For those of you who don’t know, CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show. It is one of the biggest electronics and technology trade shows in the world and is hosted in Las Vegas every January. It now attracts in excess of 170,000 people a year and well over 3,500 companies exhibit the latest their company has to offer. I have picked out just a few of the products from this year’s CES that I felt were worth talking about for one reason or another.
Samsung smart fridge
This is probably one of the coolest (sorry) things I have seen from this year’s event and it is packed with so many features you never knew you really needed from your fridge. The Samsung smart fridge (also known as The Family Hub Fridge) has a 21.5” touchscreen on the front of it, allowing you to do anything from ordering your groceries or looking up recipes to watching your favourite TV shows or jamming to your best cooking playlists. You can even link the fridge to other TVs in your house so when you are watching your favourite show you won’t miss a minute if you want to walk into another room. Personally, however, my favourite feature has to be the cameras inside the fridge that take a photo every time you open the fridge (no one is stealing my leftover cold pizza anymore and getting away with it). Not only can these cameras be used to catch unsuspecting fridge raiders red-handed but they can also be used remotely to check what is in the fridge (useful for forgetful people like me who always leave their shopping lists on the kitchen table). When it is eventually released it will likely have a fairly hefty price tag, so you will have to decide whether it is worth paying the dough for combining the features of your tablet/smartphone with your fridge. For someone like me who is simultaneously always on his phone and eating I certainly won’t freeze when it comes to forking over the cash for my next-gen fridge.
Olfactory alarm clock
An alarm clock that wakes you up with an intense smell? The concept was thought up by a company called Sensorwake, winning a Google France Science Fair competition, and it is certainly a very interesting idea. There is a variety of aromas that you can choose to wake up to that includes (but isn’t limited to) croissants, chocolate, espressos, bacon and peppermint. This certainly would make a nice change to the conventional buzzer or bleeping sound I wake up to, however I’m not sure it will be as effective (at least for me). Though it would be nice to wake up to the smell of bacon in the morning I will probably be overcome with disappointment that I have got up to find that I have no bacon and have to settle for some soggy cereal before heading off to work that morning. If this would help you get up, though, I can’t imagine waking up to the smell of hot croissants is all that bad in the morning.
Segway Advanced Personal Robot
The Segway Advanced Personal Robot (we’ll go with robot butler for short) is a collaboration between three companies, Segway, Intel, and Xiaomi. The robot butler can talk, answer the door, carry things and play movies amongst many other things. The arms of the robot can also be interchanged, enabling it to carry out a wider range of functions. If you’re feeling particularly lazy (and lets face it, you probably are if you are using the robot butler), you can retract it’s head and use it as a personal transport device. Not quite an all-singing all-dancing human butler that will cook all your meals and do all your chores, but it sure would be helpful to have around the house.
Ehang 184 (Quad-copter Passenger Drone)
Now you didn’t think we could get through a blog on the biggest tech show in the world without mentioning something about drones did you? The Ehang 184 is designed by Chinese company Ehang and is basically a scaled up quad-copter drone with a small cockpit for one passenger in the middle. The drone is controlled via a tablet-based app and is completely autonomous, meaning the only commands the passenger has to give is “take-off” and “land” once a destination has been chosen. The drone is still in testing and only has a short battery life at the moment; so don’t expect to be making any cross-country trips in your own drone. Supposedly when it does come to market it will cost anywhere between £140,000 to £200,000. So although it might be more comfortable and enjoyable than sitting on a packed bus with a bunch of sweaty strangers for your morning commute, you’ll certainly pay the price for it and I can’t imagine most conventional parking spaces are well suited for your fancy new method of transit.
L’Oreal UV sensor patch
With around 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers being caused by UV radiation, ensuring we protect our skin is becoming more important than ever. With that in mind, this is probably one of the best ideas to come out of the show in my opinion. L’Oreal has designed a stretchable skin patch that monitors the amount of UV radiation your skin is being exposed to. As the patch is stretchable (unlike anything else on the market) it can be attached directly to the skin on any body part you want to monitor. The patch factors in the baseline tone of the skin and then changes colour depending on the amount of UV exposure. On the associated app (on Android or iOS phones), the user then takes a picture of the patch, which then advises you whether or not you’ve had too much exposure. I personally think this is a fantastic idea, with the only downside I can initially think of being that you will have a tan mark where you had the patch. But hey, that’s a small price to pay for the safety of your skin, besides the patch is heart shaped too so it won’t look that strange.
So there we are, just a few of the really interesting new products to come out of CES 2016. Although most of the products on show are largely for personal indulgence, there are inventions like the L’Oreal UV sensor patch that have been designed to deal with slightly more important or concerning problems in our lives. Even though there may be only one of these products for every umpteen new drones and TVs, it is well worth it if that invention can tackle an important issue (like the occurrence rates of certain diseases). This does not mean that the hundreds of other projects at CES aren’t useful, as most are designed to make our lives easier or more enjoyable in some way shape or form. Besides, how else are we going to reach the levels of laziness achieved by humankind in Wall-E?
What was your favourite product to come out of CES 2016? Tweet me@JordanAtNotch!