international_cesThe International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the annual tech event held in Las Vegas where breakthrough technologies are shown off to the world, is happening this week.

And some amazing companies from the South West have grabbed this chance to show off their amazing products and technologies to the world. They will be joining over 3,500 exhibitors from fields such as gaming, 3D printing, car electronics and bio-technology.

Among the South West-based breakthrough technologies are open-source 3D-printed robotic prosthetic arms cheaper than NHS static equivalents, a technology that lets you feel touch controls in mid-air, a brand new kind of musical instrument and companies exploring the future of mobile and wearable technology.

The companies who have travelled to Las Vegas to display or discuss their wares are:


UltrahapticsUltrahaptics, winner of the SPARKies 2014 Startup to Watch award, are showing off their unique technology that enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything.

The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touchless buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

It’s an amazing technology, guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of someone encountering it for the first time, as the Teaser video they made for CES demonstrates:

And you can see more examples of the technology in action here:

The company hope the ultrasonic haptic technology will be licensed into a diverse array of markets including consumer electronics, home appliance and automotive.

If you are out there, you can find Ultrahaptics at booth 75619 of TechWest in the Sands Convention Centre.

Open Bionics

open-bionicsBristol-based Open Bionics is creating affordable 3D-printed hands to make robotic prosthetics cheaper and more accessible to amputees all over the world. The Open Bionics team, Joel Gibbard, Sammy Payne, Vitória Maurício and Daniel Melville, are showcasing their latest robotic hand which is now half the weight of leading robotic hands. They are on of 7 companies invited there by Intel after their success in the finals of Intel’s ‘Make It Wearable’ competition.

You can see Joel talking about his creations in this recent TEDxExeter talk:

Joel said about the event: “We were over the moon when Intel invited us to showcase our advancements at CES. It’s an incredible opportunity to be on the world stage showing how innovative technologies can be used to change lives and help people.”

He added: “We have a feeling new advancements in the field of wearable technology will be taking centre stage this year. It’s going to be an exciting trip.”

If you are out there, you can say hi to the Open Bionics team in the Intel booth at CES (LVCC, Central Hall Booth #7252).

Nu Desine – Alphasphere

alphasphere-in-actionalphasphere_nu_desineNu Desine, based at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol’s Watershed, are the creators of the Alphasphere – a brand new kind of musical instrument.

The Alphasphere is made up of 48 pressure and velocity touch pads, which you can assign any sound you want. This includes triggering vocals, modulating synths or triggering preloaded loops so you can build a track. You can also send midi data and control different software such as DJing and VJing software with the Alphasphere.

Nu Desine are launching the new entry-level Alphasphere device at CES – the Alphasphere me – which is teased in the video below:

The AlphaSphere has been very well received throughout 2014, and one of Nu Desine’s videos has already hit 10million views on FaceBook.

We asked Adam Place, Founding Director of Nu Desine and the inventor of the Alphasphere, what the idea behind the entry-level Alphasphere me is.

“The idea is to simplify the Alphasphere concept in order to make music-making accessible to everyone”


“The idea is to simplify the Alphasphere concept in order to make music-making accessible to everyone,” explains Adam. “Though kids and people getting into music for the first time love the AlphaSphere elite and nexus it is designed for professionals, with AlphaSphere me we have created an instrument that anyone can play.”

We also wondered what their experience of CES was like so far. “This is our first year at CES so a lot of buyers in CE are discovering the Alphasphere for the first time,” Adam tells us. “The Alphasphere is always well received at trade shows and CES is no exception. Within the first hour of the show we were approached by a buyer from one of the biggest retailers in the world, which was a good start.”

So why are Nu Desine out at CES? What does the company hope to achieve out there?

“Forging new connections with buyers and beginning to establish ourselves within the CE industry,” says Adam. “We have a long term commitment to convergence and collaboration – it’s exciting to be interacting with decision makers in household name electronic brands on a daily basis and we anticipate the relationships formed at this show to resonate with our business for years to come.”

If you are out there, you can say hi to the Nu Desine team and play with some Alphaspheres in Central Hall Booth #14456.



Somo, a world leader in new media marketing, which has just opened an R&D lab in Bristol are out in CES too, discussing the latest trends in mobile tech and the internet of things.

Ross Sleight, Somo’s Chief Strategy Officer said of CES: “The three core themes we are looking to at CES are the continued expansion of the Internet of Things enhancing a huge swathe of what were dumb objects, the increasing atomization of mobility through physical wearables which are connected via mobile, and the partnerships that are being created between hardware manufacturers and the core software operating ecosystems.”

“Although it’s called the ‘Consumer Electronic Show’, CES is typically only the first step on a long journey for technology, before it makes it in to the homes of consumers. It is, however, all about understanding where the leading edge of tech is and how brands and retailers can take what they see at CES and incorporate it into their strategy for the future.”

“The big issue with technology is not the current focus on ‘because’ when the real need is to focus on ‘why'”


He added: “The big issue with technology is not the current focus on “because” when the real need is to focus on “why”. We need to make sure we’re looking at the technology and the trends that will help solve real world problems and not technology for the sake of technology. Sometimes this is through hardware innovation, sometimes it’s through software, but there should always be an underlying reason why it matters and what problem it solves. It’s all about solving big consumer issues.”

You can see more from Ross in the interview he gave with Bloomberg below:

You can see more on International CES on the event’s Twitter feed (@intlCES) and on the CES Facebook page. Have we missed an amazing SW company/startup who are out in CES? Let us know!