As the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially kicked off on 6th January in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States; over 3,600 exhibitors displayed their latest products and services from the house to the car through the clothing accessories, objects now well known, but made smarter and more useful by technology.
According to the International Business Times, there were more than 500 start-up companies exhibiting their latest products and over 150,000 attendees at the CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
Hyperconnectivity – Future mobility
By car, by bike, or even through the air: the 2016 CES show offers a vision of urban mobility which is increasingly connected and automated.
Next to recreational small drones, the Chinese manufacturer EHang revealed a quadricopter 1.50 meters, the EHang 184 that fits in a parking space and can carry a person.
“This is not a drone, it is an autonomous air vehicle,” says Claire Chen, vice president of business development. She explains that it is sufficient to program the destination and press a button, and that the device manages flight and landing itself.
“We are ready to sell it to everyone”, whether for individual use or as floats for a service on demand, Claire said. The device is still in the testing phase in China.
More realistically, US group Ford shows entering a bike in the trunk of a car to allow combined trips, and connecting the bike to a GPS smartphone and indicating directions by vibrating either the left or the right handlebar according to where you turn.
The transport of the future at CES also visited the smarter dimension. The Japanese OEM Denso thus presents its new car to car communication system, or between the vehicle and infrastructure. It could reduce urban congestion by adjusting – in real time – the settings of traffic lights to the density of traffic, suggests Patrick Powell, who oversees the group’s projects related to the “smart city”; the smart and connected city.
Between increasing urbanization and changing habits of the population, the relationship to the car could be completely changed, and automakers want to anticipate it.
“We are very proud to build cars, but from this year, you’ll see the change very dramatically, becoming an automotive company and mobility with more attention to the transport services sector,” said Ford boss, Mark Fields, at the 2016 CES show.
The General Motors announced an investment of $500 million in car reservation service with Lyft, the driver rival of Uber. This is accompanied by a strategic alliance to develop a fleet of driverless vehicles for on-demand use.
CES: Virtual or Augmented Reality Feature
The virtual or augmented reality was featured at the CES electronics lounge with applications ranging from sports and sex to road safety and the conquest of space.
Virtual reality headsets totally immerse users in a virtual world, while the augmented reality devices affix digital information on the stage that the person sees.
The high-tech CES in Las Vegas has many such devices and applications, starting with one of the pioneers, Oculus. The US company, which was bought by Facebook in early 2014, has started taking pre-orders for its highly anticipated Rift headset, priced at $599 – slightly above expectations.
This virtual reality device, which is in the form of big thick glasses, will be available to the public from March 2016.
HTC has also benefited from the Las Vegas high-tech living room to announce enhancements to its virtual reality device Vive as it is about to release.
Fans of video games were the first target of virtual reality device manufacturers, but these technologies open new horizons in many areas.
Start-up STRIVR, a killer application in sports, helps American football quarterbacks by putting them in different situations with the Oculus Rift. “There is no better way to get in the situation,” said the former quarterback Trent Dilfer. “I think the coaches who do not use this technology miss the right car.”
In the field of sports, virtual reality can also be used by the fans, to give them the illusion that they are in the first row seatsof stadiums, or to put them in the position of an ice hockey goalkeeper that stops pucks launched at him/her by pros.
The porn industry is not standing still either; the Naughty America company uses virtual reality to bring fans of the genre at the heart of sex scenes: “Everyone was waiting for it in the adult film industry and now it’s here. Seeing believes it,” said vice-president of Naughty America, Lauren S.
NASA also uses a virtual reality helmet to allow visitors to fly virtually around a huge rocket it plans to launch in 2018. And the International Space Station (ISS) is equipped with augmented reality devices Microsoft HoloLens. “I think it will accelerate the speed at which we can make our scientific experiments,” said Hugh Cate of the American Space Agency.
San Francisco-based Skully company offers bike helmets on the visor, which are projected with information, such as directions to follow (like a GPS) or images captured in real time by a camera on the back of the helmetso that the user can view potential hazards behind him/her.
CES: Athlete’s body analyzed in detail
Exceeding the traditional activity monitors only count the calories burned, new technologies are pushing the analysis to the heart or muscles to optimize the performance of professional athletes and amateurs.
The German Startup Innovation presents HS, a system connected to sensors on ski boots that communicate with glasses to help skiers in correcting their position in order to have a better run.
Muscle Quality: San Francisco-based scale connected Qardio is one of several products that do not just measure the weight, but analyze body composition in terms of muscle, fat, and bone, using electric pulses sent by the feet.
It does not stop there, Qardio also has a coaching application “which uses algorithms to help you achieve your fitness goals,” says the marketing director, Alison Luby.
The startup Skulpt goes further by analyzing individual muscles. The device that connects to a smartphone, analyzes muscle and notes “quality muscle” and the fat composition, with a system called myography electrical impedance.
CES: Forefront of virtual reality
The future of virtual reality, which turns a lot of heads this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show, might go through Canada. At least, a group of Canadian companies is currently in Las Vegas to convince electronics manufacturers and broadcasters to leverage their technologies.
Don’t look for this group of four companies. Having no product to sell directly to the consumers, they work behind the scenes to convince other companies to opt for the Montreal expertise.
These four companies work together to develop a system that can simplify the process of capturing videos to virtual reality. ImmerVision designs lenses to capture images over 360 degrees, a technology that the company said is more efficient than conventional wide-angle lenses. Lonodes manufactures hardware connected to the lens for capturing and transmitting images. Vantrix is responsible for encoding and transmitting images to mobile devices thanks to cloud computing. Finally, the company has designed SpherePlay, a reader for viewing pictures on the camera.
CES: War of the Screens
Mecca electronic gadgets had a homecoming, while televisions have returned to the center of attention at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show. Manufacturers of electronics were presented with how they intend to reinvent the way we consume television.
AN ULTRA-THIN SCREEN AND ANOTHER GREAT ULTRA
LG unveiled no less than eight new TV models, on the eve of 2016 CES. The company continues to rely mainly on OLED technology, insisting on its better performance compared to the LCD lighting that is currently the norm in the industry. LG ensures that this new method allows generating better rendering of the darkest colors. Its biggest OLED display, measuring 77 inches, is deep but barely a tenth of an inch or 2.6 mm. Despite its transition to OLED, the company will continue to produce LCDs.
ORDER YOUR HOUSE SINCE ITS TELEVISION
Samsung has increased the announcements by unveiling five new TV models, including the largest measured at 88 inches. The manufacturer put on a new format, Quantum dots, which it presents as the future of television. These screens significantly reduce reflection. The company ensures that consumers will make their TV the centerpiece of their home, and Samsung will offer a free USB key with its newer models which would allow the TV to control 200 connected devices, such as lighting and thermostat. Samsung also offers a new interface that promises to integrate all sources into a single menu. No need to change the joystick to move the cable to the TV or turn on the online game console.
THE ARRIVAL OF PLAYERS BLU-RAY 4K
Despite a shaky start, “ultra-high definition” television, or 4K, seems here to stay. Moreover, Panasonic and Samsung have both said that they would launch ultra-high definition Blu-ray players. This innovation will help the ultra-high definition television, which is currently struggling due to lack of content, to take off. The Panasonic device will be available in the United States market in 2016, while Samsung said it aims for March. Warner and 20th Century have agreed to launch more than 100 films in ultra-high definition to support the arrival of these new players. In addition, Panasonic will also introduce at CES the first device of 65 inches offering UH Ultra-Premium performance, the highest standard of high-performance imaging.
3D WITHOUT THE GLASSES
Big manufacturers are not alone in betting on the television market. While 3D has been completely removed from the speech of the great industry, a small business thinksit found a solution to help this technology to (finally) take off: eliminate cumbersome glasses. “Wearing goggles or a helmet to see the images in 3D is not viable in the long term,” says Rajah Mathu, CEO of Stream TV Networks. The company claimed to have succeeded in producing a TV that automatically turns any film into three-dimensional images, without having to resort to the famous glasses. Confident in entering the market, Stream TV has even begun production and distribution of its craft in China, and plans to expand its product line to computer screens. For now, the result is limited. To see the three-dimensional effect, it must be located at a precise distance, and the image often becomes blurred or untidy.
WINDOW ON THE FRIDGE
Refrigerators are perhaps less sexy than televisions, but they too were entitled to their 15 minutes of fame. LG introduced an intriguing innovation: a new model with a door that can become transparent if necessary, which allows seeing inside without opening the door. Samsung has taken this concept a step further by equipping its newest refrigerator with a kind of tablet to serve as a central family rallying point. The highlight of this progress, however, is the addition of cameras that take a picture of the inside of the unit every time someone closes the door. So, you can remotely check the status of its provisions. Forgot to make a grocery list? No problem, just download the latest image of the contents of the refrigerator.
THE RETURN OF HIFI
The TVs were not the only devices to attract attention at 2016 CES. Noting the popularity of vinyl records, Panasonic has decided to reintroduce in the range of its products a turntable, announcing the sudden resurrection of HiFi; a technology dating back to 1972! Panasonic ensures that its new turntable can correct problems that have long burdened these devices. The Technics SL-1200 devices will be available from this summer and some models at the end of 2016. Among other innovations, Panasonic introduced a new camera that allows the general public to hone the photo after taking it. Photographers will be able to re-focus, which was impossible until now.
CES: the drone, the car of tomorrow
The UAV industry is booming, a Chinese company has even introduced a device that hopes to hit the markets in 2016 and which aims to replace the private car.
DRONE A VEHICLE AS STAFF
The idea seems crazy, but the drones’ manufacturer has produced a prototype that can carry a person and said that they are performing various tests in China with the aim of putting in sales by the end of the year. The vehicle, which can carry up to 100 kilos, can fly up to 500 meters and has an endurance of 23 minutes. It will not be possible to drive it, simply tell it where you want to go with a tablet. The company said to have completely eliminated the human factor of the steering, the main cause of accidents.
VISE PARROT FLYING BIRD
Flying is fine, but flying like a bird is even better. That, at least, is the bet that the French company Parrot made with the latest in its family of UAVs. The company took advantage of CES to present Disco, a fixed-wing aircraft whose flight is more like that of a bird. Parrot says it wants to offer a different experience from the propeller aircraft which flies more jerkily. The company has been working to simplify the takeoff of this device, which has no landing gear: simply launch it into the air and its engine is automatically activated. It also gives 45 minutes of autonomy, far more than the twenty minutes of most models currently on the market. Parrot has not revealed the price, but promises a device for “general public, in affordable cost.”
KEEPING INTEREST BY GAME
Some manufacturers do not hide that consumers may end up getting tired of drones quickly. The question is how to maintain the interest of people; especially children who get tired of their gadgets rather quickly. To answer this question, several companies have decided to integrate games. The Skyrocket Toys company intends to launch a system that will organize races through infrared beacons. The company will also provide the ability to simulate aerial combat between up to four drones. If a device will be “shot”, it will land on the ground to show that it has been decommissioned. Meanwhile, the company has developed WowWee, a drone integrating competitive mode that is similar to Guitar Hero games in which players must press a series of buttons on their phone to make it fly.
PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT OF CAMERAS
The year 2016 marks the influx of ultra-high definition 4K cameras on most drones. Until now reserved for high-end models, the cameras now equip most of the more affordable models. Thus, DJI offers a $799 model equipped with a camera 4K Phantom 3. Most manufacturers have decided to improve the quality of lenses with improved performance to increase the quality of videos produced from the air.
UAV manufacturers have some good offers of better cameras, but often an obstacle continues to come in their way: the legs of the drones. The majority of drones continue to build cameras on the propellers, but the EEA company worked to correct this irritant by equipping its newest model, the A20, with retractable legs that otherwise block the field of view of the onboard camera. The drone should be available in mid-2016. EEA has also presented a business model and it will target mostly oil companies or the law enforcement.
The Flir company, which specializes in the production of thermal camera lenses, introduced a new model to equip drones. The company is also associated with the DJI manufacturer to equip one of its latest devices. This progress is mainly for businesses and governments who wish to carry out inspections of inaccessible structures. The police can also use them to conduct relief operations, while firefighters can use it to monitor the development of a fire and where to focus their efforts.
Beyond redesigning drones, some manufacturers are focusing on improving their flight software to deliver better performance. This is the case for 3DR, which has already been selling its Solo device in Canada for six months. The company announced improvements to its navigation system to allow it to follow a preset route, while keeping the camera directed at a target.
The 2016 International CES had attracted a record number of more than 150,000 participants this year, and was open to the public from January 6 to 9.