The Manual’s Best of CES: Part 1 -

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This year at CES, improving lifestyle through technology and design was a common theme. From next-generation TVs to smart glasses, 3D-printed food, and self-driving cars, manufacturers proved that devices can be more than just fun — they can improve life through smart design. In fact, there were so many great examples that we can’t fit them all in one roundup.

Google’s butt-ugly Glass have given smart glasses a bad reputation, but thankfully, others can learn (and capitalize) from Google’s mistake. Enter the Jins Meme smart glasses, which aim to blend the chic with the geek. The Jins Meme look like a pair of Ray Bans, with all the necessary electronics tucked out of sight, behind the ears. Inside the nose pads are sensors that track eye movement, so the glasses can easily flip between pages of apps on a smartphone and select apps with a blink, monitor your eyes while driving to detect drowsiness, and even let you play games. Now that’s some tech we can wear!

Sadly, getting a good night’s sleep is as elusive as it is critical. Parents know that, but then there’s the kids … are they even trying to get to sleep at night? Enter the hugOne by the folks at Sevenhugs, a device designed to help you learn more about your sleeping habits (and influence those of others) without being totally invasive. To do it, the system uses “minihugs,” which can be placed on the corner of a mattress and hidden from sight under a sheet. Each minihug then communicates with a central hub, feeding it with necessary data such as temperature, humidity, air quality, movement and, yes, even snoring. The hub then uses this information to tell you more about how you are (or aren’t) sleeping and what you can do about it. The hub even glows for the kids when it’s their bedtime and shuts down once they’ve dozed off. Sleep Number makes a smartbed for $1,000, but we like the hugOne at about $170.

Few things will ruin a fun night out like a DUI – not to mention driving while intoxicated is straight-up dangerous for you and others. Judging your sobriety “by feel” is an exercise in futility, so don’t even try. Instead, look into the Floome Breathalyzer. This tiny hand-held device is both affordable and accurate, a first for the category. Plus, it’s powered by your smartphone, so no batteries are required. Best of all, the app it comes with will not only tell you if you’re plastered, but guesstimates how long it will be before you should blow again, then reminds you. It’ll even help you call a cab if you can’t manage for yourself. You can also post your breathalyzer results via social media, but that sounds like a terrible idea.

Revel is one of the biggest names in luxury loudspeakers, and for good reason. The brand is responsible for developing some of the most revered, and iconic, speakers in the last two decades, blending style and substance in a way few others can match. The only drawback has been historically high pricing, placing Revel’s best out of reach for all but the most affluent. Now, Revel is bringing its flair for high style and high fidelity to a broader audience with its remarkably affordable (and incredible-sounding) Concerta2 loudspeakers. With two floorstanding models, a bookshelf, center, and subwoofer, one can assemble either a top-not stereo rig, or a full-on 5.1 home theater system, all for a reasonable price that doesn’t require sacrificed performance.

Stick with us here, because this is easily one of the coolest devices we saw at CES, and the premise is straight out science fiction: Aim the Scio at a substance, click a button, and in seconds an accompanying app will tell you what it is. Need to identify asbestos or lead in a home? Scan it with Scio. Spill all your pills on the floor? Identify them with Scio. You can even determine if a gemstone is legit. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

Finally, technology that can actually help you make better-tasting food. Through Samsung’s Club des Chefs initiative comes The Chef Collection app and tablet. The app serves as a curator of cooking knowledge, with regular updates including recipes from BigOven, Bon Appétit, Chefs Feed, Saveur, and the Culinary Institute of America. Users will be able to get tips and watch instructional videos from professional chefs to get inspired in the kitchen. The app runs on a dedicated tablet that can work in conjunction with Samsung smart appliances, and is included with Chef Collection purchases along with a custom butcher block and tablet stand.

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