I just got back from attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Wow!

The CES is the largest trade show in Las Vegas, featuring over 3,600 exhibitors and drawing over 150,000 attendees. From January 6 – 9 innovative new products, technologies, and startups all converged on Las Vegas. For an inventor, taking it all in for three days was akin to being a child in a candy store (excuse the cliche).

Below are some of the key trends I observed at the show.

  1. The Smart Home
  2. Wearable Technology
  3. Optimizing and Monitoring Health and Fitness
  4. UHD Televisions – 4K, 8K, and more
  5. Automobile Technologies
  6. Drones, Drones, Drones
  7. Robotics and Coding
  8. Virtual Reality
  9. 3D Printers for Everyone

The smart home is poised to revolutionize out lives in the next few years. Refrigerators, hot water heaters, washers and dryers that optimize electricity usage and notify us in advance of needed repairs are coming soon.

Wearable technology includes not only smart watches but also smart belts, smart shoes, optimized headsets and many other items from tremendous to trivial. Don't like the color of your blouse? Change it at will.

Optimize your health by monitoring your heart beat, your REM sleep, your daily exercise regime. Small changes are easier to manage than large changes, but small changes, incrementally lead to large positive change and improvement.

We love to escape and UHD (Ultra High Definition) and 4K (twice the resolution of 1080p) televisions will enhance our enjoyment of television, cell phone and other video projection. The resolution is amazing.

The fully autonomous car may be a few year, but self-parking, collision avoidance and limited autonomous driving are already here. Are you worried about your teenagers distracted driving? Technology may rescue you and them.

CES was replete with drones of all sizes, from birdlike 5 ounce drones to larger drones to provide video fly overs, the options are unlimited. Soon drones will air drop your latest Amazon purchase to your house within an hour.

Robots for personal use are an emerging trend: cute mini-robots to entertain and inform your children are here – especially in South Korea. By 2018, coding will be mandatory for all school children in South Korea. Soon it will be the the three Rs plus C: reading, writing and arithmetic and coding.

Virtual reality (VR) is here with the Oculus Rift and other VR devices set to debut by March into retail. Initial VR devices will be supported only by the most capable PCs, but over time, laptops will standardly support VR. It should be interesting – and another way for us to escape.

3D printers are not new, but capabilities are improving and prices are dropping rapidly. Soon everyone will have a 3D printer in their home. At CES I saw fast 3D printers that could print objects three times as fast and others that could print fiberglas, carbon filament and Kevlar.

In the next post, I'll share with you what all of the above may mean to inventors.

Stay tuned!