The CES consumer tech show in Las Vegas features thousands of companies from Google and Samsung to unknown startups, all showcasing their ‘next big thing’ in tech. We take a look at the most notable gadgets to come out of this year’s expo, from the innovative to the odd.
This year’s show was notable for Apple’s first appearance in 28 years, with Jane Horvath, senior director of global privacy speaking on a panel discussing consumer privacy alongside counterparts from Facebook and Procter & Gamble.
It also featured the US President’s daughter (and advisor) Ivanka Trump who discussed in a keynote slot on digital skills and data. Her appearance attracted critics who thought other women had more expertise in the field. On stage, the US president’s daughter suggested Americans’ CV data should be stored and updated on their phones as a matter of course, to make it easier for them to apply for jobs.
Samsung’s BB8 lookalike Ballie
Samsung showed off a yellow tennis ball-like robot named Ballie that acts as your personal assistant, following you around the house and helping with chores. In the future, for example, Samsung says its built-in camera can detect spills and tell your smart vacuum to go clean them up. Or, if an elderly person falls, Ballie can roll over so they can ask it to call 911. Lovot, a companion robot, was also a hit at CES. It’s cute, gives hugs and, with the camera on top of its head, doubles as a home monitoring system.
L’Oréal device delivers personalised skincare tips
Global beauty brand L’Oréal unveiled Perso, an artificial intelligence (AI)-fuelled skincare device. Described as “an AI-powered at-home system that represents the ultimate in beauty personalisation”, Perso features a four-step process to deliver on-the-spot skincare and cosmetic formulas that reportedly optimise for increasing levels of personalisation over time. Perso can also create custom formulas for lipstick and foundation, but these capabilities will be unveiled and made available for consumers at a later date. Guive Balooch, head of L’Oréal’s technology incubator, noted: “We know that customisation relies on information about your unique skin and personal preferences as well as your environment; this technology accounts for that. “Perso uses AI to optimise the formulas and actually gets smarter as you use it,” he added. L’Oréal said Perso will be launched in partnership with one of its leading skincare brands in 2021.
Delivery droids and zero emissions
Valeo unveiled its autonomous, electric delivery droid, developed in partnership with ecommerce platform Meituan Dianping, which operates popular food delivery service Meituan Waimai. The two groups signed a strategic cooperation agreement at last year’s CES to develop a last-mile autonomous delivery solution. The droid can deliver up to 17 meals per trip, autonomously negotiating dense and complex urban environments at about 12 km/h without generating any pollutant emissions. With a range of around 100km, this prototype gives us a glimpse of what home delivery could look like in the near future, especially in the ever‑growing number of zero-emissions zones that are being created around the world. A connected delivery locker allows for safe delivery to the end customer, who can book through a smartphone application.
A new “species” of virtual assistants with Neon
Samsung-backed Neon showed off “artificial humans” promising incredibly life-like CGI creations will interact with users in more powerful ways than existing home assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant. The complementary companions can learn your likes and dislikes, such as if you prefer plain or pepperoni pizza, and ultimately become your friends. These Neon avatars will be interactive on smartphones or on larger screens, such as in stores. They’re expected to launch later this year, possibly with a subscription model.
Uber and Hyundai unveiled a flying taxi that may eventually transform your ridesharing trips. Thefirst prototype will be ready in 2023, according to a Hyundai spokesperson. In addition, the Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike, one part bike, one part plane, is designed to mimic cycling, but on water. The product has been in development for eight years.
Google and Facebook beef up privacy
Google added two new voice commands for people to better control their privacy when using its voice assistant. For example, users can tell Google Assistant to forget what it just heard if it was activated accidentally by using the new command: “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you.”Facebook also announced a new version of its “Privacy Checkup” tool it hopes will help guide users through important privacy settings. The company said the updated tool will help users control who can see what they share, how their information is used and how they can boost their account security.
Samsung’s vertical TV
Samsung unveiled a new TV model called Sero, which features a display that can rotate either horizontally or vertically. Samsung is betting on a unique concept specifically designed with smartphone users in mind.
Charmin’s RollBot and V.I. Pee
Charmin. The company’s robot, controlled by an app, attempts to solve an age-old problem by bringing you a new roll of toilet paper when you run out. You connect to the bot with a Bluetooth connection, then summon the TP butler with your phone. , Charmin also wants to keep you entertained while you’re on the porcelain throne. With V.I. Pee you can have a full A.I. experience while you go using an Oculus Rift S VR Helmet.
Robokitties are all the rage
A startup called Elephant Robotics developed a robotic pet cat called MarsCat. The bionic feline can walk, stretch, play with toys, avoid obstacles and bite its nails. It can also recognize human faces and knows 20 commands and phrases, including “sit” and “come here.” It may be the only time a cat will listen to you. Robiotic cats were all the rage this year, with Yukai Engineering unveiled a headless robot kitten intended for people who want to own a pet but can’t because of allergies or restrictions where they live. Yukai Engineering unveiled a headless robot kitten intended for people who want to own a pet, but can’t because of allergies or restrictions where they live. Yukai Engineering unveiled a headless robot kitten intended for people who want to own a pet, but can’t because of allergies or restrictions where they live. The Petit Qoobo by Yukai Engineering is a headless cat robot that is soft, squeezable and it even purrs. It was created to be a comforting hugging companion for those that can’t have pets, such as those in nursing homes or care facilities.
Pampers tells parents when nappies need changing
Lumi by Pampers Connected Care System is a baby monitoring system that includes a sensor that attaches to an infant’s diaper and works in conjunction with a smart camera to track sleeping habits. It also alerts parents when the diaper has been soiled.