Personal robots, smart toilets, and TVs that roll up! CES 2018 was incredible. From the forward-thinking Hyundai Nexo to Samsung’s crazy “The Wall,” keep reading to learn about some of the most awesome products revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show!
Since ancient times humans have dreamt up machinery that makes our lives easier, and robots have been a hot topic for decades. Of course, they’re expensive, hard to build, and don’t always quite work as expected. This year at CES and old robot pal is back and a new robot promises to be everything you’ll ever need.
Aibo is back! Sony first unveiled AIBO (Artificial Intelligence Robot, or “Pal”/“Partner” in Japanese) in 1998. It hit shelves in 1999 and was updated annually until it was discontinued in 2005.
If you’ve never heard of AIBO before, it was essentially a (very expensive) robotic dog. Now in 2018, “Aibo” is back and it proves that an old dog is still capable of learning new tricks. Aibo is still expensive—about $1,800 in Japan—and there is still no word on whether the pup will be available in the United States.
Aibo understands spoken commands, features OLED eyes, and built-in Wi-Fi and LTE. It “sees” through a camera that’s stealthily embedded in its nose, it’s powered by a quad-core CPU, and it has over 22 separate articulating pieces.
Touch-sensitive areas allow it to “feel” so you can pet and cuddle it. Just like a real dog it will recognize and become more affectionate towards different people. The more attention and love you give to Aibo, the more loyalty and affection you’ll get back.
As fun as expensive robot dogs are, most people are still waiting for the robot that does it all. The newest robot from Aeolus Robotics is a smart home robot that many are comparing to Rosie from the Jetsons. While not quite as versatile as Rosie, the Aeolus bot is still capable of quite a lot.
The Aeolus robot is designed to be capable of many things. While it’s still a prototype, it’s expected to be available at the end of the year. Once completed it may be capable of making dinner, cleaning your home (mop, rearrange furniture, vacuum, etcetera), and recognizing when an intruder is in your home.
The current prototype features arms that are capable of picking up objects and handing them to people, object and person recognition, and support for Amazon Alexa. It can even patrol your home and detect objects and people that are out of place.
Size is a drawback for the robot as it may not fit through some tight spaces. However, the robot will be capable of moving furniture as needed. It won’t be cheap either, while no definitive price has been given, representatives from the San Francisco company say it will cost as much as an overseas trip for a family. The Verge was assured it will be less than $20,000.
√ Futuristic Vehicles
Vehicles have come a long way since the introduction of the automobile in the late 1800s. We now have automatic climate control, touchscreens with satellite navigation, heated steering wheels, panoramic glass roofs, voice control, and more. Even with all bells and whistles available on the market today, manufacturers are always looking to add more.
Today’s vehicles focus on alternative means of power and autonomous technology. Here are a few of the awesome vehicles being shown off at this year’s CES.
Faraday Future FF91
Faraday Future has been working on autonomous vehicle concepts for a couple of years now and, the company is hinting the first vehicle could finally ship by the end of this year.
The FF91 is a futuristic, luxury SUV capable of accelerating from 0-60 in less than 2.4 seconds, which will make it the quickest SUV in the world. Faraday Future says the car is so fast, that at 1.1 g of force it’s faster than gravity.
It will feature 1050 horsepower, be capable of 300 miles on a single charge, and a striking “stealth” matte black color. The vehicle is also expected to have facial recognition and some form of autonomous driving capabilities.
Where the vehicle will really shine is the comfort of its interior. While the interior design has yet to be finalized, the car is expected to have ventilated rear seats that recline almost-flat and feature a massage system.
Next, the newest SUV from Hyundai, can go 370 miles between fill-ups and takes only five minutes to top off. Better still, it runs on Hyundai’s 4th generation of hydrogen fuel-cell technology—meaning its only emission is water.
Keep in mind the Nexo is no sports vehicle, with a 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds you won’t be doing any drag races. But, the vehicle still has some hand new features including its Remote Smart Parking Assistant and Highway Driving Assistant. The parking assistant will allow drivers to park or summon their vehicle remotely and the driving assistant helps drivers stay in their lane at speeds of up to 90 mph.
The Nexo is expected to launch globally by 2025.
Intel and Volocopter
The idea for Air Taxis isn’t new and neither is the Volocopter. What is new is that Intel and Volocopter are now working together and showing off their respective technologies at CES.
With a flight time of just 30 minutes and a range of only 17 miles, Volocopter isn’t looking to put a flying car in your driveway. Instead the company is hoping to bring its vision for Air Taxis to major urban areas in the distant future. Their collaboration with Intel helps move that timeline up slightly and showcases what Intel’s technology is capable of.
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz
Volocopter isn’t the only one teaming up with well known chip manufacturers. Volkswagen and Nvidia announced a new partnership in which VW will introduce Nvidia’s Drive IX to the I.D. Buzz.
The fully electric I.D. Buzz shows off Volkswagen’s vision for the future. It is intended to have full autonomous driving—although it can also be driven manually—and has a range of 270 miles. It will feature intelligent augmented reality, advanced voice control, self opening and closing doors, and wireless charging.
Nvidia’s Drive IX will enable the vehicle to recognize people inside and outside of the vehicle. This technology will allow open the door for trusted individuals and change setting configurations for passengers. In addition, Nvidia technology will power the cars augmented reality and autonomous capabilities.
Volkswagen has 20 fully electric vehicles planned for 2022.
No CES would be complete without new PCs. This year we’ve seen the world’s thinnest notebook computer, a very small and powerful PC, and even a laptop-like dock for a smart phone. Let’s take a look.
Razer Project Linda
Project Linda isn’t necessarily a computer. It’s more of a laptop-like environment for your Razer smartphone. Essentially it lets you dock your phone in a laptop enclosure. Once the phone is in the slot a USB-C connector inserts into the phone mechanically. Then the phone is controlled in a desktop-like environment.
While Project Linda is kind of gimmicky, it’s still only a prototype and shows the potential for using a smartphone to do more. Overall it’s a cool idea that may or may not make it to market.
Acer Swift 7
No matter how thin devices get, someone always tries to make them even thinner. Maybe it’s because many consumers want technology to seamlessly blend into the world around them.
Or maybe we just really like thin, sleek devices. Whatever it may be, Acer’s newest laptop just out-thinned them all.
At just 8.98 mm (0.35 inches), the Swift 7 is considered the thinnest notebook computer on the market. But being thin doesn’t mean they sacrificed power. It has a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and an Intel HD Graphics 615 GPU.
It’s no gaming machine, but they managed to pack plenty of power, a gorgeous 14-inch display, and 10 hours of battery life into this remarkably thin machine.
That being said there’s one thing about this computer that hasn’t thinned: the price. The newest Swift 7 will cost you $1,700.
I have soft spot for small laptops. My first computer was a tiny Toshiba Libretto 70ct. The Gemini is technically a mobile device running Android, but it’s computer-like in design. It has a 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, two USB-C ports, and built-in Wi-Fi with optional LTE connectivity.
It’s currently being crowd-funded on Indiegogo, starting at just $399. Problem is – it’s not really a laptop computer, more of an Android device (although it can dual boot Linux) with a keyboard. But for the price, it could be a really fun gadget for tech enthusiasts or even Apple users who want to get a taste of Android on a secondary device.
Televisions are always getting better, bigger, thinner, and more expensive. This year is the same story. That being said it’s always fun to see the latest and greatest TVs at CES. This year we get to feast our eyes on 8K, TVs that roll up, and new generation of antenna that may change the cord cutting industry.
A Roll up television
While a television that rolls up may not seem appealing at first thought, just wait until you see LG’s latest TV. While just a prototype, this 65” OLED rollable display is able to store itself out-of-sight when not in use. With the touch of a button, the display unrolls and ascends out of a white plastic box.
Besides the obvious benefit of hiding a TV when it’s not in use, the rollable TV is actually useful in some other real world scenarios. Because the display can grow or shrink as it rolls up, it is possible to watch movies without black bars. The TV also features an app mode where it only peeks above the storage area to display useful information such as the time and weather.
Sony, Samsung, and LG announced 8K TVs at this year’s CES. LG’s offering is an astounding 88-inches and the Sony model touts 10,000 nits in the brightness department. As 8K content isn’t readily available, Samsung demonstrated new AI capabilities that help to deliver 8K resolution for any content. While 8K TVs may seem a bit over the top, displays are always getting sharper and more pixels ensure a sharper image at any distance.
Customers can expect to get their hands on 8K TVs in the latter half of 2018.
Samsung’s The Wall
Samsung wasn’t interested in stopping at 8K televisions with advanced AI. They also introduced “The Wall.” Basically it’s a modular, 146” TV, and yes… that’s huge for a TV. It’s a MicroLED display which means it uses extremely tiny LEDs that emit their own light. MicroLEDs also use less power and tend to retain their brightness for a long time.
Due to its large, bezel-less design, The Wall is perfect for designing awesome spaces. Samsung says “the screen can adapt to serve different purposes, such as creating a wall-size display for multiple spaces.”
Hisense Laser TV
If you’re looking for a display for your home theater, you may want to consider the Hisense Laser TV Pojector. This smart projector and screen combo has built-in Alexa support, smart TV features, and projects a 100” image.
Additionally, it features premium speakers built into the throw projector. Keep in mind this display will set you back a whopping $10K.
A Smart Antenna
More and more people are cutting the cord and getting their live and on demand content through Internet services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. Now, Channel Master, is giving you one more reason to kick cable to the curb with the SMARTenna+. The hardest part of using an antenna is getting reception and keeping it. SMARTenna+ has seven different antenna patterns and can adjust itself with the press of a button. Getting TV without the monthly costs might get a lot easier now.
√ Smart Home Devices
Smart homes are becoming more of a reality thanks to services like Apple HomeKit and Google Home. Smart thermostats, lights, smoke detectors, locks, blinds, security systems, and more now integrate with one another and can be controlled with simple voice commands.
The smart home market won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Here are a couple of things that have been shown off at CES this year.
Nanoleaf is known for its awesome smart light wall decor. The Aurora consists of movable triangular panels that let you create a unique design and provide light for a room.
This year they’ve taken a step further with new square-shaped panels that are thin and touch sensitive. Using these panels you can—like before—create cool wall art; but now, thanks to their square shape, you can cover an entire wall.
The unique panels will help you customize any room and a single controller can control up to 1000 panels. The panels will work with Apple’s Home app and can be customized for different scenes and triggers.
A Space-Age Remote Control
New panels weren’t the only thing Nanoleaf announced. They also showed off a new remote that will be available this Spring for $50. Unlike most remotes, this one looks like a 12-sided die.
You can customize all 12 sides with different scenes and functions, turn the remote to adjust brightness, and more. The Bluetooth remote doesn’t look anything like your typical home remote control and will even be capable of controlling other third-party, HomeKit supported devices.
Kohler Smart Bathroom
Kohler introduces the Numi Smart Toilet a few years back. I’ve seen one in person and can confirm that it’s one cool toilet, even if it is expensive. Now Kohler’s decided toilets aren’t the only thing in the bathroom that could benefit from the smart home touch. They released a slew of new Kohler Konnect products that aim to make your bathroom a whole lot smarter; and they work with Apple HomeKit (and Siri), Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
A Smart Mirror
Lighted mirrors are great and provide a nice atmosphere to any bathroom. Wouldn’t it be even better if you could talk to them? Kohler seems to think so and they’ve created the Verdera to do just that.
The Verdera comes in three sizes (24”, 34”, and 40”) and has Amazon’s Alexa built-in. Using Alexa you can control all of your other Kohler Konnect devices with just your voice. As for the mirror itself, you can control brightness levels, turn the light off or on, and more. The mirror also features a motion activated night light.
A Smart Tub
Filling a tub can be such a first-world catastrophe. You need to monitor the temperature of the water, wait for it to fill, and all that non-sense. But now future generations will never know how we managed. The PerfectFill Kit is intended to make a bathtub smarter. You’ll be able to specify water temperature, depth levels, and even drain the tub with just your voice. With HomeKit or the Kohler Konnect app you can soon get a bath started without having to actually go into the bathroom.
A Smart Shower
Okay. Maybe you’re not into baths. No worries. Kohler has you covered with their DTV+ Shower system. Essentially it’s a smart shower that lets you specify water temperature, spray patterns, enable/disable steam, and more. It also features adjustable sound, light, and music preferences. Now when you’re contemplating life’s problems from the shower you can invite Siri or Alexa to join in.
A Smart Toilet
Numi just got smarter now that it’s part of Kohler Konnect. If you haven’t heard of it before, this smart toilet lets you adjust ambient lighting, has built in foot and seat warmers, and even streams music via Bluetooth.
The seat even lowers and raises automatically and flushing is touchless. But they aren’t cheap. Previous models of the Numi cost $7,500.
A Smart Sink Faucet
Outside the bathroom, the Sensate brings a voice controlled sink faucet to your kitchen. You can tell it to turn on or off, or specify how much water to fill. So you could put a water bottle under it and say “fill 16 oz.”
The Sensate comes in three finishes: Polished Chrome, Vibrant Stainless, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze. It also features touchless, motion-based gestures.
√ And More
With so many cool things at CES, it’s hard to list all the coolest things. But here are a few more that are sure to pique your interest:
Fingerprint Reader Embedded in a Display
While many of us were hoping to see Apple embed Touch ID under the display of future iPhones, it didn’t happen with iPhone X. Instead they replaced it with Face ID.
But now, Chinese company Vivo has managed to put a fingerprint scanner under the OLED display of one of their phones.
They call it Clear ID and reviews are mixed with some saying it’s incredibly fast and others claiming it doesn’t compare to current standards.
A Smart Toothbrush for Kids
Getting kids to brush their teeth and actually do a good job can be a mixed bag. Now Kolibree is offering parents a new solution: Magik Toothbrush. The Magik uses augmented reality to make brushing fun using an app. The toothbrush itself is capable of recording movement, pressure, and position to provide kids with a brushing “score” when they are done.
Xenoma just announced its e-skin pajamas, and they look like they could have a lot of possibilities. Packed with sensors they are able to measure your vitals and other information as you sleep. In theory the applications are endless from medical to sleep tracking. Right now Xenoma has their sights set on clinical trials.
√ Final Thoughts
Aibo is back, the robot-butler is just around the corner, cars are getting smarter and more environmentally friendly, television still exists (we’re really waiting for holograms), and there are more options than ever before for making your home a smart home. CES is like Christmas for technology enthusiasts. We get to see new products and services, as well as glimpse of what is coming in the future. Some of the ideas can be whacky, while others are more practical. But one thing is for certain, CES always gives us something to look forward to.