Jan 11, 2019 - 3min read
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been in full-swing in Las Vegas this week with over 180,000 delegates checking out the latest innovations from more than 2,000 consumer tech companies.
While a warehouse full of tech journalists hurling requests at Alexa-enabled devices sounds like the premise for a nightmarish dystopia, there’s plenty on show at this year’s CES that could help turn our future world into a wonderland of sustainability.
Sadly we weren't able to attend the event itself, we've been keeping close tabs on what's been going down from bright and equally sunny Tonik HQ in Birmingham. So here’s what's excited us the most...
Nice to meat you
Thinking about eating less meat as part of your new year health-kick? Not yet ready to go cold turkey (not sorry) on that burger habit? Impossible Foods is here to help. The California-based company used CES to launch the much-anticipated upgrade to their plant-based meat substitute; the Impossible Burger 2.0.
According to those who've had a taste, it replicates the juiciness and taste of a real burger like never before and is versatile enough to be used in chilli, thai larb and barbecue skewers. The revamped recipe is rolling out across restaurants in the US as we type and should be available in supermarkets stateside by the end of the year.
With delicious, plant-based meat that's as good for people as it is for the planet, Impossible's dream is becoming a reality - and not a moment too soon. According to the United Nations, livestock farming uses 30 percent of the world's land surface and produces the same level of greenhouse gas emissions as all the automobiles on our roads.
While we here in the UK take our access to fresh water for granted, over 84 million people around the world live without safe, drinkable H2O. Watergen wants to change that using cutting-edge technology that provides a renewable source of safe water, extracted from the air.
It's a lofty ambition, but with their range of plug-in generators, they're able to equip communities big and small with the means to produce the safest, cleanest and freshest-tasting drinking water - regardless of the air quality. For communities hit by natural disasters or those in the most impoverished parts of the world, it promises to be a game-changer.
Watergen's work has been so impressive that even before CES 2019 kicked off, their GENNY product - generating up to 30 litres of water a day use in private homes - was awarded the event's Best of Innovation Award.
Don’t stop be-leaf-in
Taking inspiration from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Parisian startup Urban Canopee aims to reinvigorate urban centres and combat the threat of climate change by retrofitting cities with plants grown over lightweight and adaptable frames.
As demonstrated at CES, the durable, grid-like structures can either stand alone or be fixed to existing buildings, and are fitted with an autonomous and connected watering system called Sensopee. We’re assuming that sounds a little less like a public nuisance in a French accent!
The company is set to undertake a trial in Toulouse this spring, but you'd imagine if their prototypes can handle Las Vegas, Urban Canopee may be onto something. Less grey, more green - we’re all for it!
A wheely good idea
Electric vehicles may conjure images of Elon Musk's Tesla portfolio, but what about Harley-Davidson? The behemoth of the motorcycle industry is getting in on the connected, electric action in 2019 with the August launch of LiveWire.
It'll set you back the best part of £30,000 (ouch!) but for that you'll be able to travel 110 miles on a single charge, zip from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and get all the bike's operational data sent straight to a bespoke app. Oh, and you get to own a Harley, the height of biking cool. Never ridden a motorcycle? No problem; as it's clutchless and there's no gear shifting needed, LiveWire also promises an easy ride. Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson would be proud.
The key to our heart
Phone, wallet… hang on, where are my keys?! That sinking feeling that comes with getting locked out of your house could be a thing of the past thanks to new technology that creates a 3D scan of your key so users can upload a virtual spare key to the cloud, which can then be retrieved via a smartphone app and cut into a physical replacement. Ok, so it’s not strictly sustainability… but that is very cool.
In this age of global hacking, you might well worry about the security risk that comes with making a copy of your house key, but the company behind KeyHero insist their military-grade security encryption - coupled with the need for the user to verify their identification when redeeming a copy - should put minds at rest. It's only available in the US at the moment, but you can be sure the UK won't be too far behind.