7 Smart Design Innovations at CES 2013
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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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There's definitely something for everyone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and this year we spied practical advances in refrigeration, a slew of accessories for the "i" industry (iPods, iPhones, iPads, etc.); home audio systems that look as good as they sound; televisions approaching the thinnest of bounds; and a conceptual furniture experiment that posits a new way to cook and dine. From January 8–11, hundreds of thousands of technophiles trawled the Las Vegas Convention Center, Venetian, and other satellite exhibitions to find the latest and greatest products. Here are seven things that caught Dwell's eye.

Cubify wowed audiences with its at-home 3D printer. Here's a video of the product in action:

Cubify's 3D printer.

Cubify's 3D printer.

 

Samsung's F7000 television.

Samsung's F7000 television.

Samsung T9000 LCD refrigerator.

Samsung T9000 LCD refrigerator.

 

Panasonic Breakfast Collection.

Panasonic Breakfast Collection.

The Samsung booth was easily one of the most popular, especially in their home entertainment section. The flat-screen televisions were refined in form and crisp in display. Moving toward the appliance section, we especially loved the T9000 refrigerator. The company took a page from the minimalist cabinetry book and designed "built-in" pulls for the doors. The 32-cubic-foot design also has a trick up its sleeve: one of its three sections converts between refrigerator to freezer depending if you need extra beverage storage for a party or more freezer space for holiday leftovers.

Belkin's new light switch, part of their WeMo collection.

Belkin's new light switch, part of their WeMo collection.

Panasonic released a new toaster, water kettle, and coffee maker as part of the Breakfast Collection. Price points range between $130 and $170 and the products will be available in May.

The new i'm Watch.

The new i'm Watch.

Many companies do some type of connected home (in which your smartphone controls lighting, heating, cooling, and other electric devices) but few do it as stylishly and comprehensively as Belkin's Connected Home. Its WeMo controls range from outlets to baby monitors to light switches. We also loved the booth's design (indicative of the company's keen eye for aesthetics) outfitted with vintage Danish chairs, Nils Strinning shelving, and more.

Soundfreaq's Sound Platform 2.

Soundfreaq's Sound Platform 2.

Soundfreaq won a CES Best of Show award last year with the launch of the Sound Kick and this year the speaker company held its ground, nabbing the award a second time with the Sound Platform 2—a stylish wireless speaker that connects to your mobile phone and pairs with another for surround sound at an accessible price. Expect to find it (available in black or white) at Target for $250 per pair at the end of February.

Whirlpool's new Fireplace. See a video of the conceptual product here.

Whirlpool's new Fireplace. See a video of the conceptual product here.

This combination dining table and "fireplace" by Whirlpool is an experiment in rethinking how people cook and share a meal. The concept is unique and interesting and we'll eagerly wait and see if the company develops the technology. The table is much like something you'll find in a Korean restaurant: a heating element in the center of a massive table. This one uses light to cook rather than an open flame, a way that the company is reinterpreting the hearth. A ring around the heating element can either cool or heat food, depending on what's placed atop it and the people sitting around the table can control temperature for each object, say, a casserole or a beverage glass. A hood above provides ventilation and mood lighting. Is this the future of dining?

Lastly, one product that we liked is the Italian i'm Watch, almost equally for its many functions—like synching to your phone for hands-free calling when driving—and that it's like the 1980s calculator watch reborn for the tech era.

Diana Budds

@dianabudds

A New York-based writer, Diana studied art history and environmental policy at UC Davis. Before rising to Senior Editor at Dwell—where she helped craft product coverage, features, and more—Diana worked in the Architecture and Design departments at MoMA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She counts finishing a 5K as one of her greatest accomplishments, gets excited about any travel involving trains, and her favorite magazine section is Rewind. Learn more about Diana at: http://dianabudds.com

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