The annual Consumer Electronics Show, also known as CES, took place in Las Vegas last week, where the electronics giants revealed their latest inventions for the coming year. CES visitors were introduced to a plethora of brand new tech start-ups, and saw gadgets covering health-focussed wearables, drones, 3D printers, AR/VR headsets and more.
After another action-packed event, we explore some of the more extravagant and innovative inventions showcased at the show.
The novelty of self-driving cars now seems to be a thing of the past. Autonomous passenger drones are where it is at in 2016! The EHang 184 is one of these, with a helicopter design that can supposedly travel up to 10 miles, as well as folding up to fit in a parking space.
During the testing period, the Chinese company, Ehang, only revealed short clips of the drone flying, and sometimes even carrying a passenger. At CES, Ehang announced that the 184 had undergone over 100 test flights at low altitudes and has proven that the drone is capable of flying for 23 minutes after just 2 hours of charging time.
The most interesting, and yet terrifying part about the pilotless plane is that it’s autonomous – meaning passengers choose their destination through a tablet, and can only decide to either ‘take off’ or ‘land’. Would you take the risk?
18-inch paper-thin OLED display
The winners of Best TV Product, LG, showcased their 18-inch paper-thin OLED display, which is flexible enough to be rolled up like a newspaper. It has a 1200 x 810 dpi resolution, and is being earmarked to deliver a paper-like display in the future for e-readers.
The prototype display, which is the result of a 10-year development, is now closer than ever to becoming an actual product. The LG team claim that they’re already looking into the future as they aim for screens that are 55in and beyond, alongside producing a screen quality of 4K.
LG shared that the toughest part of the development was figuring out how to deposit its organic light emitting diodes on a plastic substrate, rather than glass. However, the design manufacturer revealed that they actually found this out a few years ago, and has already implemented it in some of their phones – the LG G Flex 2, for example.
One of the stars at CES 2016 was Intel’s Ninebot Segway, a part-robot, part-Segway. When the self-balancing Ninebot Segway isn’t being ridden, it transforms into a personal assistant with a voice, livestreaming camera, object-detection and facial recognition abilities.
Intel proudly showed off their invention at CES, where the rolling robot was able to navigate an on-stage living room, communicate with humans and follow its inventor off-stage, thanks to Intel’s RealSense tech.
The technology is still in the early stages of development, and will only be available to developers later this year. Ninebot has yet to confirm how much the robot is likely to cost, however the chief executive of Intel stated “it would be at a cost-effective price point”.
It wouldn’t be a CES without a couple of smart fridges, and LG didn’t fail to deliver this year. The ‘Signature’ Fridge has a panel that reveals what’s in your fridge, and the door automatically opens when you step near it.
LG’s new fridge has two headline features – the main one being the Auto Door feature. The fridge is able to detect when a foot is nearby and will gently open the door. Thankfully, the fridge is able to distinguish between a person’s foot steps as they walk to the fridge to open it and someone just wandering. The second feature is the door itself with its Knock-On feature, which enables the owner to knock on the door to reveal what’s inside.
On the environmental side, the Signature also includes power-saving technologies, such as a display inside the door that allows owners to control the temperature and monitor energy use.
As well as LG, Samsung showcased their latest smart fridge at CES, where photos dominated the web of what appeared to be a giant touchscreen.
Wearable technology has now reached a new level – ranging from outerwear to underwear with the new OMbra. Canadian start-up group OMsignal launched a new biometric “smart” bra at CES this year, and created a huge ‘buzz’ amongst the female audience.
The stretchable fabric adjusts to the shape of the wearer’s body, providing comfort and support during exercise. Whilst in movement, the bra can track breathing rate, heart rate and the number of calories burned during exercise. This information is then shared with the OMsignal mobile app, where a virtual coach can give a digital pep talk during exercise.
The downside? The new OMbra could be in the running for the most expensive sports bra in the market today, costing over £100.
With such an array of new technology on display at CES, it remains to be seen how many of the products will make it to the marketplace in 2016 and beyond.