CES Comes to the Capitol

On April 15th, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held CES On The Hill at the Rayburn House Office Building, as a chance for exhibitors to showcase products and services important to ongoing tech policy issues to Members of Congress, Hill staff, press, and invited guests.

Exhibitors including Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Leaf College Savings, Snapchat, Yelp, and many others came together to showcase their latest innovative technologies or share policy or digital advocacy related issues.

While there were some big names in the mix, there was also a strong representation from smaller businesses and startups. Here are a few of the highlights that caught my eye among the exhibits.

3D Printing

Pinshape –  Pinshape is a community marketplace for 3D printing. They help bridge the gap between makers and designers by allowing customers to share and sell their designs. Their community marketplace ranges from hobbyists to engineers and helps links those with 3D printers to those who want to print their designs. Many of the design downloads are free, but some cost a fee.

Safe Driving

SMARTwheel – SMARTwheel is an intelligent steering wheel cover that helps prevent distracted driving. It uses a combination of sensors and an advanced algorithm to analyze hand gestures such as how many hands are on the wheel and the placement of the hands and fingers on the wheel. It provides instant alerts to the driver if it detects the driver might be distracted. It also sends information to a synced smartphone app so that parents and other family members can keep track of their loved one’s driving habits. SMARTwheel was featured on Shark Tank in September, 2012.

Health Tracking

Humetrix – Humetrix has built their business on mobile applications that help people track, coordinate, and control their own health care. At CES On The Hill they demonstrated Tensio, a mobile app that allows patients to manage their high blood pressure. “The app integrates Apple HealthKit data from the user’s monitoring devices (blood pressure monitor, activity tracker, etc.) with individual health and medical record data. TENSIO then applies medical intelligence to guide app users to manage their hypertension.”

Consumer Opinions & Free Speech

Yelp – Yelp had a booth set up to get the word out about SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Yelp is working to get legislation drafted to prevent these lawsuits from intimidating critics and scaring people away from posting negative reviews. These lawsuits are often unsuccessful in court, however the plaintiffs often succeed in silencing their critics with threats of legal action in the form of charges like defamation or conspiracy.

Wednesday’s event was the 6th annual CES On The Hill. The purpose is to bring some of the enthusiasm and innovation of the annual CES Conference in Vegas to the nation’s capitol in hopes of inspiring policies and initiatives.


Image Credit: Flickr/Phil Roeder

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy
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