Las Vegas is hosting CES—the Consumer Electronics Show—and once again it will not only be a window into the future but will also reveal the best in consumer electronics and entertainment right now. CES is traditionally the place where global giants in electronics and consumer products showcase not only their latest gadgets but also give us a tantalising glimpse into the technological road that they are on and how they might impact our lives in the near future.
While some tech giants such as Apple generally do not appear at CES, preferring to hold their own dedicated shows, there will be significant announcements from the likes of Samsung, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, Sony, and LG as well as major names from the world of motoring, with Faraday Future showing a productionised car, designated the FF91, and BMW flashing their new ‘floating' HoloActive Touch virtual car interface.
The Faraday Future FF91 in particular has turned many heads. The company claims that it can accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 2.39 seconds, and boasts a little over 1,000 horsepower. Though the Faraday is not expected to be commercially available until 2018, its current main competitor—the Tesla Model PD100—reaches the same speed a little less briskly at 2.5 seconds. In that sense, the Palo Alto Company are quite literally playing catch-up. Aside from its awesome performance, the FF91 boasts a fat package of high technology, including fully automated driving and fully driverless parking, as well as a retractable 3D LIDAR detector disc that operates many of the autonomous functions alongside 10 HD cameras, 13 long and short range radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors that help control and navigate the car.
Also on the motoring front, the Toyota Concept-i UX has been designed to keep you safe and comfortable, connecting with passengers through its very own Yui digital assistant, who communicates through a combination of sounds, lights and even haptic shocks to stimulate and prompt. The outside looks wacky and the inside is akin to the Starship Enterprise, but it is closer to being a common sight on the roads than you may think.
In-home personal assistants are now commonplace and fairly cheap too, and CES 2017 has seen a major push made by the Google Home speaker and virtual assistant, with the tech giant well aware that the Amazon Echo is building a solid user base that is ripe for sharing. However, this year’s exhibition has seen Amazon up the ante with the roll out of Lynx, which has been dubbed ‘Alexa in a Robot’. Lynx is diminutive and quirky-looking, but it is definitely the way to go. Lynx is designed to mentally grow with the Alexa software and the intention is to introduce something akin to a robot butler into our homes. Font of knowledge, security option and mood sensor, Lynx has it all, and with more to come too. Google needs to get serious with their home automation concepts.
From LG’s wallpaper televisions to virtual reality footwear for immersive gamers, CES is all about the products that have reached beyond blue-sky thinking and it is a refreshing look at what we are likely to be buying next Christmas. Judging by what is on offer at CES 2017, our stockings are about to get a whole lot more exciting.