By the end of CES 2021, we were exhausted. Even if it only happened at our desk in the virtual way, we were still tired. But one thing is clear: the face mask is being made for our digital world.
CES was a little different this year. Even though it officially ended on January 15, we’re still getting through the stories we want to write because there was a lot. That’s actually quite normal for us, by the way: every time we’ve travelled to a CES, we’ve spent the few days after it ended going through our notes, fielding story after story because we still had more to talk about.
This year was no different in that way, but yet it was entirely different. You see this was the world’s first all digital and totally online CES, because of some pretty obvious reasons. No one in Australia was flying to America, and indeed much of the rest of the world had that problem.
The coronavirus has kept many of us at home in 2020, and it could well do the same in 2021, as well, as governments of the world begin to use vaccines to quell the thing that halted the year, and get everything else back on track.
Until that happens, technology shows are a bit of an off-limits situation, especially internationally. Journalists will just have to be content with the online equivalent, which is actually more akin to getting a bunch of press releases and asking questions over a chat box or video feed. It’s not the same thing, but it will do. Clearly, because we also don’t have much of a choice.
But throughout this, another trend emerged at CES 2021, and one that we had largely expected: tech-connected masks.
It’s one of the 2021 tech trends we cited just before the show, and CES gave it to us in various ways. Masks that worked as a pair of headphones and microphone for talking on the phone. Masks that amplified your voice and lit up the night. Masks that filtered the air which you could see a smile through.
There’s even a mask through Samsung’s C-Lab accelerator that has oxygen filtration to clean up the air that you breathe, and that’s on top of the mask work LG kicked off last year, and that we suspect Dyson has been working on as well.
Hopefully our reliance on masks doesn’t stay as long as we fear, and the world is able to get over the coronavirus and be more prepared for whatever the next infection is, whenever that arrives, but the technology sector is ready, and tech-connected masks are a real thing this year.