The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow, kicked off this week in Las Vegas. This annual event has become the go-to source to see the latest and coolest electronic innovations - and petrochemical-based products are part of these up-and-coming tech trends.

The event is a great way to learn more about what the electronics future has in store. CES offers a range of exciting areas of focus including virtual reality, smart homes, vehicle intelligence, 3-D printing and accessibility technology for people with disabilities. In looking over some highlights of this year’s show, I couldn’t help but notice how many of these inventions were made possible thanks to petrochemicals. Here are a few which caught my eye:

  • 3D Systems’ Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP®) uses medical scan data to derive 3D models that can be 3D printed as anatomical structures for visualization, or adapted to create patient-specific instruments and guides. This technology was recently used to assist with a recent full-face transplant for a burn victim. 3D printing materials can include petrochemical-based plastics such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS).
  • Adlens eyeglasses are intended to solve the problems faced by people who need different prescriptions for distance and near vision. The adjustable focus eyewear helps you see better at any distance with the turn of a dial, and the company is working on a prototype to add embedded electronics that will automatically adjust the strength of the lens, with no need for the wearer to touch a dial.
  • Innohome’s Stove Guard uses a heat sensor which adjusts its sensitivity based on the users’ cooking style, allowing for exact hazard recognition. The Stove Guard is a way to support independent living when the use of a stove is risky due to old age, illness, or learning difficulties, among others.
  • ŌURA is a plastic ring-sized wellness computer and app. The ring tracks you during the day and also observes your sleep quality at night by measuring and learning how well you recover from the mental and physical load. It then communicates its observations and suggestions through a mobile app.
  • Sengled Voice is an integrated microphone/speaker LED bulb. It offers voice control of devices, voice interaction with the cloud and enhances home security by detecting everything from glass breaking to a baby crying.

After checking out everything CES has to offer, you may need a cocktail, want to take a break and go fishing or perhaps want to enjoy some virtual reality fun. If so, you should check out what some of the CES Innovation Award finalists have to offer. A crowd favorite is sure to be the robotic bartender which integrates wi-fi connectivity, onboard sensors, electronic ingredient tagging and automated cleaning - making bartending as easy as pressing a button so you can now share and create cocktails with anyone around the globe.

Or what about the Deeper Smart Fishfinder sonar, which is a wireless handset accessory that works in conjunction with your smartphone? The Fishfinder sonar is designed to locate fish, get information about depth, water temperature, bottom contour and much more. And let’s not forget about the iWear Wireless video headphones: Providing users with a streaming wireless personal home theater and mobile wearable gaming solution, that extends the small mobile screen into a huge 125-inch screen which is connected to the web or smartphone for access to content on the go. Very cutting edge!

CES is a great gauge of where the industry is headed, and petrochemicals are crucial to the industry's progress.