With gigantic, modular and rollable TVs, robotic friends, an invasion of AI, smart assistants and flying cars, you will be forgiven for thinking this is an episode of ‘The Jetsons’…Um! actually, hold on to that thought… it isn’t though. This is just another year in CES; the world’s largest annual consumer electronics show, which took place from Jan 9th to 12th in Las Vegas.
As has become customary, I follow the announcements and then share my favourites with you; they subsequently go on my gift-list, so don’t hesitate to pop any in the mail. 😍
It’s been super-busy (as expected) this year, so let’s get straight into it.
Overall, TVs got interesting; more than just brighter colors and and more pixels, uniqueness and practicality were on display. These caught my eye:
Samsung’s The Wall
The wall is essentially composed of several smaller panels, which can be arranged in different sizes and shapes:
- It uses MicroLED tech; which, basically, is like OLED but better.
- It is also modular, hence can be scaled up to and above 146-inch.
- Wow! No wonder it stole the show among TVs unveiled.
LG’s Roll-up TV
With over 50+ inch TVs being the norm, in attempts to free up room, LG Display showcased a rollable TV that simply folds away:
- It is 65-inch.
- Uses OLED technology.
- Can be folded up when not in use.
- Also, the screen can partially roll back into its box to change aspect ratios and put to different uses – Cool!
LG’s OLED Canyon TV
In a shoe of sheer extravagance, LG went on to showcase the OLED Canyon; a 92-foot-long “OLED Canyon” made up of more than 240 displays…
… I’m definitely not expecting to receive this as it won’t fit in the post, Darn!
2. Robotic Friends
Robotic friends and pets were all the craze this year with quite a few of them being announced. The following caught my eye:
Aibo – Sony’s robotic dog
Sony launched the latest edition of ‘Aibo‘; it’s robotic dog, updated in both appearance and abilities for 2018. Features include:
- A sim card to connect to the internet and access Sony’s AI cloud.
- According to Sony, it is meant to provide companionship for children – I guess it’s good bye to playdates.
Regarding availability, pre-orders have began and it will hit the shelves from January 11, 2019; exclusively in Japan. It turns out, a (minimum of 3 year) subscription will also be required to access cloud features – Oh well!.
My Special Aflac Duck
Aflac, The insurance company, it turns out, has a long history of supporting families facing childhood cancer, so it is no surprise they have poured resources into this project:
- ‘My Special Aflac Duck’ is a social robot duck designed to help children facing cancer.
- It is part toy, part robot and part medical device.
- It gives children control during a time when they seemingly have none; they become the duck’s caretaker, can feed and bathe it as well as have it mirror their health care routines and even receive chemotherapy.
Very heart-warming, and i’m glad it won the ‘2018 CES Tech For A Better World Award’ 👍
As reported in the headlines, LG’s CLOi (home) robot caught a case of stage fright 🙈…. True, the demo didn’t work out as planned, but, we expect that to be resolved shortly. So, what is CLOi Home’ about?
- Standing less than a foot tall, it is supposed to act like the hub of your smart home
- You can ask it to tweak the settings of your washing machines or pull up the recipe from your smart refrigerator etc.
In addition to the ‘Home’ robot, LG also unveiled ‘Serving’, ‘Porter’ and ‘Shopping’ robots as part of the CLOi concept range. With no release dates announced, LG clearly seems to be solidifying their presence in the robot world.
Remember when I mentioned ‘Jetson’ earlier? are you still holding your breathe?… Let go now 🙌.
Aeolus is a home robot that can clean for you, pick up after you and watch over your home when you can’t – it is basically, Jetson’s ‘Rosie the robot‘ in real life.
Currently only a prototype, it can:
- Grab objects and hand them to you.
- Hold a vacuum and clean your floor.
- Learn different objects and where they go.
…I personally can’t wait to see what it can do when it’s finished.
Following from last year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) continued to dominate CES 2018. Basically, it seemed like the smart assistants want to be everywhere; in your glasses, earbuds shower and even toilets. – 💩 Eeew!
- With Amazon’s smart assistant, Alexa, integrated into numerous (over 4,000) smart-home devices, it is still leading the way; with Google’s voice assistant playing catch-up. Overall, smart assistants showed up in things as diverse as showers, mirrors, light switches, microwave ovens and cars.
- Smart speakers, including Amazon’s Echo devices, Google’s Home and Smart Display, were also very visible; acting as a ‘central hub’ to smart everything, basically.
- As part of its Smart Home initiative, LG announced it’s adding its ThinQ AI platform to all its smart appliances and showcased its ‘Smart Kitchen’ with highlight being the new LG InstaView ThinQ refrigerator.
4. AR & VR
As expected, both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality continued to be big this year.
Google’s Daydream VR Headset
Lenovo unveiled ‘Mirage Solo’, the first standalone virtual reality headset for Google Daydream platform:
- In addition to an overall improvement in the experience, it is the first wireless headset that doesn’t depend on a Daydream-compatible smartphone to use, giving it the potential to reach a much wider audience than the Daydream View headsets.
HTC’s Vivo pro
HTC unveiled the ‘HTC Vive Pro’:
- The new VR headset upgrades the Vive’s audio and resolution (up to 2880 x 1600, a 78 percent increase compared with the original Vive) in a major way. It also comes with a redesigned head-strap.
- No price has been given, but it will be available during the first quarter of 2018.
RealFiction’s DeepFrame AR
RealFiction proved that Augmented Reality doesn’t need to be confined to your phone screen or a pair of glasses — it can be life-sized.
Their ‘DeepFrame’, the massive curved displays, creates life-sized projections that appear as if they are overlaid onto the world around you:
- Each display consists of a single piece of clear 64-inch glass that’s made with specially designed optics that are able to reflect an image that’s projected from a normal display, like a television or monitor.
- With the cost of a single frame starting at around USD $50,000, it isn’t intended for the average consumer. Focus is on selling to larger businesses such as retail stores, shopping malls, hotels etc.
It was almost refreshing to see phone announcements which weren’t from either Apple or Samsung.
Vivo’s in-screen fingerprint scanner
It’s seemingly Goodbye to the home button as Vivo showed off an in-screen fingerprint reader. It’s super cool, futuristic and I expect to see this technology in smartphones in the near future.
Razer’s Project Linda
With Project Linda, Razer merged a Phone with the comfort of a large screen and physical keyboard. It created a phone, with a 120GHz screen refresh rate, that powers a laptop – Simple as.
Cars, cars, cars… there were lots of them; super cool, self-driving, electric, smart-assistant-enabled and even flying ones.
Lyft’s Aptive self-driving car
Aptiv (formerly Delphi) showed off a self-driving car:
- Ditching the top sensor/camera package entirely, this used minimalist sensors along the front, back and sides of the BMW 5 Series sedan.
- Lyft used the cars at CES to show off its vision for incorporating self-driving into ride-sharing; letting some regular users in the Las Vegas area take them on rides to some 20 specific destinations.
Byton’s Electric SUV
A new entry into the auto world, Byton’s Electric SUV is a Chinese funded and manufactured brand, which is looking to raise the EV bar:
- It is a full-on EV
- it’s a rival to Tesla.
- The most attention-grabbing aspect of its design is the 44-inch screen that runs right across the dashboard.
- touchscreen steering wheel
- Amazon Alexa built in
- Level 3 autonomy.
- It will be available in late 2019 for $45,000.
Uber + Bell helicopter’s Passenger drone
To address congestion in cities, partly due to ride-sharing services (Uber and Lyft included), transportation tech has been looking to the skies. Bell Helicopter debuted a VR simulator of its concept of an air taxi:
- The four-person aircraft would take off and land vertically and is meant to fly people between two points on fixed routes
- Although can be flown by a pilot, it is designed with autonomy in mind.
Toyota’s e-Palette concept
Toyota announced a super cool concept; its e-palette. Basically:
- It is a delivery-truck-sized, re-configurable autonomous pod.
- It can be a pop-up shop, delivery truck or ride-share as needed.
- Apparently, Amazon, Uber, Didi and Pizza Hut are all on board for this concept.
- The 2020 Tokyo Olympics seems to be the estimated release date.
Fisker’s EMotion Electric car
Henrik Fisker, a former designer of Aston Martins, BMWs and Tesla, showed off the Fisker Emotion. An Electric car, which is being billed as a “Tesla-killer”. It boasts the following specs:
- A 140-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which should let the EMotion cover 400 miles on a full charge.
- Is supposedly fully rechargeable in only 15 minutes.
- Features four stunning “butterfly” doors.
It is, however, not cheap and will start from $129,900 (£95,000). 💰
So, once again, CES 2018 lived up to its reputation as the best place to get a sense of what’s hot in tech and what we should be looking out for.
These are what caught my eye. Did you follow proceedings? Drop a line in the comments below with what caught yours.
Also, do share, and follow PixlD Inc on social media (Facebook / Twitter / Google+) for more updates in Tech, Web, Social Media and Design.