After spending a week immersed in the "innovation nation" of CES, tirelessly scouring the show floor for hidden product gems, I found some awesome new startups offering futuristic tech. We polled the Tom's Guide Facebook audience to find out their favorites. These companies are pushing the boundaries of technology, from robot teachers to brain-controlled apps. Here are the best startups of CES 2017.
Ever want to control stuff with your mind? Well, I got to do just that: operate a brain-controlled robot. BrainCo's sleek headband is packed with EEG-monitoring technology that utilizes neuro-feedback to train your brain. The accompanying focus-training app is great in the classroom; it helps teachers determine how well students retain information. Plus, the technology itself can be incorporated into smart homes. Can you imagine thinking, "I should turn the lights off now," and then BOOM — darkness? The future is here, folks.
Most people would laugh in my face if I told them I learned to play The Beatles' "Hey Jude" in less than 5 minutes. But most people haven't tried Magic Instruments' digital guitar. You simply push the buttons on the neck of the guitar to emit the correlating musical notes. And unlike with a real guitar, the real metal strings along the base of the Magic Instruments device never need to be tuned or replaced. The best part? The app offers a huge music library for you to learn a variety of songs, ranging from "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes to "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley. You can preorder this bad boy now for $250.
I came, I saw, I zip-lined in the dark and witnessed the whole terrifying thing, thanks to the BlazeTorch night-vision goggles. This ridiculously cool headset is the first night-vision product for the consumer market and is intended for the budding world of night sports (skiing, biking, etc.)
Is stargazing more your thing? Simply activate the built-in IR illuminator and look up. I saw the Big and Little Dippers, Orion's Belt and even an unsuspecting jet plane, otherwise invisible to the naked eye at night. Get your hands on one starting this February for $999.
Sick of those uncomfortable earbuds always falling out of your ears? Join the club. Revols knows this struggle all too well, so the company crafted a custom-fit solution that forms in just 60 seconds. The setup process puts you in total control: Just insert the base into your ears, hit the Start button on the Revols companion app, and a minute later, voilà — you have earbuds made specially for you, and they won't fall out. Snag yourself a pair of these custom wireless wonders during Revols' preorder sale for $229.
By popular vote, our Best Startup of CES award goes to the STEMI Hexapod robot. This is probably the coolest DIY robot you'll ever own, and — surprise — it's a teaching tool, too! Each kit comes with all of the pieces you need to build your own walking, dancing, spider-like robot. The smartphone-controlled integration helps anyone learn aspects of STEM programming, like gyroscope to calculate orientation and rotation of the robot. Want to be your own Dr. Frankenstein of robots? Sign up for STEMI's waiting list.
MORE: Hexapod Teaches Kids to Build Robots