CES 2021: From Robotics to Wellness Tech, Here's What Caught Our Eye on Day Two

Here's what the second day of virtual CES brought.
article cover

Francis Scialabba

5 min read

Read on to see what innovations captured our attention on day two of CES.

We're updating this page through the morning of January 14. Click here to go back to our general CES coverage hub.



The pandemic has kicked off a career boom for robots in sectors like warehouse ops, contactless services, sanitization, agriculture, and last-mile delivery.

Contactless delivery: “Delivery is the largest un-automated industry in the world,” said Ahti Heinla, co-founder of robo-delivery startup Starship Technologies, in a Wednesday panel. He added that Starship’s business volume has tripled since the onset of Covid-19.

  • At the same panel, Kathy Winter, VP of Intel’s IoT Group, said that contactless experience will be the key trend for robotics in 2021 and beyond. “You’re going to see a lot more touchless experience in general, whether it’s in your vehicle...[or] robots running around, or screening at the airport.”

Agriculture: It’s another fast-growing area for robots, especially as the world’s population grows and climate change leads to unpredictable weather. That’s why ag-focused bots typically score a couple of spots in CES’s Innovation Award lineup.

  • John Deere won in Robotics for the second year in a row, this time with its X-Series Combine. Available now, farmers can use the machine—which comes with autonomous driving tech, computer vision, cameras, and integrated sensors—to harvest crops as soon as they ripen.
  • Daesung landed an honoree title with its Hive Controller, an automated machine for removing a honeycomb from a beehive. The company is currently raising funds on Indiegogo—no word yet on production timeline.

- Hayden Field

Digital Health


In a surprise to absolutely no one, health, wellness, and wearables are dominating at CES this year.

Biometrics on biometrics: HealthyU, a remote health monitoring device from HD Medical, is already making headlines. It’s billed as an all-in-one intelligent home monitor—the first one to be able to analyze seven different biometrics—and is currently awaiting FDA clearance.

  • HealthyU can handle heart and lung sounds, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, respiratory rate, and more.

Blood pressure sensors: Imagine if your smartwatch could tell you your blood pressure as well as your heart rate. That kind of wearable tech may not be far off, pending FDA clearance: Valencell, one of the leading makers of heart rate and oxygen sensors, is expanding into blood pressure. Its tech is currently used in various wearables, including Bose headphones.

  • By coupling its sensor readings with an algorithm, which takes the user’s height, weight, age, and other factors into account, it’ll be able to estimate your blood pressure—no cuff required.
  • You might remember that Amazon and Samsung are reportedly working on development or FDA clearance for their own wearables’ blood pressure sensors.

“Stress-canceling” tech: Cove is another buzzy wearable making waves this week (literally). The vibrating headband-of-sorts aims to dissipate stress by activating the brain’s limbic system—e.g., the part that regulates emotion, stress, and anxiety. Feelmore Labs, the Brooklyn-based startup behind Cove, suggests using it for 20 minutes a day.

  • After using Cove for 30 days, 90% of participants experienced 41% stress reduction and a 50% improvement in sleep quality, according to clinical study results cited by Feelmore.
Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.

- Hayden Field



So, the lion’s share of flying robot announcements were front loaded on Monday and Tuesday this week. We’re just getting them now to give them the detail they deserve. Forgive us—we’ll spend the weekend reviewing the calendar week in penance.

Sony is officially entering the consumer drone business with Airpeak. The Tokyo-based electronics giant has created a quadcopter with the visually inclined in mind. Airpeak can carry a full-fledged mirrorless camera (such as the Sony Alpha series). Its retractable landing gear elegentally folds away when the drone’s in flight.

  • Sony debuted footage of (and from) the drone filming its Vision-S concept electric car, which turned heads at CES 2020. Call it a full circle moment.

The company didn’t reveal pricing or production timetables. When it launches, Airpeak seems destined to compete for market share with DJI, which boasts a monopoly in the premium aerial photography/video production market.

  • Drone hardware is hard. What could keep Airpeak from going the way of the Walkman? Competitive pricing and new US restrictions on DJI.

On the commercial side, Verizon said Skyward (its drone subsidiary) would test aerial delivery services with UPS at The Villages, a Florida retirement community. UPS announced this delivery pilot last May. We’ll be watching this partnership to see how Verizon’s 5G network could enhance drone communications, UAV traffic management, and overall system reliability.

+ While we’re here: Skydio’s autonomous drone won the CES 2021 Best of Innovation Award. And Autel Robotics released two new drones.

- Ryan Duffy

Click here to go back to our general CES coverage hub.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.