THE INTERNET — From at-home COVID-19 tests to a variety of tech-infused face masks, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of this year's Consumer Electronics Conference.
CES, one of the biggest tech events of the year, would typically draw thousands to Las Vegas, but the pandemic forced operations online with its first 100% virtual conference hosted this week.
The pandemic not only changed the way the conference was run, but it also influenced exhibitors to create and showcase tech created to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here's a look at a few of the products designed with the pandemic in mind this year at CES 2021.
Bluetooth-enabled face mask
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mask-wearing to limit the spread of novel coronavirus last spring, it became a part of everyday life.
But many have since noticed there can be a few annoying parts to the face-covering, like talking on the phone, which becomes a hassle because sounds can be muffled under the mask.
Enter MaskFone, a face covering with built-in Bluetooth earbuds that last up to 12 hours on a single charge.
The fabric mask is washable (just remove the headphones first) and can also fit a filter.
It comes in multiple sizes and prices start at around $50.
Automated temperature scanner
In the age of COVID-19, temperature checks have become standard practice. Typically, an individual takes each person's temperature before they are allowed to enter a business or event. The creators of GateDoc, a touchless and automated temperature scanner, wanted to streamline the process so they designed a machine that scans a person's temperature before allowing entry into a business or event.
The machine will recognize when a person approaches it and measures the body temperature via the forehead, so it can be used with or without a face mask. It completes the temperature scan within .05 seconds.
If a person's temperature meets the threshold, they're allowed to enter; if it doesn't, the machine will beep and alert the manager via an app.
A more expensive version of the machine comes with a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser as well.
Prices start at about 300 euros, or about $365.
Wearable COVID-19 detecting sticker
The BioButton, a health-monitoring sticker created by BioIntelliSense, sticks onto a person's chest and can screen a person for COVID-19 for months at a time.
The disposable coin-sized wearable tech is designed to track the user's vital signs — like resting heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin temperature — with medical-grade accuracy. The sticker can monitor a person for 90 days via an app, which sends the readings via Bluetooth.
The button can collect data and use it to determine if a person might have symptoms of a possible novel coronavirus infection.
The tech is being used by UCHealth in Colorado to monitor health care workers who have received COVID-19 vaccines, and BioIntelliSense recently announced its collaboration with the American College of Cardiology. In May, the cardiology college will allow attendees of its conference to try out the BioButton.
The sticker is not available for individual purchase, but organizations can apply online to purchase the buttons.