Technology is set to get even weirder if we are to believe the hype around the world’s biggest consumer tech event – CES – which was held in Las Vegas this week.
Showcasing the newest electronics innovations since 1967, the annual show can only be described as HUGE. This year’s event saw 4,500 companies exhibit, including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more. It’s not open to the general public, but exclusively for people in the industry and relevant media. Even so, more than 180K people attended from 150 countries, all enjoying the 250 conference sessions on offer.
From the latest wearables to the newest must-have tech for the smart home, every piece of imaginable (and often unimaginable) tech was displayed over 2.75 million square feet of exhibit space. With 24 product categories, the offerings were endless, so we thought we’d recap some of this year’s biggest… and strangest… highlights.
Voice-activated tech in everything
From Smart TVs to cars, pianos and even a toilet, there appears to be no limit to the possibility of tech that can now talk to you. What was obvious at this year’s CES is that the majority of products on the market that either link to or include a virtual aide use either Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. In fact, these big players’ market dominance is so extreme that Amazon is estimated to have 41% of the global smart speaker market while Google comes in second at 28%.
So what voice-activated products were on show? Many fell under the smart home category, such as garden umbrellas which open and close on voice command, and coffee machines which are operated via virtual aid. Another product saw everyday spectacles fitted with a voice-activated device, which bounces off the user’s eyeball to create a hologram-like visual to display a transparent text message.
Touted as the ambulance of the future, Hyundai showcased ‘walking cars’ which could make it easier to reach victims in a natural disaster. The car can use articulated legs to navigate off-road following earthquakes, floods, fires or snowstorms.
TV screens that roll away
Last year LG showcased its 65-inch rollable TV screen prototype at CES. This year, the company brought it to market with the 4K OLED TV which will be available to buy in the coming months. In essence, a TV is there when you want it and can disappear when you don’t. People’s love affair with TV has changed over the years, with many of us not owning one at all and some opting for ‘better looking’ devices such as Samsung’s The Frame, which can turn into a piece of art on your wall when not in use. Rollable TVs are literally that – a screen that can automatically roll inside the console it sits on top of.
The smart mirror
Aimed at the hotel industry, smart mirrors are connected devices which are built into a bathroom or bedroom mirror screen and can do anything from carrying out a daily eye test to demonstrating how to use beauty products. The touchscreen can sense touch to avoid smudges, and uses Google Assistant technology to help you check weather and traffic before you head out for the day, or can simply play your favourite soundtrack.