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These 3 Hardware Startups Brought Engineering Ingenuity to the CES Stage

January 20, 2024 by Jake Hertz

This year’s event was full of advances in fields ranging from EV charging to ESD prevention.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the most popular electronics event in the world, making it a launching pad for new technology from industry titans and lesser-known startups alike. While much of the event spotlights the most sensational trends in this space—like this year's AI fortune-teller, flying taxis, or robot masseuses—plenty of booths highlight the circuit-level technologies that make these gadgets possible.  

I had the great opportunity to attend CES 2024 in Las Vegas, where I directed my focus to the granular details of these innovations. Here are three companies that stood out for their engineering ingenuity. 

 

Prophesee Shows Off Event-Based Sensors

Prophesee, one of the industry’s leaders in event-based motion capture, received an innovation award at CES this year for its GenX320 MetaVision Sensor. I met with Guillaume Butin, Prophesee's marketing director, to watch a demonstration of this device.

Prophesee describes the GenX320 as the world’s smallest and most power-efficient event-based vision sensor. With a die size of 3 mm x 4 mm, a pixel size of 6.3 µm x 6.3 µm, and power consumption down to 36 uW, the sensor can achieve a dynamic range of >120 dB and an equivalent frame rate of 10,000 fps. With applications in everything from AR/VR to smart homes, the sensor is an effective combination of performance, size, and power.

 

The Prophesee demo

The Prophesee demo shows the data captured by both a conventional and event-based camera from the same input.
 

To demonstrate the value of event-based sensing over conventional cameras, Butin set up an IMX636 sensor next to a conventional camera and displayed the captured data on a computer. The results spoke for themselves: while the traditional camera could only capture a certain number of frames per second, the event-based camera captured frames whenever it detected motion. 

 

An event-based sensor

A traditional camera (left) only captures information at a given frame rate, with information lost between each frame. An event-based sensor (right) captures data whenever it detects motion. 
 

“If you use traditional frame-based sensors, before the first frame and between each frame, you’re basically blind by design," Butin said. "There’s a ton of data that gets missed, and that’s a big deal when a machine is trying to intercept motion in the real world.”

 

WiTricity Brings Wireless Charging to Golf Carts

As with many CESes past, the show heavily featured the latest and greatest automotive advancements. One such innovation came from a company called WiTricity, which demonstrated wireless charging on electric golf carts for the first time. 

 

A WiTricity Halo receiver.

A WiTricity Halo receiver.
 

The company’s charging system is called WiTricity Halo and consists of a power hub transmitter, a receiver on the EV, and cloud-connected software for tracking charging performance. The charging portion of the system operates on the principle of magnetic resonance charging, involving two resonant circuits—one in the charger and one in the device—that resonate at the same frequency. When these circuits resonate in harmony, energy is efficiently transferred over a distance, acting as a more convenient and flexible charging solution than inductive charging. 

 

A Ford Mach-E equipped with WiTricity charging

A Ford Mach-E equipped with WiTricity charging.
 

To access WiTricity charging, vehicles must be integrated with the receiver from the start or be retrofitted through an authorized dealer. WiTricity claims its technology can mitigate range anxiety by improving the cumbersome process of conventional wired charging.

 

Iona Tech Puts ESD Detection in a Wearable

Iona Tech, previously spotlighted on All About Circuits, has developed a unique wireless electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection device called the StatIQ Band. This armband wearable can determine body voltage based on the body’s electric field. A companion app can then alert users to changes in voltage and notable charging and discharging in real time. 

 

The StatIQ Band and companion app

The StatIQ Band and companion app. Image used courtesy of Iona Tech
 

The StatIQ Band can help prevent ESD events by notifying users when bodily voltages reach unsafe levels. This transparency into ESD events can prevent related device failures.

I met with Iona’s CEO, Daan Stevenson, who allowed me to try out the StatIQ Wearable firsthand. As an EE, I’ve spent countless hours chasing my tail to prevent ESD or solve a failure caused by an ESD event. Wearing the StatIQ Band was the first time I saw ESD as a tangible, quantifiable, and manageable problem. I could see my bodily voltage change based on where I was, what I was touching, and what I was doing, giving me new, valuable insights into the nature of ESD. 

 

Check Out CES 2024 News

CES kicked off 2024 with a bang in the technology sector. If you'd like to check out some other hardware highlights of the event, check out the articles below.