their hair.

That’s because CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, is no longer just about the kinds of products being sold by retailers’ consumer electronics departments. This year’s event did showcase the kind of gadgets that would make a tech geek drool, including drones, robots and, of course, a product from Sony billed as “the first quantum dot OLED television with 4K resolution.”

But there were also products that promise to be just as transformative even if they wind up in people’s bathrooms or laundry rooms.

L’Oréal used the show to introduce Colorsonic, a handheld device that promises to revolutionize at-home hair color with a cartridge system and a custom mixer for color and an oscillating nozzle to apply it evenly. The company also showed off its Coloright hair color system for salon stylists, which has a Virtual Try-on mode and an algorithm that promises customized hair color with more than 1,500 custom shades.

Meanwhile Procter & Gamble Co. opted for a virtual LifeLab experience at this year’s CES, which it used to highlight a Gillette Labs’ exfoliating razor, a heated razor, and a Venus razor with a handle made from 40% post-consumer recycled ocean-bound plastic. P&G’s Tide Infinity product also has a sustainability focus — the fully degradable detergent was designed for use by NASA in space, but it is also suitable for use in water-scarce areas of NASA’s home planet.

In his State of the Industry Address, CTA president and chief executive officer Gary Shapiro promised that CES 2022 would immerse attendees in “the innovation that will reshape our societies and solve fundamental human challenges.”

Some of those challenges are refreshingly down to Earth.


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