It seemed you couldn’t walk down an aisle at CES without seeing an electric bicycle, or an electronic accessory for the human powered kind. Like the Wink Bar, which took top honors at the Showstoppers LaunchIt pitchfest, held the day before the show formally opened.
The Wink Bar, developed and sold by Velco, a Paris-based start up, was declared the best of the twelve new products pitched in rapid fire succession to a panel of four judges with deep experience in venture capital and entrepreneurial enterprises. It’s a high tech handlebar that links to your smartphone and guides you through unfamiliar cities with simple flashing lights that cue you to start and stop, and go right and left. It’s sold through bike shops for $279.
It’s more than simple route planning, though. It’s also a platform for tourism and bike sharing services – Velco’s partners use it to create tour routes through cities. Customers can ride safely and quickly with their eyes on the road, and not on a map or smartphone screen. The company sold 70,000 Wink Bars last year and is targeting 14 million units in annual sales by 2021.
The rest of the field was…
- Athom – hub that controls home automation and entertainment technology.
- Big Boy Systems – headset that records 3D video and audio, just as a human would.
- Cardiomo Care – wearable analytical device for heart disease prevention.
- Cinema Snowglobes – another old-into-new transformation, with the venerable snow globe reimagined as a video snack (pictured above).
- Cubomania – interactive, educational cubes for kids.
- Pebby Corp. – a networked, robotic ball that lets you play with your dog while he’s at home and you’re at work.
- Picoo – wands that kids use to play elaborate games of tag.
- Robomart – self driving store for grocery retailers.
- SolarGaps – solar cells.
- Stream – internationally roaming WiFi hotspots.
- Zhor-Tech – smart shoes that analyse your gait and tell you, among other things, if you’re drunk.