The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas kicks off the New Year with a showing of the latest devices, concepts, and trends coming out of the tech world. Not everything put on display will be a hit (smart combs anyone?), but it often provides a look at where consumer technology is headed. This year saw an increase in AI assistants (including Alexa being added to everything from cars to fridges), the rise of OLED TVs, and several concepts of what the car of the future may look like.
Cars: Friendly Travel Companion
Chrysler unveiled a concept mini-van designed by Millennials for Millennials, and Faraday Future wowed attendees with its fast self-driving electric car. Meanwhile, Toyota’s car of the future prototype was built around its user interface. The company’s Concept-i promises a warm, friendly, engaging, and fun experience thanks to an AI assistant called “Yui,” which will build a relationship with the driver beyond driving patterns and schedules. For instance, Yui can detect if you are feeling sad through biometric sensors and take over driving to ensure safe travel.
TV: Your New Wallpaper
OLED TVs made a big impression at CES including stand-outs from Sony and Samsung, but LG’s Signature W-series ($8,000 and up) took home several “Best Of” awards from sites such as Engadget and PC Magazine for its “wallpaper” thin design (the 65-inch model is only 2.57 mm thin). LG’s Signature W-series TVs can also be mounted directly onto the wall without any gap. And it doesn’t skimp on the picture or sound quality with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
AI Assistants: Will Home Robots Catch-on?
Voice-activated speakers with AI assistants are growing in popularity, but companies are already exploring what could be next. Both LG and Mayfield Robotics debuted home assistant robots. Mayfield’s Kuri ($699) has emotive eyes with actual cameras—it can recognize faces and monitor your home in your absence. The robot can send alerts if it hears anything or can be programmed to perform tasks, such as checking the couch to make sure your dog doesn’t ruin it. Kuri can also be sent to read your kids a bedtime story at night and serve as a friendly alarm in the morning.
Wearables: A Convenient Breast Pump
The Willow ($430) is the only wearable breast pump that fits right in your bra and doesn’t require any external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles—everything is together in one package. It simply tucks inside your bra and works quietly, so you can go about your day doing whatever you need to do at home, work, or on the go. It also syncs to a milk-tracking app so you always know how much you have.
Media Streaming: What’s Old is New Again
Cord cutters may finally be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Not only does Dish’s AirTV ($100 and up) offer various streaming options (Netflix, Google Play, YouTube, Sling TV), it can also pick up over-the-air TV through those old rabbit ear antennas you may or may not remember. This provides access to local live TV without any monthly fees. Of course, signals will vary based on location and you need an antenna—though Dish can install one for an additional fee—but it may just solve all of your media needs.