Midwest businesses receive innovation honors at CES

Yesterday I told you about General Motors’ big electric vehicle reveals at CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Today I’m bringing you some other technological advances and honors from Midwest companies participating in CES, which this year is virtual for the first time because of the pandemic.

  • Moline, Illinois-based John Deere created a buzz with its virtual reality demonstration that simulates being inside an 8RX tractor, detailed in a CNET article. Deere is using the CES exposure to highlight how its technology increases precision and predictability in addition to increasing sustainability by causing less soil disruption during planting. Deere also won a CES Best of Innovation Award in robotics for its X-Series combine harvester, which helps farmers become more efficient and sustainable.
  • Deerfield, Illinois-based Caterpillar made its CES debut by unveiling its latest autonomous mining truck and new cloud-based, underground tracking systems. Cat says the technologies improve efficiency and increase productivity.

Several other Midwest-based businesses received CES Best of Innovation Awards for their technologies:

  • Solar product developer GoSun in Cincinnati won a sustainability award for its solar-powered, portable water purifier and sanitation system that can fit into a backpack.
  • North Olmsted, Ohio-based Moen won a home appliances award for its touchless smart faucet that also helps users understand their daily water consumption.
  • The Chamberlain Group in Oak Brook, Illinois, won a smart home award for its internet-connected, automated dog door technology that can be controlled remotely or allow dogs to go outside whenever they desire.
  • Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Starkey won an accessibility award for its next-gen, artificial intelligence-enabled, rechargeable hearing aids.

A number of Midwestern businesses received recognition in a CNET article listing tech from CES that will make the world better in 2021.

  • Holland, Michigan-based GHSP introduced an ultraviolet light that kills pathogens, potentially the coronavirus, in cars.
  • Gentex Corporation in Zeeland, Michigan, highlighted its full-display, touch-responsive intelligent rearview mirror that contains a video screen so a driver can see passengers and what’s behind the vehicle while facing forward.
  • Omron in Lake Forest, Illinois, introduced its first patient monitoring service to improve telehealth and other remote patient-to-physician communication. The system is a digital blood pressure cuff and data hub.

Today’s headlines:

⚙️ MANUFACTURING: Metamorphic manufacturing, also called robotic blacksmithing, could help manufacturers use less energy, create less waste, and have a quicker product-to-market time, reports manufacturing nonprofit SME, based in Southfield, Michigan. An Ohio State University professor is one of the experts providing insight on metamorphic manufacturing in the article.

♻️ RECYCLING: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected teams from Iowa State UniversityMichigan Technological University, and Columbus, Ohio-based tech nonprofit Battelle to support the ReSource Program, which aims to develop systems that create large quantities of supplies from single-use items that otherwise would be considered military waste. The resources developed could be food, tactical fiber, adhesives, or petroleum/oils/lubricants.

🎉 PRODUCT LAUNCH: UOP, a Honeywell company headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, introduced a technology to produce renewable diesel fuel. The single-stage refining process reportedly produces fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and has the potential to scale to a two-stage process in the future that would convert edible oils and animal fats to renewable diesel.

📈 BUSINESS SPINOFF: Black & Veatch, headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, has sold Atonix Digital, which will transition into an independent software company. Atonix’s software helps clients with power and water management.

📜 POLICY: The Des Moines, Iowa, City Council passed a resolution setting a goal of reaching around-the-clock clean energy by 2035, reports Inside Climate News. Achieving the goal would require significant technological investments, although no estimate has been provided yet for the type, scope, and cost. Des Moines is believed to be the first city in the U.S. — and possibly the world — to release a plan that relies on 24/7 clean energy.

🤝 PARTNERSHIP: Apple is partnering with Michigan State University to open the company’s first U.S.-based Developer Academy in Detroit. All Michigan residents can apply for the year-long program that covers coding, design, and entrepreneurship. MSU currently is exploring the best location in Detroit for the academy and aims to solidify one by the summer.


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