High-Tech Products Go Over Big in Grand Rapids

Here I am in the WZZM Studios

The Grand Rapids Remodeling and New Homes Show is always one of the highlights of the year. Not just because it’s one of the best-run and most-entertaining of the one dozen shows I do each year. It’s also the show where I debut the new slate of Life-Changing Products for the year.

Home robots highlighted this year’s collection, lead by Jibo, whom Time magazine dubbed innovation of the year for 2017. Jibo entertained Grand Rapidians with several notable tricks; he can convert to a snow globe and shake his booty with the best. He also knows who I am, thanks to his visual and vocal recognition capabilities.

Echo Look, though less personable than Jibo, entertained show-goers by snapping their picture and critiquing their outfit. Actually, Look needs to take two pictures of a subject in different outfits to produce a review, based on an algorithm developed with tips from fashion designers. Look wants to see me in a suit coat when possible, a look that it says is more flattering.

The Google Jaquard made an appearance in Grand Rapids, too — on television as well as in the booth. Google fiber woven into the cuff enables the Jacquard to change songs or give directions from your phone. It would be a great addition to a bicycle commuter’s wardrobe. It would also come in handy if you were visiting a foreign city on vacation.

This year’s exhibit features a virtual reality set-up. Visitors can don Oculus Rift glasses and go inside a virtual home. In one home they can change countertop, cabinet, and flooring styles to their liking. In another, they can convert a patio off the great room into an enclosed sitting room.

Several of the products were featured in a nice studio report by WZZM 13 before the show opened. That was followed by a televised report by WOOD, the local NBC affiliate.

About Boyce Thompson

Boyce Thompson, the author of The New New Home, is a writer and editor who has spent more than 30 years covering the housing market. Thompson began his career as a writer for publications such as The Washington Post, Governing, Practical Homeowner, Venture, and Changing Times, the precursor to the Kiplinger Letter.