CES 2016: Gear Up On IoT - Toyota Poaches From Google + Car Calls 911 For You

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Live from CES: Five IoT News Bites To Start Your Wednesday.

Lots of news here from CES. And IoT featured up front and center for most brands: specifically new products launches and even new ways of imagining how long-storied brands are seeing themselves in the future. (Think robots.)
Toyota continues to emphasize its investments in AI and robots — even poaching Google's robotics head, James Kuffner, for its own. Toyota named him head of its $1 billion research lab in Silicon Valley at its CES press conference Tuesday. Yes, Toyota continues to build cars. But its interest today is in self-driving machines — and specifically how these make decisions say, when a bicyclist cuts unexpectedly across the road or trash flies off a truck in front of them. To that end, AI and robotic development is very present in the carmakers' mind, and could be as core to the company's business as the car has once been.
Bosch upgraded its emergency notification system, eCall, which actually contacts a service center or even emergency people should the car get into a crash. The sensor can tell how bad the collision is and intelligently determine who to call.
Fitbit launched...another fitness device. Called Blaze, the wearable is a watch that certainly resembles the Apple Watch but is missing GPS. Still, you can of course track fitness details like calories burned, steps walked and so forth. The device also promises five days of battery life — which should hopefully appease some consumers who have grumbled about poor experiences with their Fitbit Charge HR after a recent firmware update.
Samsung rolled out its newest IoT appliances, but also a giveaway — a SmartThings device, free with every SUHD TV. The USB adapter will connect with Samsung's line of more than 200 SmartThings products from dimmer switches to door locks. Samsung bought SmartThings for $200 million back in 2014.
Finally, if making a cocktail is just too difficult for you, Bartesian may have the answer — a capsule-styled cocktail making machine for $299 that's like a snow cone maker for adults. The start-up has been kicking around for a bit (they even ran a Kickstarter in 2015) but made a pitch at the ShowStoppers LaunchIt for another $400,000 on Tuesday at CES Press Day — coming in as a runner up. The conceit is you supply the gin, vodka plus two other spirits, fill the compartments, pop in a capsule and voila you have a cosmopolitan, martini or margarita. This idea? The room applauded for more.
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