In recent years, the Consumer Electronics Show has routinely featured splashy debuts of groundbreaking bionic devices. Memorable rollouts have included the BrainRobotics hand (2020), the Esper hand (2022), and Unlimited Tomorrow’s 3D-printed TrueLimb (2019). Right on cue, the 2024 CES introduced another purportedly pioneering prosthesis—and it won a major award, so it’s nothing to sniff at. But there were many non-prosthetic gizmos and gadgets on display this year to interest the limb-loss community, and quite a number of them won CES Innovation Awards. All the products listed below were so honored.
Keep in mind that CES mainly features pre-market technology, so most of the stuff covered here isn’t available yet. But it’s coming. Here, in no particular order, are a handful of items that grabbed our attention. (PS: Read about amputee-related tech from CES 2023 and CES 2022.)
Mand.ro Mark 7D
We start with this device because it won a coveted “Best of Innovation” badge, the top tier of CES recognition. The Mark 7D is a modular robot finger manufactured by a Korean firm (“Mand.ro” is the English spelling of the Korean verb for “to make”). It can be integrated into an array of devices, from partial-hand prostheses to full-fledged bionic limbs. The company has a few thousand active users already, mostly in South Korea and Jordan. But Mand.ro, which bills its products as “affordable, lightweight, and fully functional,” is actively seeking to enter the US market. More info at mand.ro.
Smart rings seem to be the new thing. Nearly a dozen of these health-monitoring devices were on exhibit at CES this year, up from just two a couple of years ago. We spotlighted Movano’s Evie Ring back in ’22 because of its potential to support noninvasive blood glucose monitoring. The Evie is still inching toward that technology (the delay is largely due to Movano’s desire to get FDA approval), but it’s built into the Xring proof-of-concept that Umeox unveiled last week. The product also boasts an AI component, which helps explain why the judges honored Xring with an Innovation Award. Here’s the company’s press release.
Tomato Crew MS-Pebble
Noninvasive glucose monitoring is the Pebble’s core feature. Instead of pricking your finger, you just place it on the Pebble’s sensor, which uses near-infrared light rays (NIR) to measure your blood sugar, oxygenation levels, blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, yadda yadda. All that data gets logged in the cloud, where it’s instantly available to your primary care physician and/or other care providers. This technology has been under development at Hanseo University in South Korea since before the pandemic. Here’s a brief video introduction to the Pebble.
Wheely-X Home Trainer
Think of the Wheely-X as a Peloton bike for wheelchair users. It’s designed for users at every ability level, so you don’t have to be a workout warrior to get the benefits for cardio health, muscle mass, and mental health. You roll on a stationary track and navigate the ups and downs of virtual terrain. If you can’t afford one of these babies (MSRP $2,595), you might qualify for a grant or installment plan. Or one might be available at a nearby gym, rehab center, hospital, or other fitness facility. Wheely-X adds the Innovation Award to a trophy case that already includes an Edison Award and a Best in Fitness honor from Shape magazine. More info at the company website.
XK-FD Fall Detection Sensor
This is a spinoff of the XK300, an FDA-approved medical device that measures your body’s microvibrations to track vital signs such as heart rate and respiration. It’s specifically designed for deployment in bathrooms, where fall hazards (and injuries) loom large. A second, more general fall-detection device was also showcased at CES 2024, the Cherish Health Serenity. It combines the XK-FD’s radar-based technology with an AI component, noninvasively tracking your movements (and potential missteps) throughout any room in the house. To be clear, XK-FD won an Innovation Award, while Serenity didn’t. We think both products merit attention going forward. More info on XK-FD here, Serenity here.
ATRI Real-time Vascular Wellness Monitor
Developed in partnership with Harvard medical researchers, this Korean device bills itself as a non-invasive early-detection system for blood clots and other inflammatory diseases of the blood vessels. Its core innovation: an ultraviolet blocking filter that permits blood-vessel monitoring in all kinds of light (existing devices require a dark room to yield accurate results). Here’s a brief description; a deeper dive into an early version of the underlying technology is available here (don’t click if you can’t take some graphic photos of hearts and blood vessels).