Technophile

Mind-boggling tech at CES 2019

Mala Bhargava | Updated on January 10, 2019 Published on January 08, 2019

The CES logo at the Las Vegas Convention Center   -  REUTERS

The LG Electronics Signature OLED TV R

The CES 2019, on in full swing at Las Vegas, Nevada, is seeing over 4,500 exhibitors showing off the latest and greatest in tech. Artificial Intelligence has its own area but can't really be separated from everything else because every industry and almost every product involves AI in some way now.

The same can be said of 5G which is getting closer to reality even as we speak but which can’t and won’t just roll in at one go anywhere — and definitely not in India which is still grappling with earlier G/s. Driverless cars are big to the point where some say CES has become an auto show. Robotics has seen some huge advances all through 2018, so that too makes for a big trend at the event. An absolute megatrend is the pervasiveness of Alexa and Google Assistant. Alexa is getting into places you wouldn’t expect her to be, such as a special lamp meant for yoga and meditation with routines built in. The assistants will be soon found in everything from pianos to lawn mowers, helmets to heart rate monitors. And there will be more assistants and more smart speakers, some of them specialised and with new capabilities.

And then there are TVs and laptops and larger-than-life gaming equipment for those who take entertainment very seriously. And some phones, certainly, though the top brands prefer their own events or the Mobile World Congress coming later in February for their launches. Also typically, wearables are big at CES with the focus on fitness and exercise having expanded to include overall healthcare more seriously.

Though there are four days to go before the show concludes on January 12 and a whole lot of products yet to be seen, let’s look at some of the gadgets and tech people are talking about...

Rollable TV

The most astounding product on the show floor comes from Korean electronics giant, LG in the form of a rollable TV. The Signature OLED TV R is hidden inside a brushed aluminium bar. At the press of a button, a gap will slide open and the TV screen will smoothly rise out till it’s ready to use. It’s a 4K OLED set with support for Alexa and the Google Assistant and for Apple’s AirPlay. When you’re done with it, it rolls quietly back in and lets the gap swallow it up, leaving you with a fully functional 100 watts Dolby Atmos soundbar. Another option is to let a strip of the display continue to show and become functional for things like weather information or photos etc. What’s more, the OLED TV R isn’t going to remain in the confines of the company’s labs. It’s actually going to be sold later this year — for whoever can afford whatever price it will come at. We have no idea whether it will ever come to India, but wherever it goes LG’s TV is truly amazing looking tech.

 

 

No ordinary wood this

Another piece of technology that has caught visitors’ fancy at Las Vegas is a block of wood. No ordinary wood, of course. This  smart internet connected wood is called Mui and it’s a smart home hub. It’s touch activated and controlled with LED lights hidden inside to display the information you want without an actual screen as we know it. There aren’t a lot of things it does, but it can control your lights, temperature and music, and give weather information and a few other basics. It does respond to voice commands and swipes but it doesn’t have a wake word and instead needs a tap to wake up. The designers have tried to celebrate minimalism with this device, if you can call it that. The Mui can be wall mounted but one can imagine it being a part of furniture some day. And why not!

Heatworks Duo kettle

The days of watching a kettle which takes ages to boil may be over. A kettle called the Heatworks Duo heats the water as you’re pouring it. Incredibly, it uses rechargeable batteries which makes it portable. Tea and coffee lovers would certainly find a device like this a compelling idea. One can select a temperature at which to allow it to heat. On top of that, it looks rather good — much like a carafe.

Nissan's I2V tech

Auto giant Nissan brings a bit of virtual reality magic to CES 2019. The technology is called I2V or Invisible to Visible and involves collecting 360-degree information from around the car using sensors from inside and outside. The data could include everything from roads and buildings to intersections and signage. Even traffic and bad road surfaces are included. Nissan takes all this visual information and superimposes it on the car’s windshield. And this is the virtual world the driver sees. On top of that, sensors and cameras inside the vehicle see the driver and anticipate needs, bringing up the relevant contextual information on the windshield. I2V will also show interactive human-like characters to keep drivers from falling asleep. The information shown can even include seeing what is around the corner or behind a building. A virtual assistant will give guidance on everything. Nissan says that in the future you can even put others’ avatars into the car with you. Essentially, what is happening is that the real world is being merged with a metaverse or a world that can’t be seen for real, and the combination is making the driving experience completely different and according to the company, much safer.

The information shown can even include seeing what is around the corner or behind a building.

 

Published on January 08, 2019
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