TV producer's CES highlights: Top gadgets and a dancing Michael Hainsworth

After a staggering 3,200 exhibitors and more than 70,253 steps on my Fitbit, my four-day stint at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas comes to a close.

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Every year, surrounded by thousands of brash business tourists, blonde booth babes and self-described gadget geeks, I ask myself the same question: Why am I here again?

Other than checking my aforementioned Fitbit, I’m not what you would call a technically inclined person. I work in news, think like a news person and see the world through a somewhat cynical lens. I guess in a lot of ways this is why I’ve been producing our news/business segments at CES for the past three years. I don’t easily get drawn in by complicated gadgets, boring blueprints, technical jargon or the booth babes. I stick to gadgets that ‘regular people’ would find useful, and more importantly, the ones that make good TV. And this recipe works, at least for me and my reporter, Michael Hainsworth.

The discussions around what we shoot and where we go LIVE are always lively with Michael. For instance, he explains to me all the science and wiring that goes into making a sleek and sexy smart shoe for women, and I reply, ‘Yeah yeah, now make sure you put on the pumps for the live hit.’ And he did.

CES 2016 Zhor Tech shoes

Michael, who’s a TV genius by the way and a master of self-deprecating humour, probably had the most talked-about segment this year when he shook his barely there booty on national television. We found a pair of really cool headphones, but even cooler was the Gogo dancing floor the model was standing on to display them. Next thing you know, off comes the model and up comes Michael ‘Magic Hips’ Hainsworth. I can no longer recall much about those headphones but this image will sure last a lifetime.

Michael Hainsworth on the Gogo dancing floor

Believe it or not, finding a ‘cool’ backdrop for a live hit at CES isn’t the biggest challenge for a TV producer. My biggest obstacles at the shows are the following: telling people to stop vacuuming their booth during a live hit, begging others to turn down the music, and oh I almost forgot, constantly avoiding being hit by a forklift while managing crowd control. I’m happy to report we are still incident free after three years and 100 live hits.

Avoiding forklifts at CES 2016

So after all those hits and products, which ones did I want to take home from CES 2016? Here are my top 3!

#1 CES 2016 PICK - Smart Suitcase

#1 has got to be every woman's dream: a suitcase. But not just any suitcase. It has a built in scale so you know when you've over packed; it's outfitted with a GPS so you'll never have to worry about lost luggage again; and, to top it all off it comes with a built-in phone charger. Bluesmart touted as it as the world’s first smart, connected piece of luggage will set you back about $575. Interestingly, like a lot of inventions this year at CES, Bluesmart began as an Indiegogo campaign.

CES 2016 Bluesmart suitcase

#2 CES 2016 PICK - Automatic Calorie Counter

The GoBe calorie counter could soon revolutionize the world of fitness wearables. Unlike the Fitbit this gadget boasts that it can do the math for you. Say goodbye to figuring out how many calories you consumed in half an apple. This gadget claims to know how many calories you’ve eaten in a day, simply by being on your wrist. I won’t bore you with the science behind it but the makers say it’s currently 85 per cent accurate and they're selling it for $430.

CES 2016 GoBe calorie counter

#3 CES 2015 PICK - The Wearable Translator

The makers behind the world’s first wearable translator were on hand at CES. About the size of a thumb drive it works by having users speak into the device by holding down a button. The Ili Translator then converts their conversation into another language.

The company didn’t have a working prototype on hand but did have a video demo. If this gadget does what it claims I will have no more regrets about skipping my French classes in University! This product has yet to be priced.

CES 2016 Ili Translator

This year's Consumer Electronics Show unveiled some pretty jaw dropping inventions but even with all the amazing advancements in technology it still amazes me that no one has managed to solved the problem that plagues us all -- a cracked screen on your smart phone! Thankfully this was the only casualty during this year’s filming.

Cracked smartphone screen

Now if you want a closer look at the dozens of new gadgets unveiled at CES at year, plus Mr. Hainsworth’s dance moves, make sure you watch The Best of CES. The show airs this Sunday on CTV News Channel at 1:30pm ET and 8:30pm ET.


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