The Wonderful World of Future Tech: CES 2018
Technology leaders and innovators congregate every year in Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
They gather to display and oogle the latest technology and gadgets slated to his the shelves in the year to come.
If you’ve ever wondered how your home can be smarter, car more efficient, TV bigger, or what new gadgets are set to release, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
Here’s what got us intrigued, interested, or just gave us a chuckle at this year’s CES:
The Next-Generation Of Televisions
CES is known for TVs.
Every conference heralds something bigger, clearer, or some new defining feature.
This year was no exception.
- Samsung Q9S 8K TV
Still haven’t upgraded from HD to 4K? Maybe you should just wait for 8K.
Samsung unveiled its 85” 8K ultra high resolution monster known as the Q9S.
While there’s no content being made (yet) at 8K resolution, the TV uses a proprietary upscaling technology to make lower resolution content look like it’s 8K.
So it can convert 4K content into eye-watering 8K.
- Samsung’s “The Wall” 146” 4K TV
Does your TV feel too small for your spacious living room?
Samsung has got you covered. Check out their 146”-inch (measured diagonally) 4K behemoth, better known as “The Wall.”
The TV features a modular MicroLED display which means “brighter white hues, darker black shades and the truest natural colors” according to Samsung.
The screen also has no bezels, making it hard to tell where one screen ends and another begins. This allows you to place several smaller screens edge to edge to form the masterpiece of 146” screen shown on display.
- LG’s 65” Rollable 4K OLED TV
Bigger and better wasn’t the only motto this CES.
LG revealed a concept TV that’s sure to please the minimalists.
A 65” inch OLED 4K rollable TV that rolls up like a piece of paper into a rectangular-like storage compartment when you’re done watching.
Though there is no official word if this TV will see the light of day, portable TVs look like they are just around the corner.
But CES isn’t all about TVs.
This year’s other common themes were electric cars, augmented reality, and tiny gadgets that can improve your health.
Travel In Luxury Electric Cars
The automotive industry is at a crossroads.
Companies are shifting their R&D budgets to explore self-driving technology and alternative fuel sources (electric cars).
- Fisker’s EMotion luxury electric car
Electric cars till date have been dominated by the sedan form factor. But car manufacturers know they can’t overlook the luxury market.
Fisker Inc. has been working to launch a luxury electric car for years.
Back in 2012, they launched a ‘plug-in’ luxury car called “the karma.”
Unfortunately, due to technical snags and the success of the Tesla Model S, Fisker never became a household name.
But they’re back with a promise of a new luxury electric car.
The “Emotion” is set for release in 2020 and will have a range of 400-miles per full charge.
The company is hoping to use a flexible solid state battery that takes up less space and has a charge time of just a few minutes.
With the Tesla Roadster also set to release in 2020 (with a similarly sporty look and a whopping 620-mile range), expect fierce competition.
- Self-driving Lyft
Rideshare giant Lyft arrived at CES with a limited number of semi-autonomous BMWs to show off their future self-driving vehicles.
It’s partnered with Aptiv, a British self-driving technology company, to roll out driverless vehicles in select markets.
They aren’t yet totally driver-free (vehicles required a driver to take control when on private property), but it gave a hint of what it’d be like to hail a driver-free ride in the years to come.
Experience Augmented Reality
Forget virtual reality. Augmented reality is the latest rage.
Plenty of VR headsets were announced this CES but that’s nothing revolutionary.
Most of the tech commentators were more excited about the host of new gadgets employing Augmented Reality (AR).
AR has become mainstream thanks to Apple’s latest iPhone. The AR kit has allowed developers to explore the possibilities of AR and implement it in new and innovative ways.
This technology is showing up in gadgets like:
- Glasses that control a drone
- Glasses that allow emergency professionals to provide telemedicine (HoloLens)
- Services that let you “try” a product before purchase (example – to see a couch in your living room before you buy it)
Here are the AR-related announcements that caught our eye:
- Vuzix Blade AR sunglasses
Vuzik’s blade sunglasses revive the spirit of Google Glass.
Wearers of these shades will see a display screen in the right corner of their vision
Thanks to their partnership with Amazon, the device comes fitted with Alexa integration.
$1,000 upon release later this year, but Vuzik is hoping to knock it down to $500 over time as demand supports more mass production.
- Toy Alert: Merge 6DoF Blaster
You know the gaming world wouldn’t be slow to invest in AR technology.
The Merge 6DoF Blaster is the first AR-enabled toy gun.
It acts as an accessory to your smartphone. Just dock your phone in the provided space on top of the nerf-style gun and you’re ready to play.
When combined with your phone, the toy-gun converts into a life-like weapon.
It uses your phone’s gyroscope to recognize movements and doesn’t require you to wear a headset. All of which improves player experience.
Your phone acts as a window into the virtual world.
Shoot down aliens and monsters in a 3D environment or duck behind walls to get in the game!
The Merge Blaster is set to release in summer with a price tag of $50.
Gadgets to Improve Your Health & Safety
Consumer technology has long been used to augment the medical industry, allowing users to gain access to data and more effective employ preventative health initiatives without having to visit their doctor..
Wearables like fitness bands and gadgets that measure vitals from blood pressure to glucose have already made some inroads, but there’s more to come.
Here are the next generation of health-related devices likely to find their way to your home.
- L’Oreal UV Sense
L’Oreal’s UV sense is a tiny dot, so small that it fits on your fingernail.
But they aren’t just for decoration.
These dots are actually sensors that measure the amount of UV you’ve been exposed to.
These battery-free devices can also tell you about the temperature, humidity, and both pollen and air quality levels.
They use NFC to pair the sensor with a L’Oreal app on your phone.
You can store up to 3 months of data making it easy to review trends over time.
When connected, the app even sends you reminders when to put on more sunscreen or stay out of the sun altogether.
It’s perfect for parents who worry about their kids getting sunburnt.
The UV sense will have a limited release in summer of 2018 in the US with a global launch expected in 2019.
The price of these gadgets is expected to be around $40.
- LinkSquare Handheld Spectrometer
Have you ever wondered if the meat you left out on the counter to defrost for a bit too long is still safe to eat?
Then you know why it would be handy to have a spectrometer lying around.
It can tell you all of the following:
- Whether meat is rotten
- What alcohol is in your shot glass
- If your prescription pills are what they’re supposed to be
Until now, spectrometers were bulky and limited to laboratories.
LinkSquare’s handheld spectrometer is the size of a marker, making it portable and SUPER handy.
The spectrometer pairs with an app on your phone to show you relevant data.
You can grab it right now for $299.
The Weird & Wacky Stuff
CES is not all super-formal or serious products.
In addition to the useful tech, there’s always a variety of weird and wacky stuff on display.
These are the gadgets and appliances that you probably won’t ever see in your home but are still fun to check out (at least for a laugh).
Here’s a collection of this year’s weird and wackiest:
- The “self-balancing suitcase”
90Fun had hoped to make travel hassle-free.
Their ‘smart suitcase’ comes fitted with Segway self-balancing technology coupled with a remote control so that you can move around hands-free.
Except that it doesn’t work yet.
The self-balancing suitcase still falls over, runs in opposite directions, and can’t avoid obstacles.
In fairness, it is a prototype and kinks are still being worked out.
But seriously, even if it worked perfectly can you imagine how treacherous the airport would be with luggage running itself everywhere??
- The laundry-folding robot
Apparently, folding laundry is such a hassle that TWO companies are working on robotic solutions.
The first is Laundroid’s laundry-folding robot.
Their solution costs $16,000 and is bigger than your refrigerator.
The machine uses AI to sort and fold your clothes.
You’ll have to be patient, though.
A round of laundry can take several hours to fold (it takes 5-10 minutes per shirt).
To top that off, the demo model only works with standard shapes and bright colored clothing.
Or you can go with Foldimate.
Their solution is much more “affordable” at $1,000 but the machine is still huge.
With Foldimate, you’ll have to clip each item in one at a time.
If that’s not bad enough, the machine still can’t fold your shirts right: it struggles with long sleeves (they jam the machine).
You can get your hands on the foldimate in 2019.
The price might even be knocked down to $980.
Oh and don’t expect either machine to fold sheets or socks.
- The robot dog
Are your kids begging for a dog, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle or mess of being a dog owner?
Sony’s got just the thing for you – the Albo robot dog.
Albo responds to human touch, has a nose cam, and facial recognition software.
The price for a robot dog substitute?
$1,700 and another $26/month if you want to subscribe to updates (to get updates, new tricks and skills as they roll out).
I’m pretty sure I saw pet dogs at Sharper Image for $150 in 1994. But I hear Albo is all the rage in Japan.
- Cushion-tailed therapy robot
Don’t want to drop $1,700 for a robot dog?
Consider Qoobo’s cat-like cushion-tailed therapy robot instead.
It’s basically a pillow in the shape of a cat butt with a responsive wagging tail.
Developers made tail movements mimic real animal tails. And since there are no heads or claws, you don’t have to worry about scratches or bites.
Not to mention being shunned by a cat’s mood.
Dare I say: it might just be the perfect pet cat.
“Sure, it’s little more than a fur pillow with an animation tail, but just think of all the money you’ll save on cat food, kitty litter, and a cat therapist.”
You can pre-order it now for $89.
- The intelligent toilet
Ever thought, “going to the bathroom is so lonely, and flushing is so taxing. I wish I could tell someone else to do it?”
Boy, do we have a toilet for you!
Kohler’s Numi intelligent toilet will help you pee in style.
The toilet connects to the Internet and responds to voice commands from Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
Say the words and the toilet will do all of the following:
- Flush on its own
- Lift the seat
- Play music
- Activate your “favorite bidet spray configuration”
It’ll set you back around $5,625 but what’s that to the toilet enthusiast.
Look to the Future, Will Robinson!
Like every, CES 2018 was packed with awe and surprises.
There were plenty of gadgets on show from augmented reality glasses, luxury electric cars, and laundry folding robots.
And it’s true that not every item may have a practical application or be released anytime soon.
But mixed in with the noise were plenty of helpful gadgets that just might make it into your home in the years to come.